What is the best way to install a bamboo floor? You could install the floor as direct stick, floating, plank on ply, using an AcouBond system, or using joists/battens to name a few. Each method of installing a premium bamboo floor has both its positives and negatives but when weighed up you are able to determine the more suitable method of installation.
Our preferred and the most commonly accepted method of installing a bamboo floor in WA is direct stick. This is where our boards are glued directly to the sub floor resulting in a very quiet floor to walk on. Glue is trowelled onto the floor and the boards are laid directly on top. It is a strong and permanent method of installation. We use a rubbery drying adhesive called Sikabond T55. Using alternative glue for this method of installation which is not elastic bonding will usually result in stress put on the boards causing cupping and the widening of gaps in between boards. A direct stick bamboo floor is strong and stable, stopping the boards from moving too easily and can be walked on the same day it is installed. However this floor will be difficult, but not impossible to remove if needed, and does require a reasonably level sub floor.
Installing a bamboo floor as a floating floor involves using a thin high density oam underlay. The boards are not glued or fixed to the sub floor rather they are glued along the tongue and groove on all sides. The floor literally floats. This type of installation is commonly used for cheaper laminates in Perth having an inferior quality image. Floating a bamboo floor is the most common method for DIY customers as it is a cheaper and easier method of installing a bamboo floor than direct stick. It is regarded as softer to walk on, but is regarded as structurally inferior and noisy to walk on. A floating bamboo floor is easily damaged by excess water spills and can’t be lived on for a day or two until the pva glue dries.
PLANK ON PLY
Plank on ply is commonly used for fixing timber floors and is regarded by the industry as superior. In terms of timber flooring, this is usually correct. Plank on ply uses 12mm sheets of plywood that are glued and nailed onto the sub floor and the bamboo floor boards are glued and secret nailed onto the ply. The ply helps even out floor undulations and gives an easy surface for the installer to pin the timber down. It also helps protect the floor against moisture from the concrete slab. In terms of premium bamboo flooring we gain little to no benefit from installing over plywood. The reason for this is premium bamboo flooring is not required to be pinned because it is dimensionally straight and square, it is also more moisture resistant. The glue and installation technology that we have available today enables us to even out small floor undulations. Ply can be useful in building up floor heights.
Acoubond type of installation was developed in Europe by Sika International to overcome the problem of impact noise transfer from upper floors to lower living areas, such as high rise apartments. Australian building legislation now stipulates that solid floors in multi level dwellings must be installed with sound absorption systems. The bamboo boards are laid over a 5mm foam mat, which has slots cut out for the application of triangular beads of Sika T53. According to Gabriel’s Environmental Design Pty Ltd this has a reduction in impact noise by 16dB compared to a reduction of 7dB for direct stick. A bamboo floor installed with the Acoubond system is a little noisier to walk on and is not as strong as direct stick, but it does improve walking comfort and compensates for surface irregularities.
Installing on joists or battens is a traditional type of installation using timber or ply battens fixed to bearers or concrete. The bamboo floor boards are fixed using glue and nails to the Battens. This type of installation was commonly used for timber floors but is not so popular with bamboo floors, yet it is a safe, stable and an easy way to bring bamboo boards up to existing floor types by using appropriately sized battens. Joists (battens) are usually 12mm thick and 40mm wide and made from plywood or a stable hardwood like Jarrah. This floor is commonly thought to be more absorbent of foot fall and therefore more comfortable to walk on. It does however produce the sound of a traditional timber floor which is quite noisy.
While each method of installation has obvious benefits, overall we do prefer installing our premium bamboo floors as direct stick, specifically with Sika bond T55. It is by far the more suited method of installation for our product and ensures for a secure and quiet floor to walk on. It is a very convenient method of installation as you won’t need to move out of home and can walk on your beautiful bamboo floor straight away.