As more and more consumers focus on being environmentally responsible, they discover the beauty, durability and affordability of bamboo flooring. Although bamboo can be a terrific choice for any home or commercial space, like other “wood” flooring (bamboo is actually a grass), there are some things to take into consideration when installing it in your home or office.
The following guidelines will help you know what to expect as far as bamboo flooring expansion.
Bamboo Expands Along its Length as well as Width
Unless you work with installers who specialize in bamboo flooring, they may only allow for expansion at the sides of the boards. Though this is fine for hardwood planks, bamboo actually expands and contracts along its length as well. NOTE: Strand-woven bamboo tends to contract most similarly to solid wood flooring, and horizontal solid bamboo will contract more than vertical bamboo.
“MC” stands for moisture content. The manufacturer and your installer will both, most likely, check the moisture content of your planks. Your installer should make sure the meter they use has the proper calibration for bamboo. And, if they are using a pin meter, they should be sure the prongs don’t cross the glue line when they poke into the floor. Doing so will produce a faulty reading.
When you are shopping for bamboo, make sure to look for a product that is kiln dried and meets the typical American standards: within 8% – 12% moisture content. Many products coming from outside of the US have a MC of up to 18%.
Control Moisture During Installation
Whether you are installing the floors yourself or hiring professionals, you must be sure the project site’s conditions are conducive to your bamboo boards.
For starters, your bamboo flooring should never be delivered to the job site until the building has been finished and enclosed with doors and windows. All wet work, such as plastering and cement, should be completed. Also, it is important that the room temperature is consistent.
Make sure the subfloors are dry and the humidity in the room is controlled prior to installation.
Acclimate Your Bamboo Planks
Many DIYers either forget this step, or refuse to believe it’s necessary. But trust us, it is very necessary. Most Strand-woven bamboo should be acclimated for a minimum of 72 hours, with the boxes and interior plastic cut wide open, in the environment in which it’s going to be installed, and not directly on top of concrete or carpet with concrete underneath. Always check with manufacturer’s recommendations.
Bamboo is a great flooring choice for those home and business owners who love the look of traditional wood floors, but require something more eco-friendly as well as budget-friendly. If installed and maintained properly, bamboo floors will look beautiful for many years to come.