In recent years, bamboo flooring has become a green alternative to hardwood because bamboo has the ability to regenerate in far less time. Consider bamboo, a tall grass and not an actual hardwood, takes three to five years to renew itself as opposed to hardwood trees which can take as long as 30 years to regenerate. The grain and coloring of bamboo also make it an interesting visual element in any interior space.
There are three common methods to installing your bamboo floor: naildown, floating, or gluedown.
Nailing down a bamboo floor to a wood subfloor is the traditional method of installation. Nails, or sometimes staples, are driven in at a specific angle through the tongue and are then hidden by the next plank laid. Because the nails and staples are hidden, this method is sometimes also called “blind or secret nailing.”
A floating floor is actually attached only to itself and not to the subfloor underneath, making it a suitable option to go over any subfloor no matter if it’s wood, concrete, or even tile and vinyl. A floating floor is also fairly simple to install making it a method many DIYers and weekend renovation warriors choose.
This method involves gluing the actual bamboo planks to the subfloor, and that subfloor can either be concrete or plywood. Although it can be messier than nailing down or floating, this method is usually the best option for installation because it provides the strongest bond, and the adhesive acts as a sounds barrier as well as prevents irritating squeaking noises associated with the naildown or floating methods of installation.
When choosing this installation method you should wear long sleeves and gloves to avoid having your skin make contact with the adhesive.
There are two gluedown methods:
This method involves the adhesive being allowed to “flash” for the recommended amount of time before installing the bamboo planks. Using this method requires you trowel out large portions of the room so you can then spend most of the time laying the planks down. It’s important to not exceed the flash time recommendations and do not trowel more floor area than you can realistically cover within a 2 hour window.
Wet Lay Method
This method involves applying the adhesive to the substrate with a trowel and then immediately placing the flooring planks onto the “wet” adhesive. The installer should not spread any more adhesive than can be worked on within a forty-minute time period. Should adhesive come in contact with the face of the bamboo plank, wipe it off immediately. To prevent slippage, use blue painters tape perpendicularly along the lengths of the planks. This tape can be removed once the adhesive has set.
Keep in mind, whichever method you use, once the floor is glued down it will be difficult to get back up.
Bamboo Flooring Adhesives
When using the gluedown method select a premium wood floor adhesive, preferably one that is urethane based and not water based. Ideally you should use an adhesive that contains 0% water. You should always check with the manufacturer for warranty information as well as installation instructions and guidelines for safe use and storage recommendations.
Ambient offers both adhesives and moisture barriers specifically manufactured to be used with bamboo floors. Our adhesive is a LEED-compliant, Zero VOC, one-part, trowel-applied urethane adhesive that’s easy to spread, and cleans up fast with Bostik Adhesive Remover Towels. It contains no water, and emits very low odor. Once cured, it is waterproof, elastomeric and provides a tough flexible, tenacious bond to a variety of surfaces.