BAMBOO FLOORING INSTALLATION GUIDE

                                   PLEASE READ BEFORE INSTALLING

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE OWNER / INSTALLER 

Bamboo flooring is a natural and environmentally friendly product.  If you take care to install this flooring correctly, taking all precautions suggested in this guideline, the flooring will give you many years of satisfaction.  Please note that it is always best to have your floor installed by a professional, even though it is possible to install yourself.  This is only guideline and cannot supply all the details you may encounter regarding the installation of this flooring.  Detailed preparation and installation procedures are outlined by the National Wood Flooring Association’s Hardwood Flooring Manual (NWFA) 1-800-422-4556. Wellmade cannot be responsible for the installation under any circumstances.

 
PRE-INSTALLATION PROCEDURES

Please handle, transport, and unload the flooring with care.  Flooring should be stored in a dry place, with at least a four-inch air space under cartons.  Flooring should not be delivered until the building has been closed in with windows and doors in place, and until cement work, plastering, painting, and all other materials are thoroughly dry.  Acclimate the flooring for at least 48 hours (preferably 3-4 days) prior to installation  In addition, the heating or cooling system should be operating and controlled at 55°–70° for at least 48 hours before, during and maintained after installing.  Do not install in areas that are subject to extreme seasonal temperature changes where you cannot control the temperature.  

Moisture Test: Before installing over concrete or a wooden sub-floor, check it for moisture in several areas using a Delmhorst J-4 equivalent or any qualified commercial moisture meter. You may also test concrete floors using the calcium chloride test.  Also test the flooring materials. The moisture difference between the sub-floor and the bamboo flooring must be no more than 4%.

ACCLIMATION

Bamboo flooring should be acclimated in opened cartons in the environment in which it will be installed to allow for proper installation and "marriage" with the sub-floor.  If you do not have an accurate moisture meter, unpack and stack flooring, letting it acclimate in the room in which it will be installed for at least 10 days.  Due to the many different types of radiant heat floors, we do not recommend installing over this type of substrate.  

Before installation, lay out the flooring where it is to be installed (that is, lay the boards down roughly as they will appear after installation), taking care to mix it in a color pattern pleasing to your eye. Installer should inspect each plank at this time for finish and quality. Usually you will want to orientate the boards with the major source of light (windows) so that light is shining down the length of the boards.  Remember that all natural flooring comes in a range of colors and shades.  Our quality control procedures at the factory ensure that very few, if any defective boards are delivered to the consumer.  Remove baseboards and undercut door jambs to insure a quality installation.

RECOMMENDED AREAS  

Bamboo flooring is recommended for on or above grade installation only.  Bamboo flooring should not be installed in wet areas such as bathrooms (with tub/shower) or mud rooms. 

CRAWL SPACE VENTILATION

Proper air circulation is important to prevent moisture build up, especially in homes with a crawl space.  Vents should be open year round. Check to make sure that there is no standing water or moisture at the soil level.  If moisture is present, soil should be covered with 6 mil polyethylene to prevent moisture from migrating into the wood flooring.

ACCEPTABLE SUBFLOORS

The sub-floors must be on or above grade & structurally sound.  Bamboo flooring can be installed over the following sub-floors:

- Existing wood floors       - Plywood (¾” thick)                                                      

- Sheathing grade             - Oriented Strand Board (OSB- at least ¾” thick)

- Vinyl tile                           - Concrete floors (Floating system or direct glue)

Due to differences in the many types of radiant heat flooring, we do not recommend installing over radiant heat floors. 

SUB-FLOOR PREPARATION

The sub-floor must be structurally sound and checked for moisture content. Movement and squeaks should be well fastened with ring nails or screws to the floor joists. The sub-floor must be clean and free of paint, wax, oil, and other debris. In addition it must be flat and level within 3/16” inside a 10’ radius.  High spots must be sanded flat and low spots must be filled with a leveling compound recommended by your dealer. On old or uneven wood floors, apply 1/4”- 1/2” plywood and ring nail or screw every 6” to avoid squeaking.  DO NOT INSTALL DIRECTLY OVER PARTICLE BOARD, WAFERBOARD, PRESSED WOOD, OR FIBER BOARD, except when installing as a floating floor or installed with an adhesive system.

FOR CREATING A RANDOM EFFECT

To avoid creating a joint pattern in the floor, it is necessary to begin installation using starter boards. To create a starter board, cut the board at 2/3 the length.  Start with the 2/3 length, and then install the full lengths and continue across the room. Use the 1/3 length to start the next row and continue as above keeping at least a 6” distance between the end joints. Cuts made at the opposite wall should be used for starter boards.  If necessary, use the pull straps at 3 ft. intervals to hold the planks firmly together.  Be sure to allow at least a 1/4” expansion gap around perimeter.

FINISHING SUGGESTIONS

If you are installing unfinished flooring, solvent-based polyurethane provides a durable finish.  One sealer coat followed by buffing will give the floor a smooth finish.  Then add 2 top coats.  Using water-based polyurethane will minimize odor during installation.  Add a fourth coat for heavily trafficked areas.  Solid bamboo flooring may be refinished several times, and always consult a professional refinishing company for best results.

FOR ADHESIVE INSTALLATION

There are many suitable adhesives that may be used, if you are not a professional installer, consult with your local flooring dealer for recommendations for the proper adhesive for hardwood installation.  Do not use water-based adhesives.  Roll the flooring with a 75 -150 lb. roller to ensure adhesive transfer to back of bamboo planks.  Be sure to clean up any adhesive on the surface immediately, as once it dries, it may be very difficult to remove.  Always follow manufacturers’ instructions using their suggested adhesive and installation instructions for their adhesive warranty to be in effect.

FOR NAIL/STAPLE INSTALLATION

If you are not a professional flooring installer, you will need to rent a special nailer for hardwood flooring.  This tool will allow you to nail/staple the floor so that they will not show on the finished floor.  Be sure to learn how to adjust the nailer so as not to damage the tongue.  Also, be sure that the nailer is designed for or has an attachment for 5/8” flooring.  You will need to use 1 1/2" nails/staples for this application. Nails/staples should be placed about 6 – 8 inches apart, and not closer than 3 inches from the end of the plank. The first and last rows will generally need to be nailed by hand next to the wall, as the nailer will not work in these areas.  Pre-drill for 6d finish nails, counter sink, and fill the nail holes with matching putty.  Be sure not to place nails too close to the edge of planks so as to prevent splitting.  Generally it is not necessary to use a moisture barrier over wood sub-floors.  If you prefer, you can use roofing felt as with any hardwood flooring.  Remember to leave at least 1/4" expansion gap around the perimeter.

FLOATING INSTALLATION SYSTEM (Professional installers only)

While it is possible to install T&G flooring as a floating floor, it is not recommended unless the installer has extensive experience floating T&G flooring.  Bare concrete floors require a moisture barrier of at least 6 mil polyethylene film with the sheets overlapping 6” and taped to prevent moisture migrating to the wood flooring. Use 1/8” foam padding over the moisture barrier as recommended by your dealer. You can also install over sound deadening underlayments with this method.   Apply a bead of elasticized PVA glue (if you do not know which PVA glue – you cannot install by this method) as recommended by your dealer, inside the groove on both the long and short side of the boards that will be joined to the existing boards. Use a tapping block if necessary to gently tap the boards into place, and then use installation straps if necessary, every 3 feet to ensure a tight fit.  A tapping block can be made with a 6” piece of scrap bamboo flooring.  Remember to allow at least 1/4” for expansion around the perimeter walls. Do not tap on the tongue or groove directly, as you will damage the floor.  Be sure to remove all excess glue as quickly as possible, as once it dries it may be more difficult to remove.

FINISHING THE JOB

Inspect your work, as it will cost you more if you have to come back to do a repair later. Replace original baseboards, or install matching bamboo baseboard.  Install matching transitions as needed or recommended by your dealer.  It is not recommended or necessary to seal this floor after installation.

                                                   Tips for a Successful Installation

1.     Read all instructions first: Get all your questions answered before you start installing the floor.

 

2.     Amount of flooring needed: Buy enough flooring to equal at least 105% of the square footage of your room, for waste allowance.

 

3.     Before installing, open all boxes and let flooring sit in room for 3 to 4 days to acclimate to temperature and moisture. Run air conditioning or heat, as it will be in normal living conditions.

 

4.   Be aware of moisture problems: Moisture can ruin any floor. Always look out for potential moisture problems, especially in basements and crawl spaces.

 

5.    Checking for moisture: Use a Delmhorst J-4 equivalent or any qualified commercial moisture meter.  The moisture difference between the wood sub-floor and the bamboo flooring must be no more than 4%.

 

6.   Dealing with moisture before installation: If you have or suspect moisture problems, don’t install your floor yet.  Contact a professional flooring installer to improve sub-floor to an acceptable level of moisture.

  

7.  To ensure a clean cut without any splintering, tape the area to be cut and/or use a fine-toothed circular saw with a carbide blade.  Generally this is not necessary.  

8.     Place all nails/staples at 6 – 8 inch intervals along the tongue of the boards  

9.      Room/entryway preparation: Undercut door casings are much better than trying to scribe the flooring to fit there.  

10.   Leave expansion gaps: Leave a ¼” – ½” space at each wall, beneath door jambs, and at transitions for expansion of flooring.  Base molding and transitions will cover this gap.  

11.  Tapping block: You can use a trimmed piece of flooring for this, or buy a pre-made tapping block. NEVER HIT FLOORING DIRECTLY AND BE CAREFUL NOT TO FRACTURE FLOOR EDGES.

 NOT A PROBLEM:

1)  Bending or bowing of the boards in length direction. These boards might be a little harder to install, but will NOT be a problem after they are installed, or in the future.  They will lay flat like the others.     

2)  Color Variations may occur as bamboo is a natural product like oak and other hardwoods. 

NOTE: It is normal for all hardwood floors to expand and contract with the seasons. This means that small gaps may form during low humidity conditions.   You can prevent this from happening by controlling the humidity year-round.   All hardwood floors will scratch and dent depending on your living conditions.


 
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