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.

About the author: Geoff Hugh


Frequently Asked Questions

    Which is better — 2 coats of sanding sealer + 2 coats of polyurethane or 4 straight coats of polyurethane?
    I am getting quotes on the installation of new unfinished red oak floors that will be stained medium brown. The major differences in the quotes are:

    Quote 1) 2 coats of Fabulon sanding sealer and 2 coats of Fabulon Professional oil modifed polyurethane

    Quote 2) 4 coats of Fabulon polyurethane

    The 4 coats is slightly more expensive. What is better, quote 1 or quote 2 and why?

    • ANSWER:
      We did two rooms and a hall ourselves and it was recommended that we do 4 coats of poly. It turned out beautiful. Each coat got better, much smoother, and even a richer flooring all over. Why aren’t you doing it yourself? Rent the sander with vacuum, use 3 different grades of sandpaper and in 4 hours you are ready to stain or finish. You cannot walk on it with socks, only bare feet because your socks will let a linen look. It took about 4-6 hours to dry after each coat. We left it overnight each time. You brush it on with a smooth cloth applicator. It is not hard to do.

2 1 4 red oak flooring unfinished