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Flooring Installation Workshop: Bamboo Floors

Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2010

Measure
The issue is always square feet. This is the length and breadth of the room, minus any built-in cabinetry or furnishings.

Plan on buying more than you need, by around 20%. This allows for miscuts (they happen) and off-fall (the small part of the plank that is left over after a cut).

Prep
Floors should be clean and smooth. Standard underlayment is acceptable, such as 5/8 plywood. Take the time to get the floor as level as possible, as floating floors over dips in the subfloor tend to move when walked on.

Layout
Most applications run the planks parallel to the longest wall, but feel free to get creative. Consider diagonal applications for drama, but only if you feel ambitious, as you will have to miter cut all wall-end planks.

Sort
Color varies with bamboo flooring. This is a natural feature of the floor and is not a defect. Sort through your boxes and spread lighter and darker planks around as randomly as you can manage. This will even out the color over the entire floor.

Leftover Material
Floors can be damaged in any number of ways. Finding replacement flooring to match your bamboo may be difficult. Save leftover material in a dry, stable place, such as an attic. That way, when you need it, youll have it.

Cutting
A lot of attention is paid to the tools for cutting your flooring. How expensive a saw do you really need? How many teeth should the blade have? How much should I spend?

You dont need a $500 miter saw and a professional table saw to lay a beautiful floor. You do need a high quality carbide-tipped blade in both tools. These can be purchased for $30-$50. In short, no fancy saw is any good without a high-quality blade.

This rule of thumb applies to any cutting tool you have. For example, you will use a jigsaw for cutting out floor vents and odd shapes. Its far less important what kind of jigsaw you use than what kind of blade. If you use a T-Shank jigsaw, consider the Progressor blade from Bosch. It makes very clean cuts in both directions, leaving little or no tear-out. Or get blades that cut on the downstroke, so that any fibers that do tear out of your material are on the underside of your board.