Bamboo is very popular throughout Quebec, especially as a flooring material. Its long-term durability and superior strength make it the par excellence alternative to hardwood flooring.
But you can’t install and maintain it like you would ordinary wooden floors. Let’s shed some light on the matter and answer any questions you might have.
Bamboo’s strength and durability are widely recognized by building professionals.
Step 1: Prepare the Subfloor
Bamboo flooring cannot be laid directly over pre-existing flooring. You must remove the latter before beginning the installation process.
Make sure the ground is level before nailing down the boards. If you are working over a concrete surface, you will need to use a grinder to sand down any hump and fill in any hollows with a levelling compound. In the case of a plywood surface, sand down raised areas and increase the thickness of sunken areas with wooden slats.
Again, for a concrete floor, you will need to install a wooden underlay to provide a surface into which you can nail the bamboo boards.
Step 2: Prepare the Boards
Because bamboo reacts to its surroundings, it should be made ready for installation by storing it in the room where it will be laid. The room’s temperature should be between 16°C and 21°C and remain stable for approximately 50 hours. The humidity level should be between 40% and 60%.
To prevent the boards from warping over time, keep them in the room for a few days beforehand to give the material time to adapt to the ambient temperature and humidity level. Do not place the boards directly on the ground, but rather at a height (e.g., on sawhorses).
Don’t forget to let the wood acclimate to the room before installing it.
Step 3: Lay the Floor
The bamboo’s colour can vary from one bundle to the next. Open all the packages so you can randomly select boards and achieve a consistent look overall.
Leave 1.25 cm between the boards and the wall to allow for some expansion of the material. The use of spacers is recommended.
Install the boards one row at a time.
Before nailing, pre-drill holes into the tongues. These holes should be smaller than the diameter of the nails you will use. This will prevent the boards from cracking when you hammer the nails in.
Knock along the edge with a rubber mallet to ease the boards into the perfect position.
Hammer each nail (18 gauge) at a 50-degree angle from the edge of the boards so that when you install the next row, the subsequent board will mask the nails. Space each nail 25 cm apart.
Repeat this process for each row of boards until the room’s floor surface is fully covered.
Bamboo flooring is just as beautiful as hardwood, with a touch of the exotic.
Beware of Low Prices
A quick tip: be cautious when buying bamboo flooring. Bamboo’s characteristics can vary widely. For example, cutting the wood too early will result in a weaker poor-performing product. Price is often an indicator of quality, as is the FSC label, which certifies that the bamboo was grown in compliance with dozens of criteria, such as waiting for the plant to mature and being cultivated without the use of pesticides.
Bamboo flooring offers several significant advantages. Installing it effectively will ensure that it will remain a beautiful addition to your home for years to come.