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How to Install Engineered Bamboo Flooring

There once was  a time when flooring installations required nail-down, staple-down or glue-down installations. Nowadays, there are such techniques as “no-glue” and “click-together” systems that not only changed how you install flooring, but changed the manufacturing process. In fact, most engineered bamboo flooring these days are manufactured for floated installation using new-plank-joint systems.

But what is Floated Installation? Well, for starters, you should know that floated installation is a less expensive installation option. It’s easier, meaning you don’t have to rent equipment. And it doesn’t require any type of adhesive or even staples or nails.

But it’s not just about cost effectiveness. Floated installation also aides flooring to better adapt to temperature and humidity changes. If you don’t install your flooring with a floated installation process, you’re installing using fixed installation. This increases a wood flooring’s chances of becoming damaged due to extreme humidity conditions. Your flooring might cup, shrink, or separate.

That’s not the case with the floated installation method. With the floating method, your planks are not anchored to the sub-floor. That means your flooring can expand and contract as needed without any lasting effects.

Before you install your flooring, there are some steps you need to take.

Pre-Installation Step

Each type of flooring has specific steps for the pre-installation process. The steps listed below are generic, just to give you some guidance. However, it’s recommended you follow the instructions of your  manufacturer.

Preparing the Concrete Slab

If you are going to float your engineered bamboo flooring over concrete slab, you must make sure the slab is flat, clean and dry. You should conduct a moisture content test, and, ideally, place a moisture barrier over the concrete.

What to do with Sub-Flooring

Just like concrete slabs, sub-floors have to be flat, clean, and dry, and firmly secured to the joists. You should cover your sub-flooring with a polyethylene foam underlayment. This acts as a moisture barrier, sound reducer, and cushion for the new flooring.

Getting the Flooring Acclimated

Don’t forget this step! Get your wood acclimated to your room for 2 – 3 days before you install the planks, with the boxes open. Make sure the room is at normal living level.

Installation Time

You can’t find an easier process than the floated installation method. You’ll discover that this process takes no time at all.

Make a Sketch

Nothing beats proper planning. Draw an outline of floor plan (using graph paper), so that you can determine how many boxes of flooring you’ll actually need. Keep in mind that most manufacturers recommend leaving a 1/2” space between the outer edges of the flooring and walls, cabinets, or other fixed objects.

Breathing Life into the Sketch

Now that you have your flooring, remember this: your bamboo flooring has varied colors. You’ll want to disperse those colors throughout your space (rather than having one dark area, and one light area).

Also, what direction do you want to install your planking? The most common method is parallel to your longest wall, but that’s not the hard fast rule.

Using spacers to maintain the expansion space, start in a corner, laying your first plank down with the long grooved side toward the long wall. Join the short side of the second plank with the mating side of the first plank. Cut the last plank as indicated in the manufacturer’s instructions and complete the row. Use what’s leftover from this row to start the second row. It’s best to offset end splices of consecutive rows by at least a half a foot to get the best appearance. Proceed with the second row by connecting the short edges of the planks first then the long edges.

You may need to use rip cutting for the last row. If you do, keep in mind that you have to cut enough to make the expansion space. Then, with all other rows, connect the short edges first then use a pull bar to tap the long edges together.

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