Installation Instruction of bamboo flooring
Bamboo flooring, when properly installed, is a beautiful durable floor-covering material. Flooring is manufactured with a moisture content range of 6 to 9 percent. The installer must be careful to protect the flooring material from gaining moisture before, during and after the installation of the product. These installation instructions are intended to help the installer produce a trouble-free floor. Should an individual piece of bamboo be doubtful as to suitability for the particular job. (Manufacturer of factory finish, the installer should not use the piece)
The bamboo should be delivered to the job-site at least 72 hours before installation. The boxes should be opened and then the bamboo laid out in the room to be installed. The heating or air conditioning should be turned on and operating at normal levels, so the boards can acclimate to its environment. Do not unload flooring during wet conditions such as rain, snow, sleet, etc. Moisture absorbed by the flooring boards will cause them to swell. If installed before acclimation, they will subsequently shrink back to their in-service moisture content. This shrinkage may produce gaps, which will cause problems with the finished floor system.
Bamboo flooring can be installed on wood sub-floors. The moisture content of the wood sub-floor at the time of installation should be in the range of 6 to 10 percent. During building construction, before the building is enclosed, the sub-floor many absorb moisture from direct exposure to rain and weather. The building must be enclosed and dried out before the installation of the bamboo flooring. Sub-floors, which are built with “performance-rated” 18mm thick oriented strand board (OSB) or plywood, will produce the best performing bamboo floors. Also, 15mm thick plywood may also be used, but12mm sub-floor products may lack stiffness and nail-holding properties for good performance with bamboo flooring products.
Buildings with crawl space foundations should include a vapor barrier installed between the ground and the sub-floor. This barrier will minimize the effect of moisture evaporating into the crawl space environment that can migrate through the Sub-floor and into the bamboo flooring. The vapor barrier can be 4 to 6 mil polyethylene sheets laid on the crawl space floor. Proper air circulation is important to prevent moisture build-up. At least two vents should be left open year round. Further more, the building should be completely enclosed with windows and doors installed prior to flooring installation. Freshly poured concrete slabs emit many gallons of moisture as water vapor into the atmosphere of the building. Therefore, no concrete should be poured after the flooring is installed, and an adequate curing time (minimum 60 days) should be provided before installation of the flooring. Some concrete may require several months of curing time before moisture is sufficiently eliminated.
Bamboo flooring should be installed in manner similar to that used to other types of solid hardwood flooring products. Before installation, the installer must be sure that the sub-floor is solid, level, clean, and dry. Proper moisture tests should be performed. Fifteen pound building paper (tar paper) should be laid directly onto the sub-floor. This building paper minimizes squeaks caused by small movements of the bamboo flooring after installation. And helps to reduce some moisture problems. The difference between the moisture level of the sub-floor and the bamboo flooring should be no more than 4%. Bamboo flooring can then be installed. Bamboo is a product of nature. Because of the natural color variation in bamboo flooring from piece to piece, it is important to work out of four to five boxes at a time to assure a beautiful blend of shading.
50mm long flooring nails (cleats), or 50mm, 15 gauge flooring staples with a 12mm crown May be used to install 18mm thick bamboo flooring 30mm to 36mm long flooring cleats or staples can be used to install 15mm thick bamboo flooring. These fasteners are installed using pneumatic of mechanically operated floor nailing guns which are struck with a rubber-faced hammer to drive each board tightly against its neighbor and simultaneously fire the nail or staple through the tongue of the bamboo flooring and into the sub-floor.
Proper spacing between nails is critical for a trouble-free, durable Bamboo flooring. Recommended nail spacing are200mm to 250mm apart along the length of each floor board. Each floor board should be nailed at least 100mm away from each end. During installation, it is useful to scribe nail spacing lines directly onto the tar paper with chalk. This allows the installer to easily identify the location of each nail.
Bamboo floor can also be installed over a concrete slab with Glue (a moisture barrier is recommended even when a wood sub-floor is used). Once again, it is very important that the installer is working on a flat, clean and dry base floor. Always test concrete slab for moisture content when the sub-floors is ready to use, glue the floor over the existing concrete slab or a plywood sub-floor.
Sanding and Finishing
Bamboo flooring can be sanded like any other hard wood floor surface. Sweep the floor immediately before sanding. Sanding and finishing the bamboo floors should be one of the last jobs on a construction project. This protects the floor from foot traffic of other tradesmen during their work. Floor sanding involves using a special floor sander, edge sander, and possibly a polisher with a disc attachment for holding sand paper.
Begin the finishing process of the floor 1-3 weeks after installation. Again, the floor should be properly acclimated and acclimation will depend upon geographic location, interior climate control and time of the year. Sanding starts with a coarse to medium grit sand paper. After sanding the entire floor with a coarse grit sand paper, repeat with a medium grit and complete sanding with a fine grit sand paper. This produces a fine floor surface ready for finishing.
After sanding, be sure to apply the first coat of finish the same day that sanding was completed; this prevents moisture from being absorbed into the surface of the flooring, and producing a rough, raised-grain appearance.
Bamboo floors can be refinished a minimum of three times by following proper maintenance and care. The finish may be damaged by spike heels, stone chips, gravel, and scratches. Furniture must have chair glides to protect the floor, fading due to sunlight may occasionally occur.
The floor can be finished with products that are commonly used for other types of strip hardwood flooring, including penetrating sealers, pigmented wiping stains, moisture cured urethanes, and polyurethanes.
The techniques of sanding and finishing require high skill and best results may be obtained by employing professional floor finishers.
Bamboo flooring is made from the highest quality bamboo available. It has stability properties that exceed most wood flooring products. However, bamboo is a solid, natural product and it will naturally expand when exposed to moisture, but usually much less than similar solid wood flooring. Excessive humidity could cause cupping of buckling, so it is important to use an air conditioner of dehumidifier in humid months, expansion and contraction is not considered a defect. Proper acclimation of the bamboo prior to installation can help minimize naturally occurring phenomenon.
Allow at least 20mm space parallel to the directions you lay the floor.
Copyright ChineChine Inc. , All rights reserved. Last page update: 28 Nov 2006.