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schraggyj 05-14-2011 10:26 PM

My Bamboo Flooring Experience
 
I installed roughly a 1000 square feet of 15mm (5/8 in) Bamboo flooring. I wanted to share with the community lessons I learned. Please keep in mind that I'm not a professional.

About the product: 15 mm Bamboo Aluminum Oxide finish purchased through a contractor who is a friend of mine. Moister barrier was roofing felt.

It was installed main floor. Subfloor consists on tongue and groove plywood and 2 x 10s 16 OC with cross bridging. The house is less than 7 years old and the sub-floor was pretty flat, i.e. nothing more than a 1/8 in difference in any 6 foot span (my biggest level).

I had two options for install--nail or glue. I elected to nail. I assumed that I could rent the flooring nailer and shoot the cleats. However, I learned that I needed a special flooring stapler. My local big boxes did not carry. I ended up buying it online. Check this out before you buy! You may have to open a package and read the manufacturer instructions. The gun is slower because you actually have to pull a trigger but it worked awesome. It never jammed.

Advice tip 1. Use the longest staples possible. Keep in mind I wasn't shooting into 100 year old oak, but I started out shooting the smallest staples in the manufacturer's range and I noticed that the boards would move just slightly when setting the next board in place. Longer staples eliminated that problem.

Advice tip 2. Sweep, vacuum, and then sweep and vacuum again. Clean subfloor=better install. If dirt finds its way into the groove of a board, it may not seat tight and cause problems in the future.

Advice tip 3. Follow the directions. The manufacturer isn't an idiot.

Advice tip 4. Install perpendicular to your floor joists. It will help strengthen your floor. Start on an outside wall. It should be your straightest.

Advice tip 5. Stop and measure, and then stop and measure again. I would routinely take measurements from the both the wall I started installing and the wall I was installing towards.

Advice tip 6. Find a friend. Having somebody run and make the cuts makes a world of difference in time.

Advice tip 7. This may depend on the hardness of your Bamboo (not all is created equal), but damn I went through saw blades. And use a fine tooth saw for your cuts. Those pre-finished boards like to chip (at least mine did). I bought a new DeWalt finish cut 12 inch miter blade after ruining the first few boards with an all purpose saw blade and then had I to buy another one.

Advice tip 8. Blind face nailing by hand sucks. Use a small hammer and pre-drill your holes. The second to last row the staple gun won't fit and you have to set and blind nail by hand. Pre-drill your holes, use the finish nails recommended (6d or 8d) and take your time. Since I was using beveled boards, any bad hammer swing could scuff the finish. This was easily the worst part of the install. I scrapped quite a few boards.

The staple gun I used was an 18 gauge flooring stapler. It is also known as an engineering flooring staple gun.

Good luck, have fun, and take your time.

rizzle 07-10-2011 12:48 AM

what brand bamboo did you go with?

ttr13r 07-30-2011 12:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schraggyj (Post 648054)
I installed roughly a 1000 square feet of 15mm (5/8 in) Bamboo flooring. I wanted to share with the community lessons I learned. Please keep in mind that I'm not a professional.

About the product: 15 mm Bamboo Aluminum Oxide finish purchased through a contractor who is a friend of mine. Moister barrier was roofing felt.

It was installed main floor. Subfloor consists on tongue and groove plywood and 2 x 10s 16 OC with cross bridging. The house is less than 7 years old and the sub-floor was pretty flat, i.e. nothing more than a 1/8 in difference in any 6 foot span (my biggest level).

I had two options for install--nail or glue. I elected to nail. I assumed that I could rent the flooring nailer and shoot the cleats. However, I learned that I needed a special flooring stapler. My local big boxes did not carry. I ended up buying it online. Check this out before you buy! You may have to open a package and read the manufacturer instructions. The gun is slower because you actually have to pull a trigger but it worked awesome. It never jammed.

Advice tip 1. Use the longest staples possible. Keep in mind I wasn't shooting into 100 year old oak, but I started out shooting the smallest staples in the manufacturer's range and I noticed that the boards would move just slightly when setting the next board in place. Longer staples eliminated that problem.

Advice tip 2. Sweep, vacuum, and then sweep and vacuum again. Clean subfloor=better install. If dirt finds its way into the groove of a board, it may not seat tight and cause problems in the future.

Advice tip 3. Follow the directions. The manufacturer isn't an idiot.

Advice tip 4. Install perpendicular to your floor joists. It will help strengthen your floor. Start on an outside wall. It should be your straightest.

Advice tip 5. Stop and measure, and then stop and measure again. I would routinely take measurements from the both the wall I started installing and the wall I was installing towards.

Advice tip 6. Find a friend. Having somebody run and make the cuts makes a world of difference in time.

Advice tip 7. This may depend on the hardness of your Bamboo (not all is created equal), but damn I went through saw blades. And use a fine tooth saw for your cuts. Those pre-finished boards like to chip (at least mine did). I bought a new DeWalt finish cut 12 inch miter blade after ruining the first few boards with an all purpose saw blade and then had I to buy another one.

Advice tip 8. Blind face nailing by hand sucks. Use a small hammer and pre-drill your holes. The second to last row the staple gun won't fit and you have to set and blind nail by hand. Pre-drill your holes, use the finish nails recommended (6d or 8d) and take your time. Since I was using beveled boards, any bad hammer swing could scuff the finish. This was easily the worst part of the install. I scrapped quite a few boards.

The staple gun I used was an 18 gauge flooring stapler. It is also known as an engineering flooring staple gun.

Good luck, have fun, and take your time.

Good advice here. I have a question for you. Is the bamboo you installed a click/floating or the solid? How did you get the idea to use the felt roofing? And will using that void the manufacturers warranty? Thanks. I want to add, bamboo comes in a vertical or horizontal. The vertical is much harder than the horizontal, some even have the aluminum oxide layer to protect from scratches, which is probably why you had a hard time cutting it and going through so many blades. But your tips are helpful, so again, thanks!

schraggyj 08-21-2011 05:24 PM

It was tongue and groove staple or nail down solid bamboo. Not an engineered "click together" bamboo.


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