In recent years, bamboo flooring has become widely popular because it is one of the most environmentally friendly materials available. Unlike hardwoods, which take up to 30 years to regenerate, bamboo takes just weeks to regenerate after it’s been harvested.
Besides its eco-friendly factor, bamboo flooring installation is also very easy and versatile, and can be laid on top of pretty much any subflooring, including concrete slabs, provided measures have been taken to prevent moisture damage.
In this article we will cover the two main methods for installing bamboo flooring over concrete so you can have beautiful floors in your home for years to come. We recommend you always follow the most up to date installation instructions whenever possible.
Check Your Concrete’s Moisture Levels
It should be noted, with either method you will want to conduct a calcium chloride moisture test to evaluate how wet or dry your concrete flooring is. The concrete is considered dry when the test results are less than or equal to 3 lbs. Bamboo should not be installed on top of concrete with moisture levels over 3 lbs. per 1,000 feet.
Before installing the bamboo, be sure to fill any holes or cracks in the concrete slab with a concrete leveling compound applied with a trowel. Once this compound is completely dry, sweep your floor well to remove any remaining dirt and debris.
The glue-down method should be used with planks made of solid bamboo. Make sure you are using an adhesive that contains a moisture barrier in it, and the trowel require for that adhesive. In this method, you will adhere the bamboo flooring directly to the concrete slab. Moisture control will come from the adhesive you use which acts as a sound reducer to boot.
Trowel the adhesive directly onto the concrete floor (have a bucket of water and sponge handy as it can get messy) working in sections and lay the bamboo planks directly on top. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions as far as dry time and when the floor can be walked on.
The second method is the floating method and should be used on engineered bamboo flooring. This type of flooring clicks together like a puzzle and is quite easy to install. Unlike the glue-down method, this installation requires you lay down a moisture barrier first, then install the floating floors directly on top. Note that using solid bamboo locking flooring will limit your runs of flooring to 15 feet at which point you’ll have to install a t-molding – but if you use engineered bamboo flooring your runs can extend up to 25 feet.
Pros and Cons of Each Installation Method
The glue-down method is quite a bit messier, but the elasticity in the glue allows the flooring planks to expand and contract naturally.
The floating floor method is very easy for DIYers to do themselves and is not messy, but there are limits to the “run” of flooring you can have, with solid click lock options the limit is 15 feet and with engineered click lock options the limit is 25 feet.
No matter which method you choose, bamboo flooring is a beautiful and green option that looks great and is easy to maintain.