Bamboo Floor F.A.Q. - Installation

Common questions related to bamboo floor installation

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 this article: 7 Tips For Choosing A Floor Installer

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.  You'll want to make sure to only use 18 gauge cleats; using the wrong cleat thickness may result in dimpling or goosebumps in your strand bamboo floor.  Make sure to choose L cleats as staples will typically fail on thicker 9/16" thick floors (but may be suitable for some 3/8" thick products depending on the strength of your nailer).  We recommend using a Primatech Q550 Nailer or a Powernail 50P Flex Nailer 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-around (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.
Due to the density of strand woven flooring, we recommend only using a high PSI, high quality pneumatic nailer, such as the Powernail 50P Flex or the Primatech Q550.  These nail guns require an air compressor.  You must use an 18 gage cleat, as larger cleats will cause dimpling.  Staple guns will not work on strand woven floors. 

For moldings installation you may need to use a Bostich Porter 23 gage micro nailer or similar gun. 

For all guns, make sure cleats and nails are set properly before continuing to the next row, 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.
Our bamboo floors must be acclimated for a period of 72 hours prior to installation, and we recommend an additional 7 dayss 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 6mm polyethelyne 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 barrer at least 18 inches beyond the flooring boxes.

First, stack the boxes up to 5 high, with each stack located at least 3 feet away from the next.  Cross-stacking is preferable if you have the 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. 

Ensure that the flooring is acclimated in an environment (temperature + humidity) that will closely match the environment in which the floor will used 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.

We recommend ordering 10% extra for cutting and waste.  If you have one or two large rooms that are square, and you are careful making cuts, you can probably get away with 7%.  

Also keep in mind that bamboo/hardwood floors come in unique 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.

 

You should follow two basic rules when choosing a wood flooring adhesive:

1) If you're gluing the floor down to plywood or any other approved substrate, you'll want to use a zero VOC 100% urethane trowel-down adhesive approved for wood flooring installation.  When installing over plywood you don’t need glue that contains a moisture barrier unless there is a crawl space, garage or other moist environment underneath.  If this is the case make sure to follow our installation instructions which provide a complete set of floor prep guidelines.

2) If you're gluing the floor down to concrete or any other sub-floor that may be emitting moisture, most of these cases will require an adhesive that contains a moisture barrier.  These adhesives are slightly more expensive than basic adhesives but well-worth the investment. We sell a great zero VOC adhesive with moisture barrier  that works not only for bamboo but for all types of wood floors and even some tile, and it comes with the bonus of also having a sound barrier, so many of our clients use it on their upstairs floors to keep noise levels down.  Important: always make sure to use the 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. 

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 glue with moisture barrier mentioned above protects your floor up to 15 pounds of moisture per square foot which is very high and usually more than enough for all jobs.  There are also unlimited vapor barrier glues on the market but they are very expensive and typically only used for "wet" slabs. 
Most designers and installers will lay the flooring lengthwise 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.

As to the direction of the flooring planks in relation to the joists below the sub-floor, 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 on 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 6mm 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 polyethelene 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 6mm 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 

You have two options over a concrete slab.  One is to glue down any of our tongue and groove flooring, just ensure to use an adhesive that contains a moisture barrier (such as our All-In-One Adhesive with Vapor/Sound Barrier), along with the correct V-Notch ¼in trowel.  Option two is to float any of our click-lock engineered floors over a 3 in 1 underlayment (which contains a vapor barrier).
You can glue down or nail down solid floors to a plywood subfloor.  You can also float engineered floors over plywood.  If you want sound insulation, use the glue down method and an adhesive that has a sound barrier in it.  If you want sound control and you are floating the floor, choose a high quality 3 in 1 underlayment with the highest STC/IIC rating you can find.
You can glue down or float over tile.  If gluing down you may need to scrape the tile first so that the glue will bond to it.  Our list of acceptable subfloor types is in our installation instructions:  Click here to download the instructions.
For nail down installations we recommend that you use either 15 lb felt paper (asphalt saturated roofing paper, essentially) or red rosin paper.   The 3 in 1 foam underlayments are only recommended for floating click lock floors.
Absolutely, however you will need to order 15% extra for cutting and waste instead of the usual 10% extra.

On a floor that is nailed down or glued down we recommend that you do not place furniture that exceeds 2,000 lbs or the maximum load your joists will hold, of which it is the installer's responsibility to determine.


However with floating floors there are a few exceptions as to what you can set on them.  A piano is fine.  A piece of furniture with legs, or with just a few points of contact with the floor, is fine.  For pieces of furniture without legs - is the piece of furniture flat across the bottom, and how long is it in comparison to the run of flooring it will sit on?  The reason we ask is, in a floating installation you want to avoid "pinning" a long row of successive flooring 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 expand and contract during seasonal cycles, and pinning the planks down will inhibit this movement and may cause gaps to form between the planks.  This is why, for example, we don't recommend installation of floating flooring under kitchen cabinets.  If the bottom of the furniture 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.  Otherwise you'll be fine.

 

Our solid (wood all the way through) floors can be put under cabinets if they are being nailed down or glued down.  Floating floors of any kind should not be installed under cabinets.  This is because you do not want to pin down an entire side of a room of floating floors as it will inhibit their ability to expand and contract naturally. 

If your existing 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).  In case of either option, we highly recommend that you seek the assistance of an experienced flooring professional.
Mainly, you must ensure that the sub-floor is level, dry, and free of debris.  As for approved subfloor types, please ensure to check our installation instructions for a helpful list.

Properly manufactured bamboo and eucalyptus floors (like ours!) are 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:

a. Acclimate your flooring for at least 10-14 days prior to installation (instead of the normal 72 hours) in the environment in which they are going to be lived on.  Ensure all boxes are opened properly so that the planks can breathe.

b.  Glue the flooring down.  The elasticity in the glue allows the floors to breathe easily through humidity changes.

c. Make sure to leave ¼ - ½ inch of expansion gap around your flooring perimeter at the time of installation.

d. Try to keep your interior humidity setting consistently in the same 20% range year round (opening windows for a day won't hurt the floors), even via the use of humidifiers/dehumidifiers if necessary.  If you allow big humidity swings, larger gaps may develop between your planks during dry spells and they'll close during wet spells.

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.

Although many of our clients have installed our floors over radiant heat over the yeasr, we don't provide a warranty for such installations.  The reason is because there are many different types of radiant heat systems on the market,and some can be more difficult to control than others, resulting in extreme temperatures and damage to wood floors.

If you do choose to install our floors over radiant heat we recommend you read the National Wood Flooring Association's protocols for installing hardwoods over radiant heat subsystems, and follow the guidelines below.

PRIOR TO INSTALLATION – RADIANT HEAT SUBFLOORS
     -6 days prior to installation, the temperature of the radiant heat system should be set close to or at its maximum temperature and kept hot for 72 hours. This is very important because it allows enough time for any remaining moisture to evaporate from the system, attaining its final moisture content.
     -At least 72 hours before installation, the heating system must be reduced to a suitable temperature of at least 65° Fahrenheit. If the temperature of the surface slab is below 65° Fahrenheit, the adhesive bond will be affected when the floor is installed by glue-down method.

 DURING INSTALLATION
     -Make sure to leave 1/4" - 1/2" of expansion space between the flooring and the walls.
     -The temperature of slab should always be maintained at a minimum of 65° Fahrenheit.
     -A stove or any other item that can affect the temperature of the ground should not be used at the job site.
     -The flooring must be acclimated over the radiant heat with the system turned on. The same acclimation preparation must be followed as always, including cutting the boxes open and stacking them as prescribed in the Acclimation section of this document.
     -If the radiant heat system is encased in concrete or another substrate that releases moisture, a 6mm polyethelene barrier must be placed between the flooring boxes and the substrate so that the flooring does not absorb moisture during acclimation

 AFTER INSTALLATION / MAINTENANCE
     -During the first three days after installation, the concrete slab temperature should be maintained at a minimum of 65° Fahrenheit. After that, the temperature can be set warmer, by 1.5° Fahrenheit each day, with a maximum temperature of 85° Fahrenheit.
     -The temperature of the sub-floor must never exceed 85° Fahrenheit and the radiant heat system liquid must not reach more than 112° Fahrenheit during the life of your floor.
     -The radiant heat system cannot fluctuate in temperature rapidly. Room temperature should vary no more than +/-7 degrees Fahrenheit year round.
     -Slight changing of color is expected for hardwood flooring installed over a radiant heating systems

 

 

Some adhesives will fail spectacularly if you use the incorrect trowel size and design, so using the correct trowel(s) is a must.  We currently sell two types:  1/4" x 1/8” Square notch for our basic adhesive and 1/4" x 1/4" V-Notch for our vapor and sound barrier adhesive. The V-Notch is designed to give 100% coverage of adhesive so you have a complete layer/seal on the slab.  Don’t skimp when you’re troweling down vapor barrier glue!

The Square notch trowel does not give full coverage but puts down enough glue for 85% coverage, enough to hold down the floor on plywood or places where sound and moisture barriers are not needed.  Square notch trowels typically yield about 140 feet per pail and V notch trowels typically yield about 125 feet per pail.

 

Strand woven floors (regardless of whether they are bamboo, eucalyptus, or another species) are much more dense than traditional hardwoods.  This means that your usual staple and nail guns may not work.  We recommend that you use a pneumatic nailer that has high PSI capacity, such as Primatech Q550 (we highly recommend this nailer) or Powernail 50P Flex.  You will want to ensure that the air compressor and hose attachment are in good operating condition and have no leaks.  Then, most importantly, you will want to make sure to use 18 gage cleats, as thicker cleats will result in goosebumps/dimpling.  For some moldings you will need to use a micro pin nailer and 23 gage nails, such as a Bostich Porter Cable tool.

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 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 cure time.
A lot of our homeowners with hardwood flooring install humidity modulators into their HVAC systems which serve as whole home humidity control ($300-$1000 depending on the size of your home).  Not only is stable humidity required for your hardwood and bamboo floors, it's also healthier for you.  If you live in an area that’s prone to result in an indoor humidity under 35% or over 55% at any time during the year, we suggest buying a hygrometer ($10-$15 at a local big box store or on Amazon) to keep track of the humidity, and using a whole home system, or portable humidifier or dehumidifier to properly control your indoor humidity levels. 
Nope!  This is a big advantage to gluing down or nailing down a floor.  There are no run limits when you nail down or glue down a floor.  The only time we suggest run limits is when you’re floating a floor and you don’t have stable interior humidity.  Check out our guide to nailing down bamboo flooring, it's worth a read!

Our flooring has been used in all environments but it is only warranted for indoor use and when installed according to our bamboo flooring installatin guidelines which can be found as a downloadable pdf on this page: https://www.ambientbp.com/bamboo-flooring-installation.php

We recommend leaving at least 8 inches between the ends of planks in adjoining rows.  This means that no starter row plank should be cut to less than 8 inches in length.
In general we do not recommend installing our bamboo or eucalyptus floors in a room that is not climate controlled.  Otherwise, as long as the humidity inside that room is stable, and maintained between 40%-60%, you can install the floors there.  

Most prefinished wood floors are packaged shortly after coming off the finish line, and what you smell is actually slight off-gassing from the polyurethane finish; however there is no need for worry.  These are not harmful emissions and within 2-4 days the odor will disappear.   If you don’t like the smell we suggest that you open a few windows to air the room out. 

The U.S. Green Building Council actually ranks varnish and lacquer as two of the worst offenders in terms of VOC off-gassing, so your wood furniture may be emitting more than your wood floors.  Federal laws call for varnishes to include less than 450 grams of VOCs per liter, and they require less then 350 grams per liter for lacquers.  

All of our products meet the CARB Phase 2 indoor air standard and we test them on a yearly basis, at random, using a third party U.S. laboratory.  You can see all of our test results here:  https://www.ambientbp.com/urea-formaldehyde-free-bamboo-flooring.php

 

We recommend that you only use 18 gauge cleats.  If you use 16 gauge cleats they are likely to cause dimpling on your floors, as described in this article: https://www.ambientbp.com/pdf/avoiddimpling.pdf 

Furthermore, they may cause cracks and splits in the tongue that will cause further issues down the road. 

Bamboo and hardwood 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 okay:

  • Install the bamboo flooring at least 2 feet away from the stove by putting in an apron of brick/stone/similar around the stove.
  • Acclimate the bamboo 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).
  •  

    No, asphalt saturated felt paper is NOT a moisture barrier.  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 on the market, you will need to seal the moisture concern somewhere below the subfloor, or you will need to glue the floor down with a vapor lock adhesive.

    Vapor barrier underlayments are not used under nailed down floors because once you nail through them they’re no longer a vapor barrier.  3 in 1 underlayments are used under floating floors only (they’re not used under nail downs because the compression of the foam results in loosening of the cleats over time).  

    Usually in a finished basement the humidity doesn't affect the hardwoods on the main level above it, unless the basement is excessively wet due to a high water table, uncovered ground layer, or similar problem.   

    That being said, if there is any concern about a basement having excessive humidity, we recommend putting a portable dehumidifier right in the basement.  Different humidifiers will condition different sized spaces so make sure you buy one that's big enough for your entire basement.  We've also heard of folks taping 6mm or thicker polyethelene sheeting (tarp) to the ceiling of the basement but that can get tricky.

    In cases where the basement humidity is slightly elevated we've also heard of installers laying down two layers of 15 lb felt paper under the flooring first (on top of the subfloor), with the second layer of 15 lb felt being laid in a perpendicular fashion to the first, to help "wick away" moisture from the floors.  Please note however that the 15 lb felt paper is definitely not considered a vapor barrier, it just helps wick away some moisture.

    Yes, you can store flooring boxes in a covered area outside of the home under the following conditions:

  •  -The boxes are protected from the elements - moisture, rain and snow.
  •  -The boxes are not open or cut.
  •  -The temperature does not drop below freezing.
  • - The boxes are sitting on a pallet or other substrate that keeps them at least 5 inches off of the floor.
  •  

    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.

    All types of engineered bamboo flooring can be installed below grade, but it is not recommend that solid hardwood or bamboo flooring be installed below grade.  We also recommend the use of a quality 3 in 1 underlayment to serve as a moisture barrier and for footfall noise reduction.

     

    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 8mm 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.

    Strand woven bamboo is the most dense hardwood flooring material in the market and will wear down standard saw blades pretty quickly.  For this reason we recommend a minimum 40 TPI tungsten carbide saw blade, but should you want a cleaner cut you can use a blade with even more teeth.  Diablo is a brand that sells such a blade (check your local big box store or online). For cleaning up bamboo plywood cuts, you should be able to sand off saw marks using a few stages of different 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 install. It is prudent for this sort of prep to be done by a licensed asbestos abatement professional.  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.  

    We do not recommend installers. However, you have several options available to you to locate a good installer:

  • Ask friends and family. Someone you know has had wood flooring installed within the last 5 years. Ask neighbors, friends, family and coworkers if they were happy with their wood floor installer and if so get their name. Contractors appreciate word-of-mouth referrals and some may even offer a "neighborhood" discount. Yelp is also a good way to find installers; look for those with a minimum of 3-5 reviews.
  • Do your homework. If a contractor disparages a certain product and tries to convince you to buy one of their own floors, be wary. Sometimes this is done because of a bad experience with a low quality brand in the past, and other times they're trying to earn an extra commission from a product distributor.
  • Get at least 3 estimates. Most installers will give you a free estimate over the phone or charge a small fee (from $20-$50) to do an in-home estimate. Try to cover all bases and ask as many questions as possible to get a good sense of their experience and knowledge.
  • Pay a fair wage. Doing price comparisons is vital for you as a consumer. The vast majority of floor installers are honest, hard-working men and women that charge a fair wage and are working to support their families. If they go above and beyond it doesn't hurt to give them a tip at the end of the project.
  • Request a warranty. The best installers are confident in their installation skills and will offer a warranty to back up their workmanship.
  • Plan ahead. You'll want to assume that most installers are booked up with jobs for the ensuing 2-3 weeks, so the earlier you start getting estimates the better off you'll be. Also remember that all hardwood and bamboo floors require a few days to be shipped, another 2-8 days in transit, and at least a 3 day acclimation period, so you'll need to factor that into your plans as well.
  • The adhesives that we sell are moisture-cured urethane adhesives.  These types of adhesives cure (dry) faster when the humidity levels are higher. This is why adhesives usually come with a tack time and a cure time in relation to temperature and humidity. Thus, the same pail opened in Florida may dry in 12 hours where it may take 16 hours in Colorado. We recommend allowing the adhesive to cure at least 12-15 hours before walking on it, and 24 hours before moving heavy furniture back into place.

    If you have a humidity modulator in your home that will successfully and constantly keep your indoor humidity at a level of 40%-60%, you do not have any run limits on your floating wood floor.  This humidity range can also be achieved via the use of a portable humidifer or dehumidifier.  Also, some areas in the Southern United States have relatively stable humidity year around (like Southern California or Florida) so this usually isn't an issue in those areas. 

    However, if you live in an area with distinct seasons and wide variance in humidity and you don't have a way to control your humidity, you'll need to be careful with your run limits.  We recommend reading our flooring installation guidelines in all cases.

    There are a few adhesives on the market that may have unlimited upper moisture limits that are suitable for these types of installations such as Bostik Single-Step.  We recommend you reach out to the manufacturer first to ask them which of their glues is suitable for your specific installation.
    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 (meaning better sound muffling) than cork, so we normally recommend those.  If you're gluing the floor down you can also use an adhesive that contains a sound barrier.

    Due to the nature of strand woven bamboo and eucalyptus it is difficult to achieve accurate moisture readings from the variety of moisture meters that exist on the market today, so we don't require testing the flooring before the installation. You will however 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 then 24 hours.

    Our floors are already optimized for moisture content to be acclimated and installed almost anywhere in the world.  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. 

    The installer/homeowner must also ensure that they acclimate and maintain the flooring in conditions between 35%-55% and not over concrete, crawl spaces or other subfloors that emit excessive moisture (so the flooring planks don't absorb it while acclimating).

    Please note that to acclimate flooring on to of concrete or a un unsealed crawl space you must first lay down a (minimum) 8mm polyethelene tarp or similar vapor barrier under the acclimating boxes, with the apron of the vapor barrier extending out at least 18 inches from the opened boxes.

    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, the company Sentinel makes some good non-toxic adhesive removers that will soften the adhesive to allow it to be scraped up easier.
    On wide plank solid floors that exceed 6 inches in width this is recommended.  On planks that are less than 6 inches wide, doing both is superfluous - you only need to do one or the other. 
    Most glues average around 2mm in thickness once cured, however the exact level can be more depending on the glue spread rate (note: it should not be less than 2mm). 
    *Usually* if the finished basement is climate controlled you don't need a moisture barrier over it, however some basements can emit excessive humidity so we recommend testing them with a hygrometer to ensure they aren't in excess of 70% humidity.  If you're worried about slightly elevated humidity levels in the basement you can use a vapor barrier adhesive to glue your floor down, and if nailing down you can lay 2 layers of 15 lb or 30 lb felt paper, in a perpendicular fashion to each other, and ensure not to overlap the sides to avoid creating unlevel surfaces.

    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 dump 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 there is no guarantee that you may still damage the floor finish itself.

     

    We do not recommend this method and our warranty will not cover any installation issues that arise from such installations, however installers report to us that they have performed this many times successfully in the past.

    Cupping can happen for a number of reasons but the #1 cuprit 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.  This can be due to improper glue being used, the wrong trowel being used, improper glue spread rate, improper acclimation of the floor prior to installation, and many more.  As long as you follow our installation guide, you should not experience any of these issues.


    Some cupping can be considered normal on wide planks, but if it's extreme then usually when there's a sub-floor moisture issue. The most common culprits are the following:


    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.


    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. Results in "Green House Effect" in summer time, with excessive heat and humidity followed by air conditioning causing 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 recommend 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 because it was improperly installed or the glue failed, this should be covered by the labor warranty or glue warranty.  

    We strongly suggest only hiring an installers that provide a 1 year warranty on their labor as most flooring issues arise within the first 10 months after installation.

    Gapping in hardwood floors is normal wood behavior and dry, cold days typically result in slight gapping in hardwood floors (including bamboo); in summer 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 and turn on a humidifier to remedy the solution.  If 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).

    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. Here is some further reading you can do on the topic:

    https://flooring-professionals.com/flooring-resources/how-moisture-affects-hardwood-flooring/

    http://www.rogershardwoodfloors.com/NOFMA-GapsBetweenStripsinWoodFloor.pdf

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