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Installation Instructions

Installation Instructions

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We've organized our Installation Instructions into three different pages. Click the link to view the appropriate page. If you have further questions please contact us.


Before You Begin

When our bamboo flooring is ordered, approximately 7% to 10% should be added to the actual square footage needed as allowance for cutting and waste. All of our flooring products should be allowed to acclimate for at least 72 hours to allow flooring to adjust to room temperature and humidity. If you live in an area with high humidity (Florida for example) it is preferable to acclimate all wood flooring for least 5 days. Do not acclimate the flooring over concrete or carpet without first laying down a plastic membrane or other acceptable moisture barrier.

Important note about using tape to hold boards together or to secure moldings: Use only 3M/Scotchguard #2080 for Delicate Surfaces. Do not leave any tape on any finish surface for more than 12 hours or it will damage the finish.

Important notes about installing moldings (including stair treads). Never install bamboo or wood moldings with adhesive unless the glue is 100% urethane or does not contain any water. Installing stair pieces or other moldings with an adhesive containing water will damage the moldings. Installing strand bamboo trim pieces can be more difficult than trim pieces made of other materials. The strand woven material in particular is extremely dense and you will need to either a) pre-drill these moldings and then nail them, b) glue them in, or c) use a nail gun that can fire a 1" long micro thin nail (we suggest the Bostich Porter Cable 23 GA gun with a 1" long micro thin nail - this can be purchased directly from Bostich or rented). Stair treads and transition moldings are installed best by gluing them down as opposed to nailing them. You can use the same Adhesive used to glue down your flooring or you can use liquid nails. Once the molding piece is installed weight the moldings to ensure a solid bond. For transitions, blue painter's tape will help to hold the molding in place while the adhesive dries, and you may also want to place a weighted object on top of the molding to hold it down.

All of our flooring products must be acclimated for a minimum of 72 hours prior to installation, following the guidelines below:

1) Must be acclimated in the same room and environment in which they are going to be installed, with the climate control system on
2) Make sure the long ends and end flaps of the boxes are cut open, including the interior plastic
3) Do not acclimate over concrete or carpet with concrete under it
4) Stack the boxes up to 5 high

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Tools needed

  • Rubber mallet
  • Tapping block
  • 40-tooth or greater CARBIDE saw blade (Diablo is recommended)
  • Spacers (wood or plastic)
  • Chalk line
  • Tape measure
  • Carpenter's square
  • Felt or resin paper

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Jobsite Requirements

Prior to installation of any flooring, the installer must ensure that the jobsite and subfloor meet the requirements of these instructions. Ambient is not responsible for floor failure resulting from unsatisfactory jobsite and/or subfloor conditions.

Ambient flooring should be one of the last items installed on any new construction or remodel project. All work involving water or moisture should be completed before floor installation.

Room temperature and humidity of installation area should be consistent with normal, year-round living conditions for at least a week before installation. Room temperature of 60 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity range of 40% to 60% is recommended. Bamboo flooring is a living material which is hygroscopic and therefore reacts to changes of relative humidity. Consequently, its dimension changes. When humidity is highest in the summer this humidity is absorbed by the bamboo, which causes it to expand and in extreme cases it will “cup" because of the bamboo strips pushing against one another. These variations can be minimized with proper ventilation, heating or by the use of a dehumidifier. Alternately, in the winter when the humidity is low and the heating system is on, the bamboo releases its humidity and consequently shrinks or contracts. It is then recommended that you use a humidifier in order to minimize the shrinkage.

Store your flooring at the installation site for 72 hours before installation to allow flooring to adjust to room temperature and humidity. Do not store the flooring directly on concrete or near outside walls. Our engineered flooring is acceptable for below-grade installation and basements when used with a underlayment pad that has a moisture barrier. We warrant our solid strand floors in basements, as long as they are glued using an adhesive with moisture barrier.

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Acceptable Subfloor Types

  • For Nail-down: Plywood ¾", Existing Wood Floor ¾" or thicker
  • For Glue-down: Plywood, OSB, Existing Wood Floor ¾" or thicker, Concrete Slab (cured at least 3 months)
  • For Floating: Any subfloor that is level and meets moisture recommendations

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    Subfloor Requirements

    • Must be structurally sound
    • Must be clean - thoroughly swept and free of all debris
    • Must be level - flat to 3/16" per 10-foot radius
    • Must be dry - subfloor must remain dry year-round. The moisture content of a wood subfloor must not exceed 12%, concrete moisture content must not exceed three pounds.
    Wood subfloors must be dry and well secured. For nail-down installations, nail or screw every 6" along joists to avoid squeaking. If the subfloor is not level, sand down high spots and fill low spots with an underlayment patch or self-leveler such as Bostik Duralevel 83P Self-Leveling Underlayment.

    Concrete must be fully cured, at least for 3 months. If it is not level, grind down high spots and fill low spots with leveling compound. The concrete must be flat to 3/16" per 10-foot radius. Do not install on concrete unless you are sure it stays dry year-round. All concrete must be tested for moisture, or a moisture barrier product must be used. We offer Bostik Ultra-Set® SingleStep™ moisture barrier, adhesive and sound barrier all in one.

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    How To Test a Concrete Subfloor For Moisture

    As concrete hardens, it traps moisture that is slowly released over time. The following tests are standard construction industry practice for determining the moisture level of your floor:

    1. Tape a plastic sheet to the concrete and wait 72 hours. Test the moisture level in the air under the sheet with a dew point hygrometer.

    2. Weigh a package of dry calcium hydroxide before placing it under a plastic sheet taped to the floor. Wait 72 hours, remove the calcium hydroxide and weigh again. The weight difference will indicate how much moisture was absorbed.

    3. Drill a small hole in the concrete and test it dew point hygrometer. Wait 72 hours and test again and the difference in reading will indicate the amount of moisture in the floor.

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    Please refer to the recommended installation matrix at the bottom of this document. Depending on the product, the floor may be nailed or glued down over wood subfloors, glued directly to concrete subfloors on or above grade, or installed as floating flooring. (If installed below grade, a moisture membrane must be used. We recommend using a 3-in-1 membrane.) For all types of installation, joints must be staggered 10" to 20". Bridging the flooring across the floor joists is recommended. Note: Ambient does not recommend installing on particleboard (OSB is the only exception), unless the application is a floating floor.

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    Subfloor Preparation

    Surfaces must be clean, dry, smooth and free of dirt, wax, oil, paint, curing agents and other contaminants that would interfere with adhesive bond. Old resilient floors can be installed over provided above conditions apply. Wood subfloors must be sanded level prior to new installation. In a glue-down installation, the use of a self-leveling product is acceptable as long as it is compatible with the underlying adhesive.

    Concrete subfloors must have all cracks and holes filled with a cement-like patching material. While bamboo flooring is more stable than most woods, it is still subject to damage when in direct contact with a constantly wet slab. The bamboo must be isolated from this type of slab by use of a concrete sealant, reverse vinyl or sleeper subfloor. Concrete subfloors must be tested for moisture and not exceed three pounds per 1,000 square feet using the calcium chloride test.

    If the moisture content of the subfloor exceeds three pounds, you must use a moisture barrier product. We offer Bostik Ultra-Set® SingleStep™ which is a combination of moisture barrier, adhesive and sound barrier. For more information on these products please contact Bostik directly at 888.592.8558.

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    Work out of multiple boxes

    (4-6 boxes recommended)
    Bamboo is a natural product and has natural color variations. Mixing cartons creates a natural, random shade effect. Never lay out a floor without paying attention to the overall look. You control the color and pattern of planks that are put down, therefore you control the true color and variation of wood in your floor.

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