Sanity check before committing to hardwood strand bamboo

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Old 02-20-11, 06:27 AM
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Sanity check before committing to hardwood strand bamboo

We want solid hardwood on an upper level of the house, including kitchen (not mud room, though, which will be tiled). Not sure if click or nail right now, but I've narrowed down to strand bamboo. Although this is a fairly new product (two stores said they've had for 10-15 years, so maybe that isn't so new), and it is kind of like MDF, it seems extremely hard, easier to install (better consistency between planks), and I'm told is as dimensionally stable or more so than engineered lumber.

We're looking at carbonized bamboo, for the color. This lowers its hardness, but we do not have dogs, and I think it's still pretty up there on the hardness range when carbonized.

I know the glue can be unhealthy when moist but presume (hope) in its cured state it's totally benign.

At lumber liquidators it was about $4 square foot with 50 year warranty.

I found a link that says "Most Manufacturer's recommendations require installing over solid wood or plywood and most homes do not have plywood underlayment.". Our subfloor is OSB, though. Neither of the stores we went into mentioned the material of our subfloor being important.
 
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Old 02-20-11, 10:53 AM
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Carbonized bamboo is basically where they boil, or steam the bamboo until the sugar caramelizes and turns dark, then they run it through a press and it comes out a great color. Then they apply a really hard finish on it. I have installed it in two large rooms for a client, and liked it so well, I put it in about 300 sf of my weekend rental cabin. Now, I did use the HD version at $2 sf, and I know some people are dissing it because it is cheap, but the client has been excited about hers ever since we installed it, and we allow pets at our cabin and can't tell they have ever been there. Look into the warranty and see if it includes labor
Now, it is 5/8" thick, so you would have to use the proper nylon foot on the nailer, but nailing it down is the only way to go. I have never had a failure on OSB. You don't want to install any hardwood on particle board, however.
 
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Old 02-20-11, 11:15 AM
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Thanks, Chandler. It really does look the best, color-wise, of the woods we've seen.

I know the warranty didn't include labor

Guy at store said nailing is a little more premier and common, but click is increasing and is about 25% of his bamboo installs. It's also cheaper to install if I pay it. However, it's also more expensive material, so a wash; thus if I pay somebody I'll have them nail it if it's the same price. if myself, I may nail, I may click. Clicking myself seems wickedly fast. My floors are prone to slightly move (I will fix this as best as psosible before install). Are the click floors likely to just infuriate me over time? I cannot stand noisy floors, btw and am worried a click floor will get noisy.
 
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Old 02-20-11, 05:55 PM
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I don't know. I have laid both without problems. I have never done click lock bamboo, but I assume it would be similar to the engineered flooring I have done. Nail down is there, rock solid. I always "know" when I enter a house with engineered or laminate flooring. Personal preference.....nail. You'll be through with click lock before supper!! It really goes fast.
 
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Old 02-21-11, 05:38 PM
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Nail, baby nail! Click lock floors are great but nail down 5/8" is permanent and solid. OSB has never been a problem for me, its construction allows it to really hold the nail. (which is the problem with particle board) The only knock on stranded bamboo I've heard is that some of my installers have complained that it is difficult to nail through because its so dense. Make sure to use the specific cleats the manufacturer recommends and buy them from a flooring supply house if possible. Big box products are often "shaved" in regards to strength and quality.
 
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Old 02-21-11, 05:57 PM
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Thanks--guy at Lumber Liquidators said you need to go with 18 gauge staples. i guess those are quite thin because the flooring is indeed so dense so can split with anything too thick.
 
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Old 02-26-11, 05:21 PM
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Bamboo check manufacturers instructions

I just picked out bamboo from HD. I took several samples from different stores home and ran a nail over surface, then I took the sample and submerged in water for 4 hours. Didn't absord any and finish was as hard as ever!

Be careful about installation, I was told that nailing some types of bamboo flooring will void the warranty
 

Last edited by kathie659; 02-26-11 at 05:22 PM. Reason: spelling error
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Old 02-26-11, 06:02 PM
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The Home Legend carried by HD which is 5/8" thick is made for nail down. In fact I don't know of another way to do it. Gluing is certainly not an option. And, don't listen to all that is said at big box stores.
 
 

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