Bamboo plank flooring is an excellent choice for a hardwood floor. Although technically a member of the ‘Grass’ family, for flooring purposes it is seen as a woody perennial evergreen plant. Bamboo flooring comes in two options; engineered laminated strips or actual planks of Bamboo.
Bamboo plank flooring is one of the most environmentally friendly hardwood floorings you can work with. Being a grass, the Giant Bamboo grows rapidly and is ready for harvesting within a few years, unlike other hardwoods that take more than fifty years to regenerate. Also, did you know – Bamboo symbolizes longevity and friendship?
Quality of Bamboo Floor Planks
Ideally Bamboo flooring planks will have been harvested between August and the winter time, when resin and water levels in the ‘wood’ are at their optimum conditions. Bamboo harvested earlier in the summer will be prone to cracking and splitting. Also, of course, the conditions the Bamboo is stored under will affect the hardness and quality of the Bamboo planks. You should make sure that during the manufacturing stage the Bamboo planks have been treated to make them ant and termite resistant as well as fire retardant.
Bamboo floor planks are invariably manufactured to fit together in the ‘tongue-and-groove’ method. Dependant on the supplier of your Bamboo flooring planks you may be able to get planks with or without the darker and distinctive Bamboo nodes. All you need to do then is choose the color of Bamboo planking most suitable to the room you want to put down the floor in.
Getting Ready to Install
As with installing any hardwood floor – first make sure the sub-floor is clean; remove any old sealers, wax or adhesives; ideally any paint on an old wooden floor should also be removed. After removing nails or staples from the sub-floor, make sure the floor is level and any dust is swept up, the sub-floor must also be totally dry with no risk of damp seeping under the Bamboo floor once installed.
After examining the individual Bamboo flooring planks you can arrange them to ensure that the floor when completed will be as aesthetically pleasing as possible. To guard against any slight expansion or contraction on fitting the floor, leave the Bamboo planks in the room they’re to be installed for a day or two – to acclimatize to the room; ideally you should install the floor on a warm and dry day. Finally, if any door casings need undercutting – do it before you start to install the floor.
Bamboo planking will expand if the moisture level in the room rises. Therefore, you should allow about 10mm at the floor edges, which can be covered with a molding following the wall line; or use spacers to allow for the expansion. Your Bamboo floor planks will most likely look best if laid parallel to the longest wall in the room and ideally lead to/from either a window or doorway. You can test out which is the best alignment before actually fixing the flooring to the sub-floor.
How you fix the Bamboo planks to the sub-floor depends on the nature of the sub-floor itself. If you have a wooden sub-floor then nailing is both the traditional and professional way to fix it.
Don’t forget to make sure you know where any joists are that support the sub-floor, as by fixing the Bamboo planks onto the joist and sub-floor will give a much more positive fixing. If you’ve got a tile, plywood or concrete sub-floor then you’ll need to use an adhesive to stick the Bamboo planks down.
There is an alternative to fixing the Bamboo plank floor; you could have a ‘floating floor’. Here the ‘tongue-and-grooves’ are glued together with the whole floor in effect floating on an underlay. Whichever installation method you opt for, you must have a tapping block and hammer to fit the planks together and only ever ‘tap’ against a tongue.