Bildermann’s Tips for a Successful Flooring Installation
The process of installing bamboo or eucalyptus flooring is almost identical to that of installing any of the other traditional hardwoods, and the level of expertise required to successfully complete the project varies based on a number of factors. Everything about the flooring installation affects the final outcome:
- What type and quality of flooring have you purchased?
- Onto what kind of surface to do you plan to apply the flooring?
- What are the tools that are required to complete the project?
In order to save yourself a lot of time, money, and heartache, be sure to consider every aspect of your flooring installation before making a firm decision about whether or not you will hire a professional flooring contractor. Here are some flooring installation tips that will make the process easier for everyone involved:
Choosing the Right Tools for the Job
Of course, you should always remember to use personal protective equipment, such as safety goggles, ear plugs, and a dust mask, when working on any home improvement project. Additionally, we recommend that you have the following tools handy, in order to achieve a professional-looking end result:
- Rubber Mallet and Tapping Block
- Wooden or Plastic Spacers
- Tape Measure, Carpenter’s Square, and Level
- Floor Nailer and Floor Fasteners (for nail-down method)
- Approved adhesive, tools for application, and adhesive remover (for glue-down method)
- 3M/Scotchguard #2080 tape (other tapes may pull up the finish if left on floor/moldings too long)
- Miter Saw and Table Saw
Important Considerations, Regardless of Installation Method
When installing bamboo or eucalyptus flooring, there are a few very important considerations that apply, regardless of the method of installation that you have chosen:
- Review the manufacturer’s guidelines and warranty information before you ever begin the project. It helps to have a single point of contact with the company that has supplied the floors, because questions will inevitably arise before, during, and after the installation.
- Be sure to order more than you need. Again, the manufacturer will be your most valuable resources in determining exactly how much of the flooring material that you should order, because they are most familiar with their products.
- Allow the flooring material to acclimate to its surroundings (specifically, the room into which the flooring will be installed). Acclimation times vary by product, so consult your manufacturer’s guidelines before you begin.
Installing Over a Wood Sub-Floor
Whether you are installing over a wood or concrete sub-floor, you want to be sure that the surface is clean, level, and structurally sound.
Wood sub-floors make the perfect foundation for installing bamboo or eucalyptus flooring, and they are typically receptive to either a nail-down or glue-down method. For best results, your sub-floors should have a minimum thickness of ¾ inches. Before you begin your installation, you should examine the surface carefully. Ensure that the subfloor is properly attached to joists and correct any potential problems as you notice them. A level will be very useful during this preliminary process, and a sander will also help smooth out minor issues.
For newly constructed homes, it’s best to install your new floors last (after all other finishes have been completed). If you are installing the floors as part of a remodeling project or in a newer home, remove all baseboards and any other existing trim prior to starting.
The humidity level of your wood subfloors should be well controlled, and should never exceed 12%, regardless of seasonal weather changes. If you are concerned about climate compatibility with your chosen flooring material, speak with a Bildermann’s team member about acceptable vapor barriers.
Installing Over a Concrete Sub-Floor
Particular care must be taken when installing Bildermann’s products over a concrete sub-floor. Most importantly, we recommend that all concrete work should have been completed a minimum of three months prior to installation. If there are significant variances in the concrete surface, grind them down until you’re satisfied that the floor is level.
Because concrete foundations tend to retain moisture as they cure (which is then released over time), we suggest using a moisture barrier in both new builds and renovation projects. This will ensure that the surface remains dry all year around. There are several adhesives on the market that also contain a built in moisture/vapor barrier.
Just as with wood sub-floor installations, you should be sure that the surface remains clean and dry throughout the process, and you will need to remove all baseboards and trim prior to beginning your project.
Click-lock flooring installations require that you take many of the same precautions as with nail-down or glue-down methods. For example, moisture levels are still an important factor to consider, as well as expansion and shrinkage. The convenience of being able to “float” these floors without the use of fasteners or adhesives, however, makes click-lock flooring much more DIY-friendly. We recommend using a high quality 3 in 1 vapor barrier underlayment with a high sound absorption rating (check the STC and IIC sound rating).
When installing click-lock flooring, it’s important to remember that the boards should never be forced together. Individual planks should fit easily together, in order to avoid damaging the perimeter of the plank. If you’re using a mallet or hammer, never tap the board directly. Use a tapping block.
The Bildermann’s team is committed to providing the support you need throughout the duration of your project. From your initial order to years following installation, a member of our team is here to help. If you still have questions or concerns about our products or the installation process, feel free to contact us!