How to Install Bamboo Flooring

How to Install Bamboo FlooringInstalling bamboo flooring is a great looking, environmentally friendly alternative to using hardwood flooring. Bamboo is versatile and has its own unique characteristics with knuckles and growth rings adding texture to the floor. Trees used for hardwood floors take more than 20 years to grow, and chopping them down ends their lives forever, so those who harvest them must continually replant the forests. However, bamboo is a grass that matures in less than five years, and repeated harvesting will not damage the mother plant.

What You’ll Need

For bamboo flooring installation, you will need the following items:

  • Bamboo flooring
  • Dust mask
  • Goggles
  • Knee pads
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Rubber mallet
  • Hardwood hammer
  • Hammer and nail set
  • Ring shank nails
  • Tapping block
  • Miter box and hand saw or miter saw


Before beginning your bamboo flooring installation project, take all furniture out of the room, remove baseboards and moldings with a pry bar and hammer, and remove heat registers as well. Installing bamboo flooring will be easier if you also remove the room’s doors. Store these items in a safe place for reinstalling after you finish the bamboo flooring installation. If you will be refinishing baseboards, moldings, doors, heat registers or other items, do that chore before bringing them back into the room to avoid staining your new floor.

Measure the room to determine how much flooring you will need to purchase according to instructions on each box of flooring. Add ten percent to that amount to allow for waste and other contingencies. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing bamboo flooring to achieve the best results.

Prepare the floor’s surface by filling seams with leveling compound and screwing loose floorboards into the joists. Make sure the floor is level by using floor leveling products if necessary before you begin. Clean the floors well and let them dry completely before you install bamboo flooring.


To reduce noise and soften the floor, install an underlay material over the sub-floor prior to the bamboo flooring installation. Lay it in strips, butting the pieces together without overlapping them.

Spread small piles of the flooring around the room, making sure all pieces get plenty of air, so they can acclimate to the room’s humidity and temperature for a minimum of 72 hours before installing bamboo flooring.

Because bamboo is natural, colors may vary. When preparing to install bamboo flooring, check the shades of pieces and mix them to make a natural variation and pleasing combination on the floor. If you do not like the appearance of one or two boards, plan your bamboo flooring installation with those boards in inconspicuous areas of the room, and arrange boards with particularly nice patterns in prominent areas.

Determine which direction you want the flooring to run. Long rooms usually have flooring running lengthways, but when rooms have large windows, flooring that runs parallel to the sunshine looks attractive. Lay enough of the boards each way to help you decide which direction to use for installing bamboo flooring.

As you install bamboo flooring, you should leave a half-inch space between the flooring and walls, cabinets or any other vertical objects because bamboo expands when the moisture content increases. Use half-inch pieces of wood as spacers and remove them after laying the floor and before reinstalling the baseboards.

Measure the room’s width, and calculate the number of full-width boards you will need to fit the area and how much space you will have to cover with partial boards. Divide the extra space in two, and cut the partial boards so their width will be equal on both sides of the room. Installing bamboo flooring with the partial boards on each side of the room instead of one wider board on one side makes the room look balanced.

Begin to install bamboo flooring by nailing the first two rows of flooring through bottoms of the interlocking grooves and set the nails. Install succeeding rows with a hardwood hammer and ring shank nails spaced every eight to ten inches.

When you cut the final board of a row to fit the room, start the next row with the remainder of the first board to offset the seams, and make sure to stagger all the seams throughout the room as you proceed.

When your bamboo flooring installation is complete, reinstall baseboards, molding, registers and doors. Keeping the boards that you do not need when you install bamboo flooring ensures that you will have them for use if you must make a repair to the floor later.


After you install bamboo flooring, it should remain beautiful for years with proper care.

  • Do not use water, floor wax or oil to clean a wood floor.
  • Sweep or vacuum the floor often.
  • Immediately soak up spills with a dry cloth.
  • Use a wax-free floor cleaner when necessary.
  • Use felt pieces under heavy furniture to protect the floor, and clean or replace them when they get dirty or worn.
  • Move heavy furniture across the floor by lifting it rather than sliding it.
  • Trim pets’ nails to avoid scratches in the flooring.
  • Do not use rugs with rubber backing on hardwood floors because the wood should be able to breathe.
  • Direct sunlight on floors should be limited by using blinds or curtains on windows.
  • Humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent are best for hardwood floors.

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