Not just food for pandas or the stuff of cheap picnic mats, bamboo is now being processed with modern techniques into beautiful “hardwood” flooring that beats standard wood floors in durability, hardness, and dimensional stability.
An added bonus to these beautiful floors is the knowledge that bamboo, unlike wood, grows quickly and abundantly, reaching maturity in five years or less. Red oak and maple, by comparison, can take decades to mature and then have to be replanted. Clear-cutting of forests also has a negative environmental impact and threatens the planet’s biodiversity.
After harvesting, cutting, processing, and finishing, bamboo flooring installation is not much different from standard hardwood floor installation. The important steps in installation occur before putting in the bamboo floor. First, make sure you buy from a reputable manufacturer who is willing to back up their product with a warranty.
The next step in bamboo flooring installation is making sure the subfloor is dry, clean, and level. Dirty subfloors will not bond well with the adhesive, and subfloors that are not dry will eventually cause rot. If not level, the bamboo flooring will squeak when walked on. If you are competent in home repair and good with your hands, you may be able to complete the bamboo flooring installation on your own. In some cases, with certain types of bamboo flooring, a professional will be needed.
Bamboo flooring may be glued down using a moisture barrier flooring adhesive. After applying the adhesive to the subfloor with a trowel, the bamboo flooring planks should be immediately placed. You may also install bamboo flooring using a nail gun over plywood or particleboard. Once starter rows are secure, subsequent planks should be nailed directly above the tongue at a 45-degree angle to face.
After installing the bamboo flooring, you will care for it in a similar way to hardwood floors; frequent dusting/sweeping, occasionally mopping, and use of wood cleaners. With regular care, bamboo flooring will add a stylish, beautiful component to your home for many years to come.