Nail vs Glue vs Float a Bamboo Floor: Which is Best?

Since bamboo flooring is growing so rapidly in popularity, we thought it would be a good idea to let you know that there’s more than one way to install it in your home. Just as there are different ways to cook a good steak — broiling, pan-frying or grilling — there are also different ways to install a beautiful bamboo floor, and as with our steak-cooking example, each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Man laying a new laminated woodden floor. Wood is white stained bamboo.


This is the traditional method of installing hardwood or bamboo flooring and it’s also the most economical method you can choose. The catch is that over a period of several years, the nails can loosen due to natural seasonal expansion and contraction from fluctuating humidity levels and result in a “squeaky” floor. It’s also a good idea to use L cleats rather than staples when nailing down strand woven bamboo due to it’s hardness.

nail down installation bamboo flooring

Using an 18 Gauge Pneumatic Nailer (blind nailing)

Before installation you’ll need an underlayment of 15 lb. felt paper or a similar material (like red rosin paper). These underlayments help reduce wood-on-wood squeaking. A strand bamboo floor should be nailed using 18 guage cleats exclusively. This is an important detail because using the wrong cleat thickness could result in dimpling or “goosebumps” in the floor. We recommend using a Primatech Q550 or a Powernail 50P Flex Nailer for all strand bamboo nail-down installations.



L Cleat Blind Nail Side View


nail cleat view installation

Top View Showing Properly Set Cleat


While a glue-down installation is the most expensive and labor-intensive of the three options, it’s also considered the most stable method of installation. That’s because of the elastic quality of glue, which allows the floor to expand and contract naturally with the seasons. Glue also provides sound and moisture insulation as an added benefit, especially if you use an all-in-one wood flooring glue with moisture and vapor protection.

glue down installation bamboo flooring

Troweling out the glue before laying the planks

Depending on the type of sub floor you have you may be able to use a basic wood flooring glue, for example if your sub-floor is plywood. On the other hand, if you’re planning to glue your floor to concrete, as in a basement renovation for example, you’ll need to use an all-in-one glue that contains a vapor barrier, to seal the concrete.

Just as it’s important to use the right nails and nail gun for the nail-down method of installation, it’s also very important to use the correct trowel in tandem with the correct glue. Why is this important? Use the wrong size trowel and you won’t get the correct spread rate — which could result in cupping floors later!


How To Glue Down A Bamboo Floor from Ambient Bamboo on Vimeo.


The main advantage to a “click-lock” floating floor is ease of installation and a shorter installation time in general. A floating floor is also easier to repair in the event of a leak or another problem that causes damage to a section of the floor. Besides the “click-lock” type, a tongue and groove floor can also be floated, but they’re more time-consuming because you’ll have to apply a bead of glue along the inside bottom groove along the entire length of each plank as you go. But before you jump on the floating floor bandwagon, you need to be aware that there is one serious restriction that applies strictly to floating floors, and it has to do with humidity levels in your home. Unless your home has stable indoor humidity year-round, meaning that it stays within a 30% range throughout the year, you’ll be limited in the length of continuous runs of flooring you can lay, both in terms of length and width. (These are known as tangential and longitudinal run lengths.)

  • For an engineered floor, you’ll be limited to an area no more than 25 feet wide and 45 feet long.
  • For a solid floor, the limits are 15 feet wide and 25 feet long.

For a floating installation, you should use a 3-in-1 underlayment for best results.


click lock flooring design

Click Lock Profile – Snap Together



floating installation bamboo flooring

Click Lock Floor Over 3 in 1 Underlayment



Bamboo Hardwood Flooring: Eco-friendly, Beautiful and Affordable

Eco-friendly bamboo flooring is rapidly becoming the choice of those who love the look of a wood floor, but don’t like the fact that they’re using wood from trees that take decades to replenish. Bamboo’s natural beauty not only rivals the look of hardwood, it’s also a more sustainable, earth-friendly option since bamboo is a rapidly growing grass that is easy to replenish. But that’s not the only reason for bamboo flooring’s growing popularity. Its strand-woven manufacturing process also makes it rock-hard and durable, a definite plus in an active family home! That means it will need refinishing far less — if ever! — than a typical hardwood floor will. Bamboo floors are also available in many stylish up-to-the minute finishes and colors, so what’s not to like?!!

If one of the things that appeals to you about bamboo flooring is its eco-friendly qualities, you’ll be thrilled with an Ambient bamboo floor, because Ambient takes sustainability and non-toxicity to a whole new level with its flooring, glues and finishes. Ambient is FloorScore┬« Certified, which means you don’t have to worry about dangerous off-gassing or toxic chemicals. FloorScore┬« is recognized by more than 19 leading environmental programs and the FloorScore┬« seal is your guarantee that a product has been independently tested and scored by SCS Global Services. Plus, all of our adhesives are zero-voc, and our finishes are either ultra low or zero-voc as well, so your indoor air quality won’t be compromised when you install an Ambient bamboo floor!

All Ambient floors are Lacey Act Compliant, which is your assurance that they’re legally sourced with minimal damage to the environment.

Add in the one-stop shopping ease of Ambient, our great prices, great reviews (Angie’s List, Better Business Bureau A+ rating, Best of Houzz, and more), and you’ve found the best place in the world to buy your bamboo flooring!

Categories: Flooring

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