This guide, along with its associated pages, is a comprehensive informational and educational resource for bamboo flooring. We have compiled all the information you need to confidently research this sustainable product. Our guide covers everything from the types of bamboo flooring to the latest manufacturing techniques and environmental benefits. If you have already decided to purchase bamboo flooring and want to see bamboo flooring prices and cost we recommend you shop for bamboo flooring products here.
Why did we compile this guide? Bamboo floors are a relatively recent addition to the market, having first emerged in the mid-1990s, and there's a significant amount of misleading information online, some of it due to that fact that the original versions were less robust than the newer style of bamboo floors. Way back in 2005, Ambient® became one of the first companies in the world to pioneer the incredible product known as strand woven bamboo flooring. Over the years we've served tens of thousands of homeowners, builders, and architects across the globe, shipping our quality floors to all 50 U.S. states and such far away lands as Europe, Africa and beyond, amassing a wealth of information about this fantastic product.
There are three kinds of bamboo flooring grains available in today's market: horizontal, vertical, and strand woven. Horizontal and vertical bamboo flooring are made from flats strips of dried bamboo, and the strips are glued together in either a horizontal or vertical arrangement and then milled into planks. Strand woven bamboo floors are shredded strands of bamboo that are compressed together and then milled into flooring planks. All three processes create unique grains that are different in appearance. For a more detailed look into the actual manufacturing process, we recommend checking out our in depth post about How Bamboo Flooring Is Made.
Horizontal and vertical bamboo floors (what we now call 'classic' solid bamboo) were the first products to hit the market in the mid-90′s, and were known then as 'solid' bamboo. However, a few years later strand woven bamboo floors arrived on the scene and they are also "solid", consisting of high-quality Moso bamboo strands that are compressed and are through the entire plank. Bamboo (like hardwood) also comes in engineered planks (this is the type of flooring that is usually floated). To get a better idea of the difference between solid, strand and engineered bamboo flooring, continue reading below.
As with any floor you'll want to first study up on the types of construction and their installation methods - each type has its own unique set of benefits. We hope this guide helps you determine what flooring type is best for you.
The 6 main types of bamboo floors are: solid strand, solid strand "floating", tongue and groove engineered, SPC rigid core, click-lock engineered, and solid horizontal and vertical. Familiarizing yourself with the different types ensures that you'll choose the right style for every project and that you won't experience problems with your installation. If you're looking for durability, we recommend strand woven bamboo; if you're looking for ease of installation, check out floating bamboo floors.
Bottom Line: The perfect combination of toughness, beauty, eco-friendliness and affordability. Can be nailed down or glued down (even on concrete) and there are no run limits. Holds up great against pets and children, can be used in kitchens, and is available in premium wide planks at a fraction of what you'd pay for traditional hardwoods.
*A "run" refers to the consecutive distance the floor extends in any given direction
**Opening the windows in your home for a full day is okay.
Bottom Line: Floating solid (wood all the way through) wood floors generate a lot of complaints about shrinkage, as these floors should only be installed in homes with very stable humidity. If you want a floating floor we strongly recommend using an engineered bamboo floor (not solid) as engineered floors have much higher dimensional stability and aren't nearly as susceptible to humidity variation.
*A "run" refers to the consecutive distance the floor extends in any given direction
**Opening the windows in your home for a full day is okay.
Bottom Line: If you want to float a hardwood floor, engineered click lock bamboo is the way to go - it's tough, beautiful and easy to install. We recommend choosing an engineered floor with a minimum 2mm wear layer (can be refinished twice) and a high quality 3 in 1 underlayment that has a high STC sound rating - this will result in a final product that looks and feels exactly like solid hardwood when you walk on it.
Bottom Line: Technically this is an engineered floor due to its multi-layered design however it's different enough to warrant its own category! Why? Because it's highly water resistant, and exhibits little to no expansion and contraction. The Ambient® brand version also happens to include a nifty acoustic vapor barrier pad attached underneath which allows it to be installed directly on concrete or any other level surface as long as it's not excessively wet*. With its stone polymer core and thick 40 mil wear layer, it's dimensionally stable, comfortable underfoot, and is built to last for years and years.
* 'Excessively wet' is defined as emitting moisture > 20 lbs per sq ft as determined by a calcium chloride test (usually a very small percentage of sub-floors). In these cases you will first need to lay down a plastic vapor barrier sheet or similar.
*A "run" refers to the consecutive distance the floor extends in any given direction
**Opening the windows in your home for a full day is okay.
Bottom Line: Similar to the click lock engineered bamboo floors mentioned above, this tongue and groove version is very stable for floating installations. The downside as a floating floor is that they're a bit harder to install as you have to manually apply the bead of glue along the inside of the grooves of each plank. Can also be nailed down or glued down.
Bottom Line: If you like modern looking floors, these are for you. However these floors are not intended for use in high traffic environments. From a hardness perspective they're just mid-range, more similar to Red Oak than to strand woven bamboo, which means these floors are more susceptible to denting and scratches over time.
Different surface styles and variations are used to create a unique and rustic look to bamboo, just as with hardwoods. Here are the primary surface styles you can choose from.
Thicker wear layer translates to better quality. Like traditional hardwood floors, bamboo comes in both engineered and solid versions. The term "Engineered" simply means that the top of the plank is composed of a wood wear layer, which is laminated to a substrate - usually made of multi-ply wood or high density fiberboard (HDF). The thicker the wear layer, the better the qualit, and quality engineered bamboo with a thick wear layer can be refinished. Multi-ply cores are usually better quality (and more resitant to moisture) than HDF cores.
If you want to float the floor, always choose engineered. Solid bamboo can be either nailed down or glued down to just about any sub-floor, including concrete. Engineered flooring is a favorite of DIY'ers and large building contractors due to its fast and easy "floating" click lock installation method, where the planks are snapped together quickly. Engineered flooring is recommended for basements. Both click-together and tongue and groove engineered floors can be glued down if needed. Solid wood floors should never be floated.
Differences in durability and safety. From a durability perspective there is no difference - all strand woven bamboo (both engineered or solid) can be installed throughout all rooms in the home. Solid bamboo and wood floors should not be installed in basements. Strand bamboo (engineered and solid) is water-resistant up to 30 hours and rigid core bamboo floors (which are considered engineered floors) are 100% waterproof. There is no difference in indoor air quality between engineered and solid but we recommend checking to ensure the brand you choose meets the CARB Phase 2 indoor air standard and is Floorscore certified.
Traditional hardwood floors with planks wider than 4 inches and longer than 4 feet have always been considered "premium" and usually come with a premium price tag too ($8 per sq ft or higher). Conversely, due to its rapid regrowth rate, bamboo is available in wide, long (premium) planks at around half of the cost (usually $4-$8 per square foot delivered).
Before you get started on research, keep these important things in mind:
As you do your research, you may come across poor reviews from homeowners or installers that have had bad experiences with low quality brands. Here's where we set the record straight on the most common myths and misconceptions.
This usually happens when using poor-quality brands or when rooms have wildly varying humidity. In both cases, you'd have the same problem with hardwood floors. As with all floors common installation errors are easily avoided by taking 20 minutes to read the installation instructions.
That's true. But the bamboo used to make flooring is not the kind pandas eat or inhabit. In fact, Pandas don't live in the areas where we harvest our Moso bamboo.
Some products that are made in China are low-quality, this is true. But there are also very high-quality products made in China, like iPhones, Mercedes, and all Ambient® products! Reputable suppliers carefully control the manufacturing process and supply chain, and enact strict quality control processes to ensure the products are superbly crafted and hyper durable.
Strand woven bamboo is extremely difficult to dent compared to most other hardwoods. This makes it virtually pet-claw proof from a "permanent denting" standpoint, as even the largest dogs can't apply enough force to leave permanent marks. This is precisely one of the main reasons why homeowners choose strand bamboo.
As for micro-scratches on the surface, there is no surface on earth (diamond floors, anyone?) that won't scratch when hit with something sharp enough, so no floor is scratch-proof. To minimize scratches from furniture and everyday activity, and keep your floors in tip-top shape, try these tips:
Bamboo can indeed be refinished, we even have a guide on how to do it: How to Refinish Bamboo Flooring. What you can't do to bamboo is stain it on site – but you can certainly sand it down and then add several clear coats of polyurethane. Also, if you take proper care of your floor it will last you decades, and if you purchase a high quality bamboo brand, it's highly unlikely you will ever need to refinish it (under residential foot traffic) due to it's insanely dense composition and resistance to moisture and high traffic.
Many hardwoods harvested in the Americas, Europe and even Asia are first shipped to China for milling and finishing, and then shipped BACK to retail locations around the world. That's two shipments compared to one (bamboo grown in China and shipped out from there). Also, due to its insanely fast regrowth rate, bamboo forests generate orders of magnitude more biomass then their hardwood counterparts and take about 1/10 of the time on average to regrow for harvest. Additionally, when bamboo is harvested, the plant isn't killed, unlike trees used for wood. New growth emerges every spring. So continually harvesting bamboo is way better for the environment than waiting decades for hardwoods to grow, then damaging the soil when cutting them down. For an in-depth read on how bamboo is eco-friendly, check out our article Examining the Effects of Hardwood, Cork and Bamboo Flooring on the Environment.
Bamboo is considered a rapidly-renewable resource due to its rapid regrowth rate. There are lots of different species of bamboo, and all of them are evergreen and belong to the grass family Poaceae. Like other grasses, bamboo stems are hollow, which helps the bamboo plant grow rapidly and make it one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Did you know that bamboo is also used for food, paper, and just about a gazillion household products like cutting boards, kitchen cabinets, and many more?!
Small varieties can grow to a height of 3 feet in 24 hours, but that's not the kind used in flooring. Moso bamboo is considered a "giant" bamboo and is the best for flooring products. This amazing plant uses the energy it absorbs from the sun and soil to build a massive system of roots called rhizomes.
For the first 4 years of growth, there will be no evidence of the massive growth happening below ground. In the spring of year 5, however, a few new plants will break through the ground and grow at an explosive rate for about 6 weeks, which is when they typically run out of energy.
Native to China, Moso bamboo commonly grows to heights of 40-80 feet. Yet, not every Moso plant will grow that tall because bamboo grows in clusters (groves) with taller plants emerging each "generation".
That first generation of new Moso bamboo plants will grow to about 10 feet tall. As this happens, the bamboo grove has more leaves pulling in energy from the sun, and the root system grows stronger. As a result, the batch of plants that push up the next spring can grow taller!
Now the grove has even more leaves and the root system gains more strength and grows wider. The pattern of higher plants each spring continues for 8-10 years, at which point the grove reaches its maximum height.
In nature, each bamboo plant can live about 10-15 years, depending on the variety. Whenever a plant dies or is cut down, the grove doesn't die. Instead, it uses its energy to replace the plant.
Strand woven bamboo is considerably harder than either of its horizontal or vertical cousins, and all conventional hardwood flooring - by far. Bamboo is a grass, not a wood, even though it's classified as hardwood flooring. This means it's fibrous and flexible in its unprocessed state, and we make the most of the plant's natural properties to produce highly durable flooring.
To do this, manufacturers take long strips of raw bamboo and weave them together to create woven "mats". The strands are woven and thus that's where the name "strand woven" originates from. But that wouldn't be enough to create durable flooring. So then the woven mats are exposed to high heat and fused together to an extreme by compression machines.
The result is flooring planks that rank much, much higher than any other hardwood flooring on the Janka Hardness Scale. So high that strand woven bamboo is way harder than even Brazilian Walnut (sometimes called Ipe), Ebony, and Bolivian Cherry.
Yes, it's installed just like traditional hardwood flooring: via the nail down, glue down, or floating methods. We also offer a very thorough Bamboo Flooring FAQ section at the bottom of this page, with a specific sections about installation and much more. Want to read Ambient's official installation guide? We have both an English Version and a Spanish Version available for you! Whether you're installing yourself or having a professional do it, here are a few general tips:
Follow these basic guidelines and you're sure to get years of enjoyment from your floor:
We do not provide installation services but have no fear as there are many high-quality contractors in your state and the majority will be eager to provide a free estimate over the phone or in the comfort of your own home. We recommend that you check out our helpful article titled 7 Tips For Choosing A Floor Installer.
Below are a few questions you will want to consider before placing your order:
1. What type of subfloor (usually plywood or concrete) will the floor be installed over?
2. Do you already have a specific plan to float, nail, or glue down the floor, and if so, why?
3. What other types of flooring will the floor be butting up to? Will you require transition pieces and how many?
4. How much flooring will you need to complete the job? Have you added waste?
5. When do you plan to start, and when do you need to receive the flooring material?
6. What kind of traffic do you expect on the flooring? Do you have kids, dogs, is it a commercial space?
7. Will you be installing the floor yourself, or hiring a professional?
Different flooring finishes require different cleaning solutions and methods, so we recommend you read our Bamboo Flooring Maintenance Guide carefully for your specific finish type.
As for cleaning solutions, for regular maintenance and spot cleaning it is hard to beat the Bam-Brite hard surface floor cleaner. Alternatively, you may use most standard floor cleaners approved for your specific flooring finish, such as Swiffer Wet Jet for Hardwood (if you have wood/bamboo), and Bona Hardwood Floor Care Kit. For spot cleaning, you can also use one cup of white vinegar mixed in with a half bucket of warm water, with a lightly damp mop, but do not use vinegar for regular cleaning as it can affect the finish PH balance and dull the luster over time.
Never steam mop or wet mop bamboo/hardwood floors, and never use mineral spirits, turpentine, or paint thinner on our floors. If you have a cleaning solution you are not sure about, make sure to test it on an out of the way area or sacrificial plank prior to using it on your floor, to ensure it does not damage the finish.
We highly recommend reading our Shipping Policy for a comprehensive explanation of our shipping processes.
We ship most freight orders (over 125 lbs) out within 4 business days of purchase, the average being 2 business days. For faster shipment of freight orders, we offer an Expedited Shipping option at checkout however please note that this simply means that we will ship the order out the next business day - it does not shorten the transit time once shipped. For small parcel orders we offer express UPS shipping options at checkout as well; please note that for express shipping services the order must be placed by 2pm EST in order to ship out that same day, otherwise we will process the shipment the next business day. We do not ship out orders, nor do the shipping companies deliver them, on weekends.
For residential lift-gate freight order deliveries, once the flooring order arrives at the local freight terminal, they will call you to schedule your delivery appointment, which is usually a 2-6 hour window on the day of your choosing (weekdays only) when possible. All deliveries are curbside as the freight companies do not offer inside delivery.
The installation method you use will depend upon a few factors, including the type of floor you're using (click-lock or tongue and groove). Here's a quick overview of each method to help you determine which is best for you:
Nail down. This is the most economical installation method, and it's the fastest after the floating method. The drawback is that over a long period of time nails can come loose due to repeated seasonal cycles (expansion and contraction), resulting in a squeaky floor. For nail down installations you'll want to use a 15 lb felt paper or similar as underlayment. To install strand woven flooring you'll need to use a pneumatic nailer that shoots 18 gauge hardwood flooring cleats; using the wrong cleat thickness may result in dimpling or goosebumps in your strand bamboo floor. We recommend using a Primatech Q550 Nailer or a Powernail 50P Flex for all strand bamboo nail down installations.
Glue down. While this is the most expensive and labor-intensive method, it is also considered the most stable method as the glue provides sound and moisture insulation, and the elasticity in the glue allows the floor to expand and contract naturally with the seasons. Our floors can be glued down to a multitude of surfaces. Be sure to check out the Acceptable Subfloor Types table in our installation instructions. If you're gluing down over plywood you can use a basic bamboo flooring glue, but if you're going over a slab you'll want to choose an all-in-one glue for bamboo flooring over concrete. Remember that it's important to use the correct trowel in tandem with the glue you've chosen. If you use the wrong trowel you may not get the correct spread rate, causing your floor to fail. This can be a very expensive mistake!
Floating. The advantage to a click-lock floating floor is the ease of installation as it is less time consuming to install. It is also easier to repair floating floors should you ever have a leak or other problem. The disadvantage is that, unless your home has stable indoor humidity year-round (meaning it stays within a 20% range indoors the whole year), you are limited in the length of the continuous runs of flooring you can lay. Across the widths of the planks (tangentially), you are limited to 25 feet with engineered floating floors and 15 feet with solid floating floors. Running down the lengths of the planks (longitudinally) you are limited to 45 feet with engineered floating floors and 25 feet with solid floating floors. For this type of installation, we recommend you use a 3 in 1 underlayment.
Our prefinished strand woven bamboo & eucalyptus floors are 3x harder than traditional wood floors. Go ahead – order some free samples and hit them with a hammer, dunk them in water, and ding them as much as you want – this is a floor that won’t look dented and scratched up in 10 years like a traditional wood floor. In fact, you’ll most likely never even have to refinish your floor, saving you a costly repair in the years to come.
Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants on earth, which makes it a rapidly renewable and eco-friendly product. The bamboo we use in our floors regenerates in as little as 5-7 years, and the eucalyptus we harvest from well-managed forests regenerates in as little as 3-4 years. Compare this to a hardwood tree that takes 60 years or more to grow.
Our floors are installed and maintained exactly like traditional hardwood floors. All of our floors come prefinished out of the box, so you won't have to do any messy or hazardous on-site finishing. Installation of our flooring is done using the same exact methods as hardwood floors. Since we sell mostly premium widths (wide planks) and premium lengths (3 to 6 footers) our floors also take less time to install.
Our bamboo and eucalyptus floors can be glued down to concrete or plywood, and nailed down to plywood. All of our tongue and groove floors can be directly glued down to concrete, all you have to do is use an adhesive that contains a moisture barrier. We recommend our Ironwood Wood Floor Adhesive, but there are many adhesives on the market that will work. Otherwise, if you want to float the floor, simply use one of our click-lock engineered floors.
All of our floors are safe for you and your family. Our annual test reports show that our floors emit "effectively zero" dangerous chemicals. We take your health as seriously as if it were our own – that is why many of our own employees have our floors installed in their homes. Check out our low emission formaldehyde free (NAUF) bamboo floors.
Our floors hold up great in beach houses, mountain cabins, and any other location inside the U.S. Our floors are moisture-balanced to work in every U.S. environment. We do recommend that you keep the humidity range between 35%-55% as per the National Wood Flooring Association standards.
We do not sell color stain for our floors, as it is not stable outside of a controlled finish environment and would change hue over time; additionally, since wood floors are a natural product, shade lots can vary widely.
SCRATCHES AND GOUGES
Surface Scratches (white lines). Micro-scratches are much more obvious on dark flooring and are common and expected on prefinished hardwood flooring. You can use the products below to diminish these marks. Some customers have also had success in breaking a walnut in half and using the exposed edge to rub on the scratches. On most of our floors, micro-scratches will diminish over time just from walking on the floors, the friction of shoes against the scuff marks tends to make them fade away.
Zenith Tibet Almond Stick For Flooring Repair | WearMax Scratch Concealer For Hardwood Flooring | Rejuvenate Wood Floor Repair Markers
Deeper Gouges and Ruptured Surfaces (grooves or areas where stain was penetrated). For a gouge that has penetrated the finish as well as the stain, you can first use a marker that matches the color to remedy the discoloration. If you wish to fill the gouge there are several products in the market that you can find at local big box or hardware stores, including Mohawk Fil-Stiks, Picobello Floor Repair Kit, and Timbermate. Some products don't fully harden and thus shrink and expand with the floors, while others do harden may chip and break apart if walked on constantly so you'll want to avoid these products if the repair is in a high-traffic area. You also might be able to find a wax filler pen at your local big box store.
Weiman Wood Floors Repair Kit | Picobello Wood Floor Repair Kits | Mohawk Hard Fill Flooring Kit
To touch-up problem spots where the finish may have worn through you can attempt to implement a light buffing to achieve the desired smoothness (with varying 80/12/150 screens) to and follow up with a matte-finish oil-based polyurethane for coating. Some installers have also reported success with Basic Coating's StreetShoe finish line. Please note you'll want to perform this repair on one entire room as attempting it in one area will make it stand out from its surrounding planks. We strongly recommend buffing a sacrificial plank or area and applying the polyurethane to that test section first to ensure the buffing and new finish application achieves the desired results. If you want to fully refinish your floor you can check out our article Can Bamboo Flooring Be Refinished?
**Important: Please note that the comments above are only recommendations and that each installer uses these tools and finishes differently; we strongly recommend that you test your process first on a sacrificial plank or out-of-the-way area before beginning to avoid problems with your floor.
For a comprehensive list, check out our Why Ambient page!
Quality matters, especially with bamboo. What really sets Ambient apart from other brands is our unparalleled quality control process, which takes place before, during, and after we manufacture our products. A quick web search about complaints and reviews on real sites like Yelp, ComplaintsBoard.com, and Reseller Ratings will show you that our quality is without peer in the industry.
The environment matters. Our floor materials are all sourced from well-managed forests. All of our floors are Lacey Act compliant, which ensures they're legally sourced with minimal damage to the environment. All of our adhesives are zero VOC and our floor finishes are all ultra-low or zero VOC as well.
Low prices for high quality. Since we're the only bamboo flooring brand that doesn't sell through distributors or resellers, you truly get the lowest prices on the highest quality floors.
Dye-lot-specific ordering. Every Ambient flooring order all comes from the same lot – so you don’t get shade patches in your floor. Furthermore, each of our samples has a sticker on the back with its dye lot number – just mention that lot number when ordering and presto – your flooring order will come from that exact lot so you know that your final floor will match your sample.
All of our products are safe for you and your family. If you're looking for safe, ultra-low emission floors, look no further. We've proudly achieved Floorscore certification, and our annual test results show that Ambient floors emit "effectively zero" formaldehyde emissions. In fact we are the only flooring brand that proactively tests its products for off-gassing randomly and voluntarily every single year, and have since 2006! We take the health of our customers very seriously - as if it were our own – that is why many of our employees and their families have our floors in their homes.
We are a one-stop shop. We provide a wide range of trim, moldings and installation supplies for our floors. Many of our moldings and trim pieces are specifically designed to match the colors and surface styles of our floors. We do all that we can to ensure that you have a finished look that will get compliments for years to come.
We specialize only in strand woven bamboo and eucalyptus floors. We helped pioneer the market in these incredibly durable and beautiful products. Because of our experience, we have one of the lowest claim ratios in the bamboo flooring industry – almost zero.
Don’t take our word for it – do a web search. If you do a web search on our company name vs other brands you will see we have earned a reputation for quality that is unequaled. We guarantee that if installed correctly, our floors will not shrink, buckle, or warp – problems that can plague other brands.
Due to the density of strand woven bamboo flooring, we recommend only using a high PSI, high quality 18 gauge pneumatic nailer, such as a Primatech Q550 ALR or Powernail 50P Flex. These nail guns require an air compressor. You must use an 18 gauge cleat, as larger cleats will cause dimpling. Staple guns will not work on strand woven floors. When nailing down a floor we typically recommend you first lay 15 lb felt paper.
For moldings installation we recommend a Bostich Porter 23 gauge micro nailer or similar gun.
For all nailers, make sure cleats and nails are set properly before continuing to the next row, as failure to do so may result in goosebumps/dimpling. You may need to try several pressure/PSI settings before finding a setting that will work – test on sacrificial planks. Ensure the connector hose, seal, and air compressor are fully functional and have no tears or defects.
If you do not use the correct nail gun or cleat size, you may get dimpling in your floors. Read this important document about goosebumps and dimpling in strand woven bamboo.
NAIL GUN PRESSURE TOO HIGH: ALWAYS practice on a few planks to ensure the correct PSI setting on the nail gun. If the pressure is too high the nail will split the plank. When using the mallet always use small, light taps - as opposed to large, forceful taps – this is the best to get a snug fit.
NAIL GUN PRESSURE TOO LOW: If the PSI is too low you will end up with dimpling (“goosebumps”) on the face of the floor. Always inspect for dimpling from a low angle and with backlighting after installing the first two rows, because it’s difficult to see when standing directly over the area. It is the responsibility of the installer to check each row after it has been nailed down to ensure all cleats are sufficiently embedded in the planks so they don't cause dimpling in the finished floor upon fastening successive rows.
NAIL GUN PRESSURE JUST RIGHT: You will know that the pressure is just right when the cleat is flush or slightly below the surface of the tongue.
Tongues are slightly splitting – that is okay!
When nailing down extremely dense hardwoods like strand bamboo and eucalyptus there is a chance that the tongue on the planks will crack or split when the cleat is driven in. As long as less than 30% of the cleats have splitting around them, and the splitting is minor, this is perfectly normal and is not considered a defect (your floor will still be covered under the warranty if this happens) as the cleat is still firmly driven into the rest of the board keeping it securely in place. When splitting is happening try to use less force when striking the nailer with the mallet. Below is an image showing acceptable splitting, if occurring on less than 30% of the planks.
Our Rigid Core Bamboo Floors (SPC core) require 24 hours of acclimation; Our solid and engineered (non-SPC) bamboo and eucalyptus floors must be acclimated for at least 72 hours prior to installation, and we recommend an additional 7 days for geographic areas of high or low humidity.
Do not acclimate the floors on top of concrete, carpet with concrete under it, crawl spaces, or any other sub-floor that may contain moisture, without first laying a 6 mil polyethylene plastic barrier down, or the flooring will soak up the moisture from the concrete and shrink post-installation. Make sure to extend the apron/border of the plastic barrier at least 18 inches beyond the flooring boxes.
Ensure that the flooring is acclimated within the same room (or adjoining room with the same climate) where the floor will be installed in. Remember that you must keep your interior humidity settings between 40%-60% (as for all wood floors) or you may experience increased expansion and contraction.
First, stack the boxes up to 5 high, with each stack located at least 2 feet away from the next. Cross-stacking is preferable if you have space.
Once the boxes are stacked, use a box cutter or sharp knife to cut each box down one entire side lengthwise, and also the end flaps. Make sure to also cut open the interior plastic so that the floors really breathe.
We recommend ordering 10% extra for cutting and waste. If you have one or two large rooms that are square, and you are careful about making cuts, you can probably get away with 7%. If you are installing your floors in a diagonal pattern, we recommend ordering 15% extra for cutting and waste. Don't feel like doing the math? Check out our handy square footage calculator!
Note About Dye Lots: Keep in mind that bamboo and hardwood floors come in specific dye lots, so it is a good idea to hold on to a few extra boxes in case you ever need to make a repair down the line. The extra boxes can be stored in an attic, basement, or even a garage, just remember to acclimate all floors prior to installation, for at least 72 hours, within the environment in which they’re going to live.
The best way to see the amount of variation between planks is to check the installation pictures we have on all of the product detail pages on our website or check out our bamboo flooring installation gallery. The thing most homeowners like is that all of our floors have some variation, as they are natural products; this is what makes them unique and appealing as compared to laminate or other synthetic materials. The carbonized color will usually have the most color variation within each lot, followed by some of the lighter stained colors. Remember that you can always control the color of your installation – at the beginning of the installation itself, you can simply point out to your installer which planks are too dark or too light, and ask them to leave those planks out of the installation.
Solid bamboo flooring is made solely of bamboo - it is 100 percent bamboo throughout and is available in tongue and groove and click lock floating versions. You can see side cut views of the different types of bamboo floors here.
Engineered bamboo flooring is comprised of a wear layer of bamboo on top, with an engineered, multilayer core below. The benefits of engineered wood floors are ease of installation and higher dimensional stability.
Rigid core bamboo flooring (with SPC core) is a new type of bamboo that is considered engineered flooring but contains a Stone Polymer Composite Core (SPC Core) as opposed to traditional engineered multi-ply or HDF core. These floors have exceptional water-resistant qualities, and high dimensional stability, so they experience very little expansion and contraction. Our Ambient version of these floors also includes an attached IXPE underlayment pad, so they can be installed in basements and even directly on top of concrete.
We highly recommend you review our Shipping Policy, which has a lot of great information and a short video about the shipping process. When your order ships out we’ll send you a notification email with all of your shipping information. Once the shipment arrives at the local freight terminal near your delivery location, the terminal staff will call you to schedule a delivery appointment* (weekdays, usually a 2-6 hour window). Make sure you don’t miss the delivery appointment or the freight company may charge a hefty re-delivery fee. *if you have selected commercial/freight dock delivery, freight may be delivered without needing an appointment
Once the order arrives, ensure you mark any damages you see on the driver’s bill of lading (they’ll then usually give you a copy). You don’t have to open and inspect every item, just look at the outside of the pallet – that is where the shipping damage will be. Ensure you write the number of damaged items and detailed notes, then take photos of the damaged items and email all of this information to your Ambient representative to ensure we can ship out free replacements.
Important note: If your delivery location is located on a road that cannot be accessed by a semi-trailer truck, you may be required to pick the freight up at the local terminal or meet the driver at an intermediary location.
We accept the following payments:
1. All major credit and debit cards.
2. Personal and bank checks (please note there may be a 14-day shipping delay).
3. ACH payments.
4. Paypal. In fact, PayPal Credit offers financing.
If the room you're purchasing floors for is a square or rectangle, you can use the Area = Length x Width formula for calculating the room's total square footage. If your space isn't perfectly square/rectangular, or you have multiple rooms to order flooring for, it's a little more complicated - but we've made a great tool that makes it super easy to calculate your square footage, the extra flooring you'll need to order to account for cutting and waste, and even the number of cleats you'll need if you're nailing down your floors! Check it out here: The Ultimate Square Footage Calculator
Ambient's floors are 100% safe for you and your family. In fact, we're one of the few companies (if not the only one!?) that tests all products annually to ensure they fall within the CARB Phase 2 indoor air standard, which is the most strict in the world, and we've also achieved Floorscore Certification. The CARB Phase 2 indoor air standard requires less than .05ppm off-gassing of formaldehyde, and all of our floors consistently test at under .015ppm which is considered “Below the Limit of Qualification” or “effectively zero”. We highly recommend you check out our safety information and testing page as well as our informative article here. As you might know, formaldehyde is a naturally occurring substance that even our bodies generate, so no substance on earth is truly "formaldehyde-free", but Ambient solid strand woven floors are NAUF (no added urea formaldehyde).
More info about formaldehyde. Formaldehyde exists in a wide array of household products including paint, wood furniture finishes, and cleaning supplies amongst others. Formaldehyde is also a naturally occurring substance found in air.
More info about CARB Phase II. We recommend further reading from the California Air Resources Board
You should follow two basic rules when choosing a wood flooring adhesive:
1) If you're gluing the floor down to plywood or other dry substrate, you'll want to use a zero VOC 100% urethane trowel-down adhesive approved for wood flooring installation. I.e. when installing over plywood or a dry substrate you don’t need the adhesive to contain a vapor barrier unless there is a crawl space, garage or other moist environment underneath. If there is a moisture concern, proceed to Step 2 below.
2) If you're gluing the floor down to concrete or any other sub-floor that may be emitting moisture, this will require an adhesive that contains a moisture/vapor barrier. These adhesives are slightly more expensive than basic adhesives but well-worth the investment. We sell an affordably priced low-VOC adhesive with vapor barrier and sound retarder that works not only for bamboo but for all types of wood floors and even some tile; many of our clients even use it on their upstairs floors to keep noise levels down. Important: always make sure to use the correct trowel style and size for the type of adhesive you select or you may not get enough coverage on the floor and this will cause the installation to fail. For example, our vapor barrier adhesive should only be applied with a 1/4" x 1/4" V Notch Trowel.
About Moisture In Concrete. Most concrete slabs emit moisture for up to 25 years after being poured, and installing a floor over such a slab is easy to do, however as with any other job done right you want to make sure you have the right tools, and adhesive, on hand. Moisture is measured in pounds on concrete slabs. Basic adhesives usually protect up to about 3 pounds of moisture. Meaning, if you test the concrete and it comes back higher than 3, you need an adhesive that contains a moisture barrier.
Keep in mind that moisture tests only test the moisture on any given day. A slab may read 8 lbs per square foot one day but then it rains for a week and the moisture rating jumps to 14. Our vapor barrier adhesive mentioned above protects your floor up to 20 pounds of moisture emitted per square foot which is usually more than enough for most slabs, however, it's still always recommended to test the slab moisture emission prior to installation using a calcium chloride moisture test kit. If you have an 'excessively wet' concrete slab or sub-floor (which emits more moisture than the upper moisture limit specification of the vapor barrier adhesive you choose), you'll need to find an unlimited vapor barrier adhesive such as Bostik Ultra-Set Single Step.
The default delivery method for our residential flooring deliveries is curbside with a liftgate, so the driver will usually lower the pallet(s) of flooring down using a liftgate. However, it also depends on what shipping option you select and also how much of an incline there is on your driveway. We recommend reading more about this on our Shipping Policy page.
All bamboo flooring is made in China (like the majority of building materials in today's markets). In fact, many wood floors, regardless of where they're sourced (Brazil, Russia, Canada, etc), are often shipped over to China for milling and finishing, and then shipped back to the U.S. Specifically, our raw materials originate close to our factory group, in the Zhejiang province south of Shanghai, the traditional hometown of bamboo.
This depends on several factors mostly related to the current condition of the sub-floor. If the subfloor is observed to be sagging, it is recommended that you install the planks in a perpendicular direction compared to the joists. This is a call you'll want your installer to make as he/she will need to inspect the sub-floor prior to installation.
All of the information below can be found in our detailed flooring installation instructions document. We also recommend reading this informative post on our blog.
Important Note About Crawl Spaces: Many wood floors fail due to the failure of the installer to address moisture in crawl spaces. If you have a crawl space under your home or new flooring, you must properly remedy this moisture.
You must have a high-quality vapor barrier or moisture insulation (with 100% blockage) or the moisture coming up from the crawl space will damage the flooring. A ground layer cover is required - must be 6 mil minimum black polyethylene with joints overlapping at least 6 inches, and sealed with moisture-resistant tape. There must be a minimum of 18′′ from the ground to underside of joists, the polyethylene should also extend at least 6" up the block walls and be sealed there as well, and it should have perimeter venting equal to at least 1.5% of the crawl space total square footage. The vents should be properly placed for cross-ventilation. We recommend you read this document about what happens when crawl spaces are not sealed.
Important Note About Installing Over An Unconditioned Space (such as a garage): Subfloor moisture penetration of improperly sealed sub-floors over unconditioned spaces is a common cause of wood floor failure. If you are gluing the floor down over such a space, you must use a 100% urethane adhesive that contains a moisture barrier. If you are nailing the floor down over such a space, you will need to follow these steps:
In an unfinished space, staple a 6 mil plastic sheet to the ceiling of the unconditioned space with joints overlapping at least 6 inches, and seal with moisture-resistant tape. In a finished space, coat the ceiling with two layers of high-gloss paint.
Lay down two layers of 15 lb asphalt-saturated felt paper at a 90-degree angle to each other over the plywood before beginning the nail-down installation. Thus, lay down the first layer and be careful not to overlap the rolls as this may cause an un-level surface. Once the first layer is down, install the second layer at a 90-degree angle and care not to overlap
With bamboo flooring, you have 3 options over a concrete slab. One is to glue down any of our tongue and groove flooring with an adhesive that contains a moisture barrier (such as our Ironwood All-In-One Adhesive with Vapor/Sound Barrier), and don't forget to use the correct V-Notch ¼ inch trowel. Option two is to float any of our rigid core bamboo floors directly on it (again, extra care must be taken with excessively wet slabs as they may need to be sealed first), and option 3 is to float one of our click-lock engineered floors after first laying down a 3 in 1 underlayment (which contains a vapor barrier).
You can glue down or nail down our solid bamboo floors to a plywood subfloor. You can also float our engineered and rigid core floors (bamboo and LVP) over plywood. Our LVP floors come with pre-attached underlayment, so you don't need to add an extra sound barrier, but for our engineered bamboo floors we recommend either a) floating them over a 3 in 1 underlayment, or b) using the glue-down method with an adhesive with sound barrier for additional sound insulation.
To see if you can install our bamboo and eucalyptus floors over specific sub-floors, we recommend reading the Acceptable Subfloor Types section in the related installation guide. Links to the product's installation guide can be found on each floor's product detail page.
None of our products are brought inside the delivery location by the driver. All small parcel shipments are at the discretion and policy of the shipping company. All freight shipments are curbside delivery with lift-gate unless you specifically request freight dock delivery. Curbside delivery means they lower the pallet on the street at the end of the driveway. The drivers are not required to enter the property boundaries, although if not hazardous sometimes they’ll back up the driveway (if it’s flat and short) and drop the pallet on the driveway.
Someone must be on-site to receive the delivery and inspect it for exterior damage, and then note any damage on the driver’s bill of lading (otherwise we can’t send free replacements). We highly recommend that you do not pay laborers to sit around and wait for the delivery, as the freight companies do sometimes miss appointments and they do not reimburse for such lapses. In some cases at the time of checkout, our website will allow you to add "Garage Delivery" for an additional fee, but this includes rolling the materials pallet into a carport or garage only, and terms and conditions apply.
For all of our bamboo products, we use only premium Moso bamboo (Phyllostachys Pubescens aka Phyllostachys Edulis), which is also known as Mao or Hairy bamboo. All of our Moso bamboo is aged to 5-7 years when harvested, and we only use the most stable middle sections of the culms. The bamboo is harvested without uprooting the plant, so the bamboo will grow back naturally and the plant is not destroyed when harvested. And not to worry, Moso bamboo is not eaten by pandas!
For nail down installations, we recommend that you use either 15 lb felt paper (asphalt-saturated roofing paper, essentially) or red rosin paper.
Please note that 3-in-1 underlayment should only be installed under floating floors and should not be used in nail-down installations, as the compressive quality of the pad can result in loose nails, compromised structural stability, and noisy floors.
For tongue & groove floors, absolutely! The rule of thumb when installing rectangular floor planks at a diagonal is to order 15% extra for cutting and waste instead of the usual 10% extra. Easily calculate the amount of flooring and waste you'll need for your project with our handy square footage calculator!
While it can be a bummer if your shipment arrives damaged – it is not the end of the world! We can easily send you free replacements for anything that was damaged in transit - all we ask is that you do not refuse the shipment and mark any damages on the receipt provided by the driver. After that, please take a few photos of product while it is still on the pallet and email them to [email protected] so we can make a record on your account. Then, please examine the items further once you've brought them inside to determine the extent of the damage, and take photos of affected areas if you require replacements. Once we receive the details and photos we will send out the replacements right away. Most of the time, installers will be able to work around the damage instead of waiting to get replacements. For more information please see our Shipping Policy page.
Occasionally you will have an item with a visible defect either in the stain, finish, or milling. Like most building materials suppliers our effective defect rate is under the industry-standard 3%. However, if you are finding that more than 3% of the product you have ordered has defects, please let us know as soon as possible so we can resolve the matter quickly.
Maximum load considerations related to your joists and building structure: We strongly suggest that you always consult a structural engineer before placing any single piece that exceeds 1,500 lbs or the maximum load your joists will hold.
Heavy objects on NAILED/GLUED-DOWN floors: There are no restrictions to placing heavy furniture floors that are nailed or glued down (aside from structural max weight restrictions) but we recommend placing sliders or rubber weight dispersion plates under the legs of excessively heavy objects to avoid permanent damage or dents.
Heavy objects on FLOATING floors: If you have a floating floor you can usually sit heavy furniture on top, but there are a few exceptions. For example, a piano is perfectly fine and so is a piece of furniture with legs (with just 3-4 contact points with the floor). For pieces of furniture without legs (flat across the bottom), try to avoid "pinning" a long row of successive floating floor planks across the widths of the planks, and more so if that run of planks takes up a large section of the overall run. This is more applicable across the widths of the planks (tangentially) than down the lengths of the planks (longitudinally). The floor needs to be able to expand and contract during seasonal cycles, and pinning the planks down will inhibit this movement and may cause planks to separate from each other. For this same reason, you shouldn't install floating floors under kitchen cabinets. If the bottom of the heavy object is flat and it stretches across the widths of the planks for more than 50% of that given run, and it's over 200 lbs, we suggest gluing or nailing the floor down, or not placing the object on the floor.
We recommend that you review our handy Return Shipping Guide to see the detailed steps to return your order.
As a general rule of thumb, floors that are nailed down or glued down (our solid bamboo, solid eucalyptus, and non-SPC core engineered bamboo floors) can be installed under cabinets and islands, and floors that are floated (our rigid core LVP and click-lock bamboo floors) should not be installed under cabinets or islands.
Note about floating bamboo floors: The primary reason these floors should not be installed under cabinets is because pinning down a long run of a floating floor made of natural materials/wood may inhibit its ability to expand and contract beneath the weight of the cabinets.
If your existing wood floor is clean and level, you can usually nail down or glue down a wood floor to it without issue but you may need to perform a light sanding first depending on the situation (your installer should be able to advise on the best course of action here). Additionally, you can only nail down to an existing hardwood floor if it is at least 5/8" thick. In case of either the glue down or the nail down option, we highly recommend that you seek the assistance of an experienced flooring professional.
We do not sell random length or random width planks. Almost all of our floors come in single length planks lengths of six, four, and three feet depending on the product. Our Copenhagen XtraWide click bamboo flooring is an exception with both four-foot and two-foot planks included in every box.
One of the benefits of this is that you will have a lot less waste as with random lengths you are usually left with a lot of the smaller pieces that you will not be able to use. You can still achieve the randomized look of the flooring planks by cutting the starting plank in each row at a random length.
Yes, we may be able to accommodate this, but please note that we may still apply a small shipping and handling fee to your order. Please reach out to your sales representative for details.
For a thorough section about Sub-floor Preparation, we strongly recommend reading the bamboo and eucalyptus flooring installation guide.
The general advice below is for informational purposes only, as you should always consult each floor's specific/official installation guide before making your determination. Some general sub-floor requirements:
Important note about Gypcrete: Gypcrete will sometimes exhibit a layer of debris that floats to the surface while being poured. This is usually obvious and if it occurs will need to be removed with coarse open grit paper on a buffer until a solid surface is reached. You will then use a diluted coat of acrylic primer to seal the surface; however, it must soak in and not leave a film. Once the gypcrete is prepped and primed you can proceed with a normal installation.
A note about Lauan/Luan/Luaun: While most urethane adhesives bond to Luan and thus you could glue our floors down to it, Luan is generally considered an unstable substrate for tile or hardwood flooring. It doesn’t have much strength, so it may contribute to squeaking or bouncing. Our recommendation is always to remove it before installing a new floor.
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 60 days. If it is not level, grind down high spots and fill low spots with a leveling compound. The concrete must be flat to 3/16" per 10- foot radius. All concrete must be tested for moisture and the appropriate vapor barrier urethane adhesive must be used to account for the moisture emission level. We recommend reading our full installation guide for details.
Bamboo flooring is similar to mid-range hardwoods when it comes to dimensional stability, so they can be installed in all climates whether very dry or very humid. Our floors have been installed around the world from the jungles of Kenya to the heights of the Rockies.
All wood flooring expands and contracts with the seasons due to changes in humidity - there are no exceptions. The key is to control your interior humidity as to avoid excessive swings in humidity throughout the year, as these will cause expansion and contraction in your wood/bamboo. The recommended humidity setting for our floors is 40%-60% in humid climates and 35%-55% in dry climates but even dryer and more humid settings may suffice as long as your humidity is stable (within a 20% range) throughout the year. We do recommend to try to keep the humidity above 25% in almost all cases. In very humid or very dry climates, just follow these tips and you will be all set:
We highly recommend reading our post about installing bamboo flooring in humid and dry climates too.
And here's a good article about installation: glue down vs nail down vs floating.
The great thing about strand bamboo floors is that it is highly unlikely you will ever need to refinish them at all because the floor will not be dented up and the finish will not be peeling off after 10 years like many wood floors. That being said, all of our strand woven solid bamboo floors can be refinished 2-4 times and all of our engineered floors can be refinished up to 2 times. The wear layer on our engineered bamboo flooring is not a thin veneer like other brands – it’s a thick wear layer that can be refinished. Please note that our rigid core bamboo flooring (with SPC core) cannot be refinished.
Refinishing bamboo flooring is a bit more time consuming than hardwood flooring, due to its density and the toughness of our finish, however, it can definitely be done. The finish on our flooring can be sanded down/off, and then a clear coat (polyurethane) finish can be applied, on-site. Please note that strand bamboo flooring cannot be stained before the clear coat is applied. So our floors can be refinished with a clear coat, but they cannot be stained a different color. The density of the strand material prevents it from absorbing color stains that are applied onsite - the flooring will only absorb the stain in a controlled finish line environment. Therefore yes, our floors can be refinished and a clear coat of polyurethane can be applied but the final color of the refinished floor will be the color of the base material (natural or carbonized).
Should you ever choose to refinish your bamboo flooring, no problem - we've got step by step instructions for you right on our How To Refinish Bamboo Flooring page.
The links to the policies below can also be found in the footer of our website, and we encourage all customers to review these policies before purchasing.
Almost all of our floors can be installed over radiant heat, however, different floor types have different requirements so we recommend checking each floor's "Specifications" section on its product detail page on this website, find the row labeled "RADIANT HEAT SAFE" that will tell you if it can be installed over radiant heat or not.
Additional important note: In the same Specifications section, you will see a link to the installation guide for that floor - please note there is a specific and detailed section in each floor's installation guide pertaining to installation over radiant heat, and maintenance of the floors over radiant heat, and we strongly suggest you read that section of the installation guide to avoid voiding your warranty!
Our floors are installed in restaurants, spas, and other high traffic and locations around the world since 2006. Small water droplets that land on the floors will evaporate, however, if you leave a puddle on any wood floor for more than 24 hours it might mark the finish, and depending on the species, some wood may swell and stay that way. Bamboo holds up to water a bit better than traditional hardwoods as it retains its shape better after water absorption, especially rigid core bamboo flooring. Hardwood floor warranties (including ours) do not cover damage from water, so if the planks get wet and become warped, stained, or have their finish marred, you'll need to cut them out and replace them. Due to their hardness, bamboo and eucalyptus floors are great for kitchens as long as you avoid puddles and protect them with a normal level of care. Just remember that hardwood and bamboo floors should never be wet-mopped or steam mopped, they just require a lightly damp mop and an effective hardwood floor cleaning solution to do the job.
Our floors are warranted in half bathrooms/powder rooms, but we don’t warrant our floors for use in full bathrooms because water may spill outside of a bathtub and flow underneath the planks, which could result in a mold issue. That being said, many of our clients that don't use bathtubs for bathing (or are judicious in drying up water spills afterward) use them in full bathrooms anyways, they just ensure to use rugs at the entrance to showers and make sure not to leave puddles.
We do not. Laminate floors are made from synthetic materials (usually an HDF core with a paper wear layer and finish ) and while they can resemble wood floors at times, they don’t have the beautiful natural variation that real bamboo solid and engineered floors have, and usually they aren't as safe from an off-gassing perspective. Here's a great write up of Laminate VS Bamboo Flooring that highlights the differences.
In general, bamboo hardwood floors are much harder, more sustainable, and affordable than almost all other flooring products. Read below for more differences.
Bamboo vs Eucalyptus. Our strand woven bamboo and eucalyptus floors are exactly alike when it comes to durability, installation, and maintenance, but different in a few other ways. Here are the main differences:
Bamboo vs Laminate. Bamboo floors are comprised of real bamboo wood, whereas laminates are made from synthetic plastic materials. Laminate is often more affordable and in some cases easier to clean but will often curl at the edges of the planks if affected by moisture or water. Real bamboo floors have natural variation and warmth that is hard to replicate in synthetic materials.
Bamboo vs Tile. Tile is much easier to clean (you can use abrasive cleaners) on a day to day basis, but grout upkeep can add an unwanted maintenance dimension. Tile may also chip when heavy and sharp items are dropped on it. Tile is more economical but does not have the warm feeling underfoot and is often cold to the touch on your feet.
Bamboo vs Cork. Cork is also a great, sustainable flooring option and has a nice soft feel on the feet. It is also very easy to clean and responds well to water. One drawback is that the surface layer on cork can be damaged much easier than bamboo and does not wear as well over time.
Bamboo vs Hardwoods. Bamboo is installed and maintained much like other hardwoods. Bamboo is much more eco-friendly than most hardwoods as it regenerates in just 5 years compared to 40-100 years for some hardwoods. Bamboo flooring costs are also usually much more affordable than hardwood floors since it grows so much faster. Bamboo flooring is head and shoulders above hardwood floors in terms of hardness, sustainability, and affordability, and it rarely if ever needs to be refinished.
Bamboo vs Carpet. Up front costs for carpet can be much lower than bamboo and hardwood flooring, and it is soft underfoot. However due to its tendency to trap allergens, dust mites, smells, and stains, it requires more cleaning and replacement at shorter intervals over time, which actually makes it more expensive in the long run.
Bamboo vs Stone or Concrete. Stone is a very durable floor that can be very beautiful, but it is cold and hard underfoot. Natural varieties have nice natural variation like bamboo hardwood floors.
We do not stock any unfinished or high gloss flooring in our U.S. warehouses, however, we can provide them (and other custom options) via special order with a 90-120 day lead time (minimum order quantities may apply). In the U.S., we only stock prefinished floors coated with our industry-leading Accuseal Ultra® finish system, our hyper-durable matte finish that is backed by a lifetime warranty!
These are all terms related to the color of bamboo flooring. Natural bamboo flooring is blonde, which is the original color of the bamboo raw material culms once the green outer layer has been stripped off. Carbonization is a manufacturing process that darkens the color of bamboo raw materials and gives the Carbonized flooring its color name. Natural bamboo that is heated in kilns becomes "carbonized" or "caramelized" because the sugars inside the bamboo heat up and turn a nice rich brown color.
Natural and carbonized are the two base colors that go all the way through the plank. When a bamboo floor is stained, the stain is applied to the top surface of the wood (both natural and carbonized planks can be stained), just like any other wood floor. For example, oak comes in natural and gunstock - gunstock is a stain. Since strand woven bamboo floors rarely need to be refinished, this usually isn't a big deal, however, if you refinish a stained bamboo floor you will lose the stain color, because bamboo flooring cannot be stained on site (although it can be refinished and clear-coated). The material underneath a stained bamboo floor may be either carbonized or natural depending on what base material was used. To determine the base material of your bamboo floor simply flip a plank over - if it's blonde it is a natural plank, and if it is brown it's a carbonized plank.
Most squeaky floors are the result of the house settling and the lumber drying out and shrinking, or the sub-floor nails having come loose from the joists over years of seasonal expansion and contraction cycles, resulting in the structural wood parts rubbing up against each other and/or the nails. Loose sub-flooring will emit high frequency chirping noises.
There are several ways to remedy this issue, including drilling screws up under the sub-floor to tighten the lumber up against each other. We suggest that you consult with a local flooring installer to review all options, as some are dependent on how your flooring is installed.
You can typically safely walk on the floors around 4-12 hours after the adhesive was first troweled down but this depends on the humidity levels of where you live, because moisture-cured urethanes dry at different intervals depending on humidity levels. We recommend reading the adhesive pail label to determine the correct cure time.
Absolutely! We’ve shipped our products to such far-flung locations as Guam, Kenya, Tanzania, Bahrain, Great Britain, Kuwait, France, Mexico, Canada, Hawaii, and many more. Please note that international shipments may require you to procure the services of a freight forwarder at the port of discharge; most port authorities can provide recommendations for reputable freight forwarders that service your home port. Also, minimum order quantities may apply to some countries. Call your Ambient representative today at (866) 710-7070 for shipping quotes to your country!
Bamboo flooring is installed in the same manner as hardwood flooring and installation costs in the US can range anywhere from $2-$6 per square foot depending on the installation requirements. Small square footage amounts will result in a higher per-square-foot installation cost.
Installers will modify their pricing based on a variety of factors such as: moving of furniture, removal of existing flooring, leveling of the subfloor, installation moldings required, inside delivery charges, to name a few. Some installers (mainly from flooring stores) will try to convince you to buy their floor brands so that they can make money off the products as well as the installation. Any carpenter, handyman, or homeowner can install our floors, we just recommend they follow our handy bamboo flooring installation guide.
Not only is stable humidity required for hardwood and bamboo flooring, but it's also healthier for you. If you live in an area that experiences indoor humidity under 35% or over 55% at any time during the year, we suggest buying a hygrometer ($10-$15 at local hardware stores) to keep track of the humidity, and a portable humidifier or dehumidifier to properly control your indoor humidity levels. Even better, whole house humidity modulators are affordable and readily available in the market for $300-$1000 depending on the size of your home, including installation.
Yes! Rolling office chairs tend to collect grime, dirt, and small rocks under the wheels, which eventually damage the finish of every floor including ours. Always use a chair mat under rolling office chairs. It is also advised that you use felt pads under furniture and chairs to avoid damaging the finish.
A dye lot is similar to a 'batch number' and is an alphanumeric code assigned to each different batch of flooring as it is manufactured.
For bamboo or eucalyptus floors: Since these floors are made from a natural material, there can be variation between lots/batches. The flooring sample(s) you received will have a sticker on the back that tells you the lot number that the flooring came from, and referencing this number when placing your order will ensure that the floors you receive come from the same lot that your sample was cut from. If you're ordering moldings to go with your flooring, please note that these products are manufactured separately from our floors and are not assigned lot numbers. It is our policy to fulfill every order (that contains floors and moldings) with the moldings and trim pieces that best match the dye lot of the flooring ordered.
For LVP floors: Since vinyl is not a natural product like wood, there is significantly less variation between lots or batches of flooring. Although it doesn't hurt to reference the lot number listed on your sample when placing your flooring order, it isn't 100% necessary to reference it.
When nailing or gluing down floors: No run limits or restrictions on consecutive distances.
When floating your floors: If you constantly keep your indoor humidity at a level of 40%-60%, you do not have any run limits on your floating floor. This humidity level can be maintained via a humidity modulator (typically as a part of an HVAC system), standalone humidifiers/dehumidifiers, or naturally. The latter is considering that some geographic areas have relatively stable humidity year around (like Southern California or Florida), so run limits usually aren't an issue in those areas.
However, if a) you live in an area with distinct seasons and a wide variance in humidity throughout the year, b) you don't have a way to control your humidity, and/or c) your interior humidity settings will fluctuate more than 20% in a given year, your successive runs of flooring should not exceed 25 ft across the widths of the planks and 45 ft down the lengths of the planks. For our rigid core bamboo floors (SPC core), runs should not 40 ft across the widths and 50 ft down the lengths.
We strongly recommend reading the specific installation guide for the floor you're considering installing before purchasing - a link to this guide can be found in the "Specifications" section of each floor's product detail page on our website.
We recommend that you always carefully measure your walls to determine how many moldings you'll need, however a quick ratio used by many installers is to order 30% of the total flooring square footage. For example, if you’re installing 1,000 sq ft of flooring you'll need roughly 300 linear feet of perimeter trim moldings. It also depends on how many cuts need to be made, but that rough estimate will get you started. For additional help with measurements for your project, check out our Square Footage Calculator (+ more)!
Our bamboo, eucalyptus, and LVP flooring has been installed around the world and in many different types of structures such as homes, restaurants, libraries, and more. However, it is only warranted for indoor use and when installed for its intended use (as flooring). For our bamboo floors specifically, you can read all about the process in our official bamboo flooring installation guide.
Even though all of our floors have several UV protection layers added to our Accuseal Finish System, most floors will get lighter or darker slightly over time - whether they're exposed to direct sunlight often or not. Natural strand woven bamboo flooring will darken slightly darker over time, while carbonized strand woven bamboo flooring will get slightly lighter over time. The same goes for the stained versions of both types of floors. To ensure your floors stay protected, use rugs and mats with a natural rubber backing and periodically move furniture around in rooms that see lots of light.
If you live in the US and you have any flooring (bamboo or other) that is facing in a southerly direction and in direct sunlight, you might also consider installing window films and drapes that filter UV light.
Yes, Ambient is proud to be FloorScore® certified! FloorScore is a voluntary certification program whereby floors must meet the most stringent indoor air quality standards in the world to gain certification. Additionally, Ambient is the only flooring brand that proactively and voluntarily tests its floors annually for off-gassing and safety. You can find Ambient's full test results and other technical information on our product and safety testing information page or learn more about the Floorscore® program here.
If it is an enclosed, climate-controlled room and the sub-floor does not have a moisture concern, you can install bamboo flooring. We do not recommend installing our bamboo or eucalyptus floors in a room that is not climate controlled, and you have to be careful with sub-floor moisture as well. Otherwise, as long as the humidity inside that room is stable, and maintained between 40%-60%, and the sub-floor is dry year-round (emits less than 12% moisture), you can install the floors there.
For the most up-to-date information we highly recommend you visit our Bamboo Flooring and LEED Credits page. But in general, all of our floors contribute to LEED credit MR6 6.1, which rewards building materials derived from rapidly renewable materials (1 pt), and some of our floors contribute to LEED IEQ 4.1 Low-emitting Materials for composite wood and LEED IEQ 4.1 Low-emitting Materials for adhesives and sealants formaldehyde (1 pt)
Our floors are all NAUF (no added urea-formaldehyde), Floorscore Certified, and meet the CARB Phase 2 indoor air standard (most strict in the world). Small amounts of non-toxic phenolic resins are added during the compression process in our strand woven floors to increase bonding strength so that the strands of wood fuse together more effectively. This is resin is similar to those used to hold together the other wood furniture in your home, such as your kitchen table, your cabinets, your wood desks at home and at work, your dresser drawers, closets, shelves, etc. All of our products are tested by an independent 3rd party laboratory every single year to ensure they don’t emit dangerous toxins!
All of our floors have micro-beveled edges. The reason for this is because, on pre-finished floors like ours, square edges can splinter up or chip off when kicked under normal foot traffic. Square edges typically only exist on unfinished hardwood floors.
No. Only an 18 gauge cleat nailer should be used to nail down strand woven bamboo and eucalyptus flooring (along with 18 gauge cleats). If you use 16 gauge cleats, they are likely to cause dimpling on your floors as described in this article.
Furthermore, using any cleat or staple other than an 18 gauge cleat may cause cracks and splits in the tongue that will cause further issues down the road.
Need help finding out how many cleats you'll need to nail down your floors? Use our handy cleat/nail calculator!
For hardwood and bamboo floors, you have to be careful when laying rugs or pads as they can damage the finish over time. We recommend reading our complete write-up about acceptable rugs and pads, and below are some general instructions to follow.
It's recommended that you use natural rubber or felt rug pads under all rugs laid on hardwood floors. If you’re looking for a simple, non-slip rug pad we recommend using a breathable, natural rubber-based pad. Natural rubber has excellent gripping power, is a renewable resource, and won't damage your floors over time like a more typical, less expensive PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pad. Natural rubber rug pads have been on the market for over 30+ years and have a proven track record for performance and floor safety.
If you need a larger area covered you can also use a 100% felt rug pad. They offer excellent cushioning and support for larger areas and are less prone to slipping. A felt rug pad is thicker and denser than traditional non-slip rubber rug pads and offers a dense buffer. Whichever rug pad you choose, make sure it's breathable (perforated).
Bamboo, hardwood, and vinyl floors should be kept at least 18-24 inches away from high-heat sources or the heat can dry them out and cause irreparable shrinkage. Here are 2 rules of thumb to follow and you should be just fine:
1. Install the flooring at least 2 feet away from the stove by putting in an apron of brick/stone/similar around the stove.
2. Acclimate the flooring that will be installed near the stove in the same area where it will be installed, with the stove turned on (no closer and no farther than where it will be installed).
Dimensional stability refers to the ability of a substance or part to retain its shape when subjected to varying degrees of temperature, moisture, pressure, or other stress. Bamboo floors, like hardwoods, are made of a natural and hygroscopic material, which means they are subject to dimensional change when exposed to variations in temperature, moisture, and humidity.
Engineered bamboo floors and hardwoods are typically a bit more dimensionally stable than solid floors (the former expands and contracts a little less) however this mostly comes into play with floating vs nail/glue down.
Engineered floating bamboo floors are very stable, conversely when you are floating a solid bamboo floor (solid means the plank is wood all the way through, and floating means the planks are clicked or glued to each other instead of being nailed down or glued down to the sub-floor) you must have very strict humidity controls inside your home or it may pull apart and out from under walls (even if it is click lock). This is part of the reason we do not recommend floating solid tongue & groove bamboo floors.
While bamboo, eucalyptus, and hardwood flooring can be exposed to freezing temperatures for short periods of time (24-30 hours), prolonged exposure is not recommended. Bamboo and eucalyptus floors perform best when the indoor climate is maintained at around 40-60% humidity and 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit, although conditions may vary in different geographic areas. Hardwoods left in cold weather (below 40 degrees Fahrenheit) for extended periods may result in face checking, shrinkage, and even cracking.
No, asphalt-saturated felt paper is NOT a moisture barrier (neither the 15lb. felt nor the 30 lb felt). It may help to slow down moisture and have some wicking qualities, but it does not stop it. If you need a moisture barrier for a floating floor, you will need to use a 3 in 1 underlayment. For a nail-down floor, there is no vapor barrier underlayment available, so you will need to seal the moisture concern somewhere below the subfloor, or you will need to glue the floor down with a vapor barrier adhesive.
The standard requirement for all wood flooring (including bamboo) is that you maintain proper interior humidity levels between 40%-60%. As long as your installer follows our installation instructions, and those interior humidity settings are maintained, you'll have a trouble-free and super durable floor for a long time. Meanwhile, vinyl flooring is generally stable outside of that range, but you still want to avoid extreme temperatures (outside of 35 degrees to 85 degrees) and humidity (outside of 10%-80%).
STC and IIC sound ratings indicate the ability of a material to muffle footfall noise and reduce sound transmissions between levels. An underlayment or adhesive with a high STC and IIC rating will not only reduce sound transmission between levels more effectively, but it will also reduce footfall noise within the room more effectively. Materials with higher STC and IIC sound ratings tend to be more expensive, and sometimes thicker, than underlayments with low sound ratings.
There's a common misconception that thinner floors are less sturdy than thicker floors. This is only true if you buy cheap engineered floors that have a razor-thin veneer layer, because they can't be refinished, and the wear layer is easily perforated when you drop something heavy and sharp on it. All Ambient hardwood and bamboo floors can be refinished a minimum of 2 times including our engineered bamboo flooring (non-SPC core).
In fact, all of our bamboo and hardwood floors come with a lifetime structural and finish warranty regardless of thickness. The driving factor between whether to choose thick over thin is usually a matter of the layout of your home and subfloor. Some people get thinner floors to increase the headroom in their homes, while others choose thicker options so that they can more easily transition to other floors on the same level without using transition pieces. Sometimes door frame heights are also taken into account when choosing thickness. Also, if you want 6-foot long planks those usually require greater thickness to remain stable, while 3-foot and 4-foot long planks can be thinner and still retain their dimensional stability.
Yes, we do provide discounts for large quantity orders. If your order falls into a category below, please reach out to our customer support team at (866) 710-7070 to see what discounts are currently available:
3 in 1 underlayment should never be used when nailing down a floor. These underlayments are nullified as a vapor barrier once you nail through them, and the compression of the pad results in the loosening of the cleats over time, which can result in noise squeaks and also structurally compromise the floor. Most installers use 15 lb asphalt-saturated felt paper when nailing down a floor, it reduces wood-on-wood squeaking and helps wick moisture away from the bottoms of the flooring planks (please note that 15 lb felt paper is not a vapor barrier!).
Remember, if you're nailing down a strand woven bamboo floor, it is required you use an 18 gauge cleat nailer.
Most likely, but keep in mind that wood flooring is a natural product and so there may be differences in shade and color between different dye lots. We recommend that you send us a small 6-inch sample of your current floor to the address on our contact us page – this way our warehouse manager can check our existing lots to ensure we have something that matches *before you place your order* so that you do not end up with a big shade patch in your floor.
Absolutely. If pet urine has damaged your previous floors enough to seep into your subfloor, that's something you'll certainly want to tend to before your new floors go in. Treat your subfloor with an enzymatic odor eliminator to ensure these unpleasant smells no longer escape your subfloor and negatively affect your indoor air quality. Our OdorGhost subfloor primer is a great product for accomplishing this - and it's warranted to work with our Ironwood vapor barrier flooring adhesive!
Yes, you can store flooring boxes in a covered building outside of the home under the following conditions:
BAMBOO/EUCALYPTUS FLOORS: Remember, storing boxes in a garage or non-climate controlled space is not considered acclimation. In fact, for floors that are stored in a garage/shed first, we recommend acclimating them at least 2-3 extra days on top of the normal acclimation period. The boxes will still need to be brought into the space in which they're going to be installed first (for acclimation) as per our installation instructions.
If you live on the West Coast and buy an Oak or Maple floor (which comes from the East), there is more embodied energy in that product than a bamboo floor made near the coast in China and shipped over the water. Ocean freight is simply that much more efficient. And this does not even take into account the fact that the tree cut on the East Coast will take 50 years to grow back and the bamboo plant will take only 5 years to grow back.
One interesting tidbit that people don't know is that a large chunk of wood flooring (apart from bamboo) harvested in Canada, Russia, Brazil, etc, gets shipped over to China first for milling and finishing, and then gets shipped back over to the US, which in effect doubles the transportation distance and CO2 emissions.
Large pets and active children are just a few of the reasons why families purchase our strand woven floors. Our floors resist scratching from pet claws extremely well! Strand woven bamboo and eucalyptus floors are the hardest wood floors on the market and are used not only in residential locations but also in commercial locations around the world. Our strand woven bamboo flooring can take a lot more punishment from denting and liquids than most other floors.
Please note however that no floors are impervious to pet urine – even concrete will be stained by pet accidents! That being said we have many past clients with dogs, pets and active lifestyles that rave about the durability of our floors. Order a sample today and hit it with a hammer, dunk it in water, and scratch it up, you'll see just how tough the finish and wood is for yourself.
Janka hardness is a way to measure the strength and durability of various hardwood flooring species, and our strand woven bamboo floors have tested at over 5,000 on the Janka hardness scale. We have a great write-up about bamboo and Janka testing if you want to delve further into this matter. Most of our bamboo and eucalyptus floors average between 4,000-5,000 on the Janka scale. Depending on the time of the year the raw materials are harvested and the location on the plank where the lot was tested, different lots may have higher or lower Janka ratings than advertised; this is true across all brands. Additionally, extremely high density can sometimes cause finish problems down the line as they are less permeable and thus don't hold finish well. Our Accuseal finish system has optimized flooring density and finish bond to provide the best finish on bamboo flooring.
All types of rigid core (SPC) and engineered bamboo flooring can be installed below grade, but it is not recommended that solid hardwood or bamboo flooring be installed below grade. When installed via the floating method, we recommend the use of a quality 3 in 1 underlayment to serve as a moisture barrier and for footfall noise reduction. Engineered floors can be installed via the glue-down method on any level of the home, but if installing over concrete or crawl space you must use a urethane flooring adhesive that contains a vapor barrier (all-in-one glue).
Remember that you'll want to acclimate the floors in the same room in which they're going to be installed at least 72 hours prior to installation, and be careful not to acclimate them directly on concrete or over crawl spaces as they will absorb moisture, which will cause problems. Instead, ensure to lay down an 8 mil thick plastic sheet or 3 in 1 underlayment for the boxes to sit on during acclimation, and you'll want the apron of the sheet to extend about 1 foot away from the boxes themselves for added protection. The interior humidity settings of the basement must be maintained between 40%-60% just like on any other level in the home.
Some of our floors and plywood contain the densest hardwood material in the world (strand woven bamboo) and will wear down standard saw blades pretty quickly. For this reason, we recommend a minimum 80 tooth tungsten carbide saw blade. Diablo is a brand that sells such a blade (check your local big box store or online).
Plywood Tip: if you get burn marks on some of your cuts you can sand them off saw using a few stages of different high grit sandpaper.
Dimensionally stable flooring can be installed over well-bonded vinyl asbestos tile using our trowel down adhesives. However, all waxes and sealers which have likely been applied to the VAT, must be stripped prior to installation. It is prudent for this sort of prep to be done by a licensed asbestos abatement professional. Epoxy can be used as a sealer of asbestos tiles as long as there are no loose pieces, and the key is to abrade the epoxy surface so the glue can bond to it. Please note: we cannot guarantee that other adhesives will bond, so you would proceed at your own risk if you are using adhesives other than those sold by Ambient.
At Ambient, we value the brave men and women that serve in our nation's armed forces and law enforcement agencies. We offer a 5% discount off all products for active-duty members of our U.S. armed forces and full-time local and state law enforcement. Clearance items and odd lots do not qualify for this discount and it cannot be combined with other promotions. Call (866) 710-7070 for additional details.
We do not recommend installers. However, you have several options available to you to locate a good installer:
Crowning - also referred to as cupping - is most commonly caused by moisture hitting the bottom of the wood floor from the sub-floor. Read this document about cupping, crowning and buckling in wood floors. This almost always means there is a sub-floor moisture issue, and usually requires destructive floor replacement.
Shrinkage can be the result of several factors: 1) the humidity levels have dropped more than 20% (in which case most every wood substance on earth will shrink), 2) the brand of bamboo you have installed is of low quality and was not properly moisture-balanced during manufacturing, and 3) you installed a FLOATING SOLID (all-the-way-through) wood/bamboo floor and exceeded the recommended run limits. This can sometimes be remediated by installing a humidifier; however, if the wood has become too dry there is sometimes a "point of no return."
Buckling is most commonly caused by the interior humidity increasing by 20% or more and is a result of the floor expanding and pushing against the exterior walls or interior structural elements. This often results in two or more planks having a "teepee" effect as they push against each other and lift up. This can be fixed by installing a dehumidifier for one week and then walking the planks to flatten them again.
For flooring and plywood we strongly recommend ordering a sample before placing your final order, so you can ensure that the shading will be to your liking. Our flooring and plywood samples have a dye lot number sticker on the back of them. Our website checkout process will ask you to type in this dye lot number before final payment; alternatively, if ordering via email or over the phone simply mention this lot number to your Ambient representative and we will update the order with it and ship that exact lot number. If we don't have that lot number available (it has sold out) but we have a matching lot, we will ship the matching lot. If we do not have a matching lot, we will not ship your order until you approve samples of the new lot.
Please remember that photographs on our website are taken from a variety of devices and under many different lighting conditions, and are viewed on a wide range of computer monitors and contrast settings, thus we do not guarantee that any floor will match the photographs on the website. If you order your flooring sight unseen (without receiving samples first), Ambient is not responsible for light or shading variation or differences and thus not responsible for return shipping costs (which can be expensive and can vary greatly depending on where you live and the size of your order).
If you receive the order from the exact lot number you requested, or you order sight unseen (you do not provide a dye lot number at checkout), and you decide after it arrives that you want to return the order, you will be responsible for return shipping charges. For flooring orders, please see our 30 Day Money-Back Guarantee for more information.
Once adhesive cures on a wood flooring surface, it is very tough to remove and may leave behind permanent cloudy/dull spots on your finish, however you can try these steps:
1. Pour a small amount of Bostik Urethane Adhesive Remover on the glue spot, or squeeze a small amount of remover from a Bostik Adhesive Remover Towel.
2. Let it sit for about 15 minutes.
3. Wipe the area clean.
4. Apply adhesive remover again to the same spot.
5. Let it sit for about a minute.
6. Use a Mr. Clean® Magic Eraser® to remove cured glue.
7. Clean the area well.
If the steps above fail, you can also attempt to wear the glue spots down using denatured alcohol, but make sure to test on a sacrificial plank first as overdoing it may also rub off some of the finish. Finally, if none of the steps above work, or you are left with cloudy spots as a result of removing the glue, you will most likely need to cut out and replace the flooring plank.
Small floor samples with click lock profiles may appear to be loose when you click them together, however you'll notice when clicking full planks together that they fit much more tightly. This is by design and the floors will not slide around once installed. The reason there is a bit of space is because on longer flooring planks there has to be some room simply to be able to click the planks together - if there was no space for play, it would be impossible to click the long planks together (you'll have to trust us on this one!). In fact, a not infrequent complaint from installers about low-quality click floors is that the click system is too tight and they have difficulty even getting the planks to click together - which adds time and cost to the homeowner. Here at Ambient we're known for excellent overall quality and this extends to our milling machinery – in fact, installers comment all the time on how well-milled our planks are and how little waste they get when they install our floors.
Below is an overview of the types of moldings and trim commonly used for flooring installations. You can also check out our Moldings 101 page!
T-Molding: This is used to transition between two floors of equal height or within 1/8 inch in height of each other.
Threshold: This is used to transition between two floors of unequal heights. The bottom of this molding is commonly cut (ripped) as needed depending on the height of the lower floor. Also commonly used at exterior doorways and sliding glass doors.
Reducer: This is used to transition down to the ground.
Quarter Round: Some installers call this shoe molding and although they serve the same purpose and are usually interchangeable they are slightly different dimensions-wise. This molding goes all the way around the installation and is often paired with baseboard but not always. It's used to cover up the expansion gap left around the perimeter of the installation.
Baseboard: This is used to cover the expansion gap all around the edges of the installation and is sometimes used with quarter round for a finished look.
Stair Nose: Also known as bull nosing, this piece is used to transition down to a lower level such as a landing, and at the top of a staircase.
Stair Tread: This is typically one entire piece to cover the stair step, we sell most of them in 48" lengths and some in 72" lengths. Many of our treads come with two rounded sides and rounded front, so that they can be used on open staircases.
Stair Riser: This is the vertical piece on the staircase in between each tread and they're usually 48 inches in length but we also carry some 72 inch versions. We stock them for our most popular colors, and we also sell the white stained poplar risers which are very popular and usually more affordable than the matching wood risers.
Register Vent/Dampener Covers: We have mostly flush mount register vents with a removable inner grill, but we also carry drop in vents in some colors. We carry the most common vent dimensions of 4x10 and 4x12 but also some 4x20 versions in popular colors.
Cove Molding: These pieces are glue up under stair treads and noses to give a more finished look, where the nosing/tread meets the vertical wall or riser. Most treads and noses aren’t finished underneath, so when you look up at them from below they’ll look nicer if you add a cove molding.
Spline: Bamboo spline helps transition when you change direction in your flooring planks. It allows you to place two planks (tongue sides) together and continue your flooring installation.
Yes you can! However you must use our urethane adhesive with vapor and sound retarder** in combination with our Super Silencer underlayment. For maximum effect, you can first glue the underlayment down to the sub-floor, then glue the flooring down to the underlayment. You will need a 1/4 in by 1/4 in v-notch trowel, and some adhesive remover wipes are always recommended when gluing down any floor.
**IMPORTANT NOTE: IXPE-backed flooring is not recommended for glue down installation and is not warranted if installed via this method; however, floors backed with cork underlayment are warranted for glue down installation. Be sure to confirm that your flooring choice is compatible for glue down installations before following the steps above.
There are a few concrete sealer products on the market you can find via basic web search and also some glue down flooring adhesives with unlimited upper moisture limits that are suitable for these types of installations such as Bostik Single-Step. You can always test the moisture levels in your concrete using a calcium chloride test kit.
Cork underlayment is usually recommended because of it’s sound-muffling qualities, but we sell 3 in 1 underlayments that have higher STC and IIC sound ratings than cork (meaning better sound-muffling), so we normally recommend those when installing in the floating method. If you're gluing the floor down, you can use an adhesive that contains a sound barrier.
No. Our floors are already optimized for moisture content, and ready to be acclimated and installed almost anywhere in the world. Also, please not that due to the structurally dense nature of strand woven bamboo and eucalyptus, it is practically impossible to achieve accurate and consistent moisture readings outside of a controlled moisture chamber, even with a wide variety of moisture meters that exist on the market today, so we don't recommend testing the floor moisture before installation.
We do however require that testing be performed on the subfloor to ensure it's not emitting more than 12% humidity/moisture before, during, and after installation. Also, you will want to make sure the floors have been stored in a dry, covered area and have not been left out in freezing temperatures for more than 24 hours.
The installer/homeowner must also ensure to acclimate the floor** correctly prior to installation and maintain the humidity level between 35%-55% post-installation. Remember - if acclimating on top of concrete, a crawl space, or other moisture emitting surface you must first lay down a (minimum) 8 mil thick polyethylene tarp or vapor barrier under the acclimating boxes, with the apron of the vapor barrier extending out at least 18 inches from the opened boxes. (This is to prevent the flooring from absorbing moisture while acclimating).
**Not all of our floors require acclimation - check each floor's product detail page "Specifications" section where you will see an "Acclimation Period" row with required acclimation data.
We sell only prefinished floors but can special order unfinished flooring with a 3-4 month lead time and minimum order quantity of 5,000 sq ft. If you're interested in such an order feel free to reach out to our support team at (866) 710-7070.
Since we were one of the first few companies to pioneer strand bamboo flooring (in 2005), we have a long track record, and an unparalleled reputation for quality, which means that architects specify our floors on all types of projects around the world, including One&Only Resorts, national park projects such as Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida, and many others. Our products have also been featured in multiple television shows such as Renovation Nation, Rescue Renovation, and other HGTV and Discovery Channel shows.
Our bamboo floors have been installed in residential and commercial locations around the world since 2005. Here are just a few:
• Dry Tortugas National Park in south Florida (installed in 2013)
• University of Maryland's new dorms and their student union (installed in 2010)
• UnderArmour's headquarters in Baltimore, MD
• Every Elevation Burger restaurant location from 2006-2014 (approximately 40 locations) around the world including Bahrain, Kuwait, etc.
• Washington University in St. Louis (2011)
• Radford University's Economics Building (2010)
Countless restaurants, spas, commercial and residential installations around the U.S. feature Ambient's products, including international installations in places like France, Bahrain, Tanzania, Guam, Kuwait, Mexico, and many more.
For legal businesses that qualify as a trade account (must be in the building trades), or you plan to order more than $10,000 cumulatively in building materials in the future on multiple projects, we encourage you to apply for a trade account on our B2B page. Our wholesale discounts vary depending on sales volume and can range from 5% to 35% off our retail prices. We also offer container level pricing for large projects at extremely competitive prices, and can manufacture a large array of products not featured on our website such as custom thicknesses, lengths, widths, colors and surface treatments (minimum order quantities apply).
The short answer is – it depends on a lot of factors! There are many different concrete and cement products from various manufacturers on the market today. Because the components are going to differ from product to product, there is no set time frame. Although, the product manufacturer should have instructions that may list drying or curing times. Other big factors are the humidity levels, temperature, and whether or not you have fans blowing as those can all affect curing times.
The best way to determine if the subfloor is ready to be glued down to is to use to perform a calcium chloride test to ensure the vapor emission from the subfloor in question does not exceed the upper moisture limit of the adhesive you plan on using. Take for example our very own urethane adhesive with vapor barrier and sound retarder, which can be used on slabs with moisture emissions up to 20 lbs (per 1,000 square feet). That means if your calcium chloride test results come back under 20 lbs (per 1,000 square feet), then you are good to go! But let us say your test results came back at 6 lbs (per 1,000 square feet) but your adhesive is only rated for 3 lbs (per 1,000 square feet), then your floors are very likely to cup as the moisture in the slab exceeds the capabilities of the adhesive.
The fastest method to take up cured adhesive is to use grinding machines. A clean and less toxic one is a dustless diamond grinder. If you need to scrape glue out of a smaller space, Sentinel is a brand that makes some good non-toxic adhesive removers that will soften the adhesive to allow it to be scraped up easier.
Nailing and gluing a floor down won't cause damage or defects, but it's usually only recommended on extra-wide solid hardwoods (exceeding 6 inches in width). On planks that are less than 6 inches wide, doing both is superfluous - you only need to do one or the other. It's also important to never nail or staple through click-lock floors, as they are not intended to be nailed down.
It is possible! Here are the steps we recommend you follow to determine if we might have a matching color and dye lot:
1. Visit our bamboo flooring page to see what colors and styles we offer. If you see that one of our floors might be a suitable match, please check the "Specifications" section on the product's detail page to ensure its dimensions (length x width x thickness) match your floor.
2. If you think we have a color that might match - remember that we may have up to 10 different widely ranging dye lots in each color, thus requesting a sample from our website is useless as you may only see one lot shade (we don't send samples of multiple lot shades). Thus we recommend that you send us a sample of your floor so we can compare it to what we have in stock. We recommend sending at least a 4" sample of the floor you need to match to the address on our Contact Us page and write Attn: Sample Check at the top. Don't forget to include your contact information and how much square footage you need. Someone will check our stock for a match and contact you within 2 business days of receiving the sample.
Our industry-leading Accuseal Ultra® Finish System is so tough, we apply it to all of our floors and moldings, and it is backed up by an unbeatable lifetime warranty. This finish is a UV-cured acrylic urethane with aluminum oxide added in for additional durability; it is a proprietary process that endures scratches and abrasion better than almost any other floor on the market. These floors can last for decades without wearing through and needing to be being refinished (loss of luster may occur as with all floors in very high traffic areas and does not qualify as wear through).
Please note that it is always recommended to use Scotch Delicate Surfaces tape on wood floors and moldings, as other types of tape can peel away even the toughest hardwood floor finish!
Making cross-cuts and cuts down the length of floor planks can be tougher with traditional hardwoods, since the grain can prohibit a clean, even cut. However, you won't have this issue with strand woven bamboo floors and can easily cut the planks in any direction since the woven strips of bamboo that make up the floor planks are fused together during manufacture. Because of this, strand woven bamboo floors do not require a particular saw in order to be cut cleanly.
Typically, if the finished basement is climate controlled, you do not need a moisture barrier in between the subfloor and the new floor you are installing. However, some basements can emit excessive humidity – upwards of 70%. To be sure, we recommend testing the humidity with a hygrometer to get an accurate idea of the indoor air humidity, and you can also test the humidity on the main grade sub-floor itself.
If excessive moisture is coming up from the basement, you have a few options:
1) Glue down the floor using an adhesive with a vapor barrier.
2) Choose a click-lock floating floor and install on top of a 3 in 1 vapor barrier underlayment.
Both of these will seal off your floor and protect it from any sub-floor moisture.
Adhesive remover wipes are designed to clean up wet adhesive before it dries. Wet glue is much more difficult to remove with soap and water, but the wipes have a special compound that helps to break down the glue.
Once flooring adhesive dries it is impossible to remove and will irreparably damage your floor finish, as the topcoats will be stripped away when you remove the dried glue. Absolutely never use mineral spirits to remove any glue from our floors, as mineral spirits will damage uv-cured urethane finishes
If adhesive dries on your finish, we advise that you put some of the Adhesive Remover liquid on the spot, let it sit for 10 minutes and then use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. This can get in the pores of the finish and get most of the glue off, but please note that you may still damage the floor finish itself.
Cupping can happen for several reasons, but the #1 culprit is installer error or improper maintenance of environmental conditions onsite. Cupping is usually caused by elevated moisture content rising from the sub-floor and hitting the bottom of the flooring planks. Moisture affects the sides of the plank quicker than the center, causing them to swell and form the “cup” shape. There are many causes including improper flooring adhesive, incorrect trowel with the wrong spread rate, improper acclimation of the floor prior to installation, and many more. If you follow our installation and maintenance guides, you should not experience any of these issues.
Some cupping can be considered normal on wide planks, but if it is significant, there is usually an underlying issue. Important things to look out for:
1) The flooring was installed over a crawl space that wasn't properly sealed and the humidity is coming up through the subfloor and hitting the wood/bamboo floor.
2) The bamboo flooring was glued down to a concrete slab but the glue wasn't troweled down properly (either wrong trowel was used or there isn't full coverage on the slab) and there are gaps in the glue, so the moisture being released by the slab is hitting the bottom of the wood/bamboo floor. Different glues have different moisture barriers (3 lbs, 5 lbs, and 12 lbs are common) and you will need to use one with a high enough barrier for your subfloor.
3) The flooring wasn't acclimated properly so now the wood has adjusted and it's now it's drying out and changing shape.
4) Dry cupping: when a homeowner leaves the home and turns off the hvac, it can result in what is called the "Green House Effect" in summer time. Excessive heat and humidity followed by air conditioning will cause cupping.
Below are a few good links for further reading:
It is the responsibility of you or your installer to determine whether the glue brand you are using with our floors will suffice, and we do not require nor reject specific brands. You should be able to place a quick call to the glue manufacturer you are considering to determine whether it can be used in conjunction with hardwood and bamboo flooring.
Using a glue other than those we sell will not void your floor warranty per se, as our warranty covers our floors, not the tools or materials used to install them. If the floor fails later and the reason is that it was improperly installed or the glue failed, this should be covered by your installer's warranty or the warranty of the adhesive you purchased.
We strongly suggest only hiring installers that provide a 1-year warranty on their labor as most flooring problems arise within the first 6 months after installation, and the great majority of flooring issues are installation-related.
Gapping in hardwood floors is normal wood behavior and dry, cold days can cause this; in summer when the humidity increases and the planks swell, the gaps may or may not close up. This is normal and to be expected as wood is a hygroscopic material that expands and contracts to balance itself out with the humidity in its environment.
Check your humidity levels using a hygrometer and if your humidity is at or below 35% we recommend turning on a humidifier to remedy the solution. If gapping exists but humidity levels are between 40%-60% (recommended humidity range for hardwood and bamboo) it may be a result of improper acclimation or an uneven subfloor (where the planks are “sliding” down opposite sides of a mound due to repeated foot traffic), or the humidity was allowed to drop below 30% in which case the gaps may be permanent.
The National Wood Flooring Association recommends that you maintain a range of around 40%-60% humidity levels in your home if you have any wood floor installed. Want to know more? Here's another great article on how moisture affects hardwood flooring.
It grows fast, does it not? Unfortunately, some of the species of bamboo that have been planted in the U.S. are of the variety that have deep underground runners, and it is therefore very hard to control. While we would love to recycle that wood and make something new from it, unfortunately our manufacturing facilities are overseas, which means we would have to ship it across the water. This would negate any benefit derived from taking that bamboo off your hands. We recommend that you try to do something creative with it, like making picture frames, furniture, and other cool uses like making a bamboo bike!
Check out this page to see step by step instructions on how to refinish bamboo flooring, along with some helpful pictures of a past Ambient floor that was refinished.
No, you should never add any substance (glue, silicone, etc) in between the click-lock profile/mechanism. In fact, you'll want to ensure that the click-lock profile/,mechanism is clear and free of all debris prior to clicking the planks together or else you could compromise the stability of the connection.
Most designers and installers will lay the flooring longitudinally so that it is parallel to the longest run or wall in the installation. There are some exceptions, but this is a general rule of thumb.
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