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Installing Nail & Staple Bamboo Floors

How to Install

Download Bamboo Flooring Installation Instructions | PDF's
PDF icon for PDF fileQuick Guide on How–to–Install a Pre–Finished Bamboo Floor – 300kb pdf | Our short installation guide for those with DIY experience.
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fileFull Guide – Complete Installation Instructions on Installing your Bamboo Floor – 1.5 mb pdf | Our full set of DIY installation instructions.

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Use this method for solid and engineered (if approved by your manufacturer) T&G bamboo above wood subfloors or concrete subfloors overlaid with a plywood underlayment. Always follow your flooring manufacturer's recommendations when choosing between staples and cleats. Most professional use cleats when installing bamboo floors.

Fasten each tongue at the proper intervals:

  • 4"–6" for cleats
  • 3"–4" for staples
  • Within 1"–2" of each end joint

Keep these tips in mind before you begin:

  • Set all cleats correctly in the nail pocket.
  • Use the correct type of top and angled nailer/stapler with the proper plate. Ensure the plate is covered with plastic or felt so it does not scratch the bamboo.
  • Use the correct pressure setting (usually between 70–80 PSI) when using pneumatic fastening devices. Practice fastening a scrap piece of flooring before you begin your installation.
  • Use pliers to remove cleats that did not go in completely.
  • Use wire cutters to cut cleats that are partially exposed and cannot be removed.
  • Use a nail punch to drive cleats in completely.

Install the First Row

Take extra time when installing the first row of bamboo flooring. It is critical that this row be straight even if the walls are not.

  1. Measure out your expansion spacing in at least two places along the longest wall. Snap a chalk line between the points.
  2. Lay out the bamboo with the groove toward the wall but do not secure yet. Add spacers between the flooring and the wall. Scribe fit this row (if necessary) so that the flooring matches the contours in the wall. Make sure this first row is completely straight.
  3. Once satisfied with the fit, top nail the first row to the subfloor at the appropriate intervals.
  4. At the end of the wall, measure and cut a plank to fit. Use a pinch bar (if necessary) to fit the last plank in place. Place a spacer at the end of the first row.
  5. Evaluate the first row to ensure it is straight and level. Adjust where needed.

Install the Main Part of the Floor

  1. Use a short plank (it should be at least 8"–10" in length) to start the second row.
  2. Gently tap the bamboo together with the first row. Use an angled nailer/stapler to secure in place.
  3. Work your way across the floor until you reach the last few rows.

Install the Last Few Rows

You will install the last few rows differently as your nailer/stapler may not fit between the wall and your rows of bamboo flooring.

  1. Begin using a white tipped mallet (which will not mar the wall) to tap boards in place 5–6 rows out from the wall.
  2. When your nailer/stapler no longer fits between the wall and your flooring (about 3 rows out), continuing installing your bamboo, but do not nail/staple. Use the mallet to fit each board tightly to the next.
  3. When you are on your last row, measure out your expansion spacing in at least two spots. Snap a chalk line.
  4. Lay out the bamboo flooring with the tongue or cut part of the board toward the wall. Scribe fit (if necessary) so that the flooring matches the contours of the wall.
  5. Make sure the last row is straight. Tap each board with the mallet so the flooring fits tightly together. (This is especially important since you did not nail the last few rows of bamboo.)
  6. Once satisfied with the fit, top nail the last row in place. Add a few extra cleats in this row as it is holding 3–4 rows together.

Your bamboo floor does not need any time to set. Once you place your last cleat, you can remove all spacers and begin using your new bamboo floor.