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Bamboo flooring

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Just wondering if anybody has any experience of bamboo flooring? I am very tempted as the samples I have got my hands on look good, and it is supposedly extremely hardwearing, certainly better than engineered timber. Is there any real benefit to getting the thicker versions? I will need to decide on final floor level soon as I will shortly be installing my external doors.

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I've laid plan strand woven bamboo to the whole first floor (except the bathrooms) and about half the ground floor.  I'm exceptionally pleased with it, as not only does it look good but it is very hard, and so withstands knocks without marking.

I bonded ours down with Sikabond 95, expensive, but very well worth it as it massively increased the stiffness of the floor and has made the first floor, in particular, feel rock-solid.  Bonding also helps with heat conduction, if you're fitting UFH.

We bought our bamboo from the Bamboo Flooring Company, and they were good to deal with.  We had one box damaged in transit and then sent a replacement straight away, with no quibble at all. 

Not that expensive either, for what you get, I thought.  We used the cheapest plain strand woven, and this is what it looked like before I fitted the oak skirting and architrave:

 

Bamboo flooring.JPG

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How well does it tone in with your oak facings?

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Very well, in fact most people assume the flooring is oak as well as the doors etc, as the colour is very close indeed to the plain oiled oak finish.

I lined the underside of the oak staircase with left over bamboo flooring, and used some left over oak skirting to make a small cupboard, so you can judge for yourself what the match is like (sorry about the photo - it was my old camera that had got dust inside the lens):

under the stairs.JPG

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Thanks Jeremy, that looks fantastic. I wonder if we will see bamboo becoming more popular. What thickness did you go for?

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Given the relatively low price of the stuff, plus its hardness and looks, it should be more popular than it is (except then the price might increase!).

Ours is 12mm solid strand woven, very heavy and tough on saws, but easy to lay.

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Guest Alphonsox

We've been looking at using this, the range available from the Bamboo Flooring company has been steadily expanding. They were showing a grey finished version at the NEC recently - a very cool modern finish - could work instead of tiles in the kitchen

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Looks very good Jeremy.  We are looking at both engineered oak and bamboo, the latter for its robustness in comparison to engineered. I have a pile of samples sitting in build HQ, but I think the decision will probably be one of those left until later when we see the rooms actually built and have our oak facings so we can compare a bit of finished (oiled or varnished) oak against the flooring samples.

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This looks pretty good and I like that it is bonded down as the flooring in the room that we are looking at is only 19mm.  Wondering how good this would be if laid near an en suite.  It would be in our son's room so would undoubtedly get wet near the door? 

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We have it laid in the bedrooms, so at doors adjacent to bathrooms.  A friend laid the same stuff as a bathroom floor, it's water resistant and works well, but he did find that over the course of a couple of years the surface got very slippery, as it became more highly polished from the action of bare feet on it.

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I see that JSH says that he used the solid 12mm strandwoven bamboo - is that onto concrete with UFH, as well as upstairs onto timber flooring?

I noticed that Bamboo Flooring Co say that both the engineered and the solid may be used with UFH.

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Yes, downstairs is bonded with Sikaflex 95 directly to the concrete slab, with UFH (although the UFH never gets above about 23 deg C, so a much lower temperature than "normal" UFH).  Upstairs the bamboo is bonded with the same adhesive directly to the timber flooring.

Given that a new build is unlikely to run UFH at anything like the temperature that may have been required to heat older houses, it's probably not really an issue with many types of flooring now.  Floors will get pretty hot with the sun shining on them, so it's hard to see how low temperature UFH could be a problem.

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Guest Alphonsox

Just got an email from the Bamboo flooring Co - Prices are down from last time I looked. Some flooring now at £17/m2

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Just a wee followup on this-

Would there be any point in me using an underlay? I have 300mm deep joists fully filled with glasswool, then 22mm chipboard glued/screwed on top. No UFH.

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If you're floating it then underlay is a must. 

Otherwise you'll have boards 'clacking' together when you walk on them. 

Are you not bonding them down? If deffo floating the floor, maybe go for a higher performance underlay to add to comfort and sound deadening, rather than the thin foam one usually suggested by the suppliers. 

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All excellent advice as we are planning to use the bamboo flooring too.  Every build show we go to, we end up picking up some samples; they make great coasters! So if bonded as jeremy has done, you dont need underlay?

 

Edited by TheMitchells

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No. Solid floors will need sealing with a pva / water ( 50/50 ) mopping, and left to dry completely. For wooden floors I'd recommend a flexible tile adhesive primer, as they're far superior to pva imo.   

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Thanks, Nick. I was expecting to bond it down.

I'm currently looking into how the FFL and door thresholds etc will work out. My big tilt/slide patio door is really just a giant window and not designed to sit right down at floor level, so I am going to look into using various bamboo accessories to make up a suitable transition.

Is this stuff something that can be worked like solid wood, i.e. sanded, reshaped? Talking about strand woven and obviously not the engineered ply-backed type.

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Jeremy's experiences tell us that's it's bloody hard stuff to cut, and you'll go through a couple of saw blades. 

The upside is you'll have an extremely hard wearing and durable floor. :) I can only assume it would sand like wood, but be a bloody hard job. 

 

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On the verge of ordering strand woven bamboo floor. It will be glued down with Sikaflex, to chip flooring boards in one room and onto concrete in two other rooms. I have noted the cries of anguish from various knees.

  1. Is T&G better than ClickFix for glueing down?
  2. Is wider board easier than narrow?
  3. There are a few low points with 2-3mm below norm on concrete: should I apply self levelling compound here? What is the acceptable tolerance?
  4. Noted sealing: requirement for concrete.

Thanks everybody for your help.

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1 - T&G is a lot easier when gluing down that clickfix - not so messy, quicker to lay, allows a wee bit of movement, etc

 

2 - IIRC, I used boards around 130mm wide.  I found this an ideal width, especially when it came to cutting in around doorways etc

 

3 - You can easily make up 2 to 3mm with the adhesive, so I'd not worry about a few small low points, unless they were large in area (i.e. much more than the width of a board in diameter), in which case I'd probably look at filling them and getting them flat, first..

4 - Yes, sealing the concrete helps a lot and makes the adhesive far easier to spread, too.

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Good timing bringing this thread back up.

I am now potentially going to have electric UFH, in place of the panel heaters that I originally specified. My thinking is that if I am going to go direct-electric heating, might as well make it reasonably elegant. I am hoping that with the levels of insulation I have got, and the small size of the build, the running costs should not amount to too much.

 

I noticed upthread that Jeremy pointed out that his low temp UFH would not subject the flooring to anything that it wouldn't get from the sun on a hot day... but I presume that electric UFH is a different kettle of fish? More of a high temperature point heat source, and therefore more liable to cause problems?

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Not really.  If you look at the temperature the floor needs to be to deliver the heat required to the room in the depths of winter it will probably be no higher than around 24 to 25 deg C even in a house just built to building regs energy requirements.

 

Our floor by the French windows can easily reach 35 deg C on a warm sunny day, so way hotter than any UFH will ever get.  I think there's a load of tosh going around about UFH causing damage, as how many UFH systems run the floor surface at anything like the temperature it would get to when exposed to hot sun in summer?  At our present house, the laminate flooring just inside the south-facing back door gets hot enough to singe your feet if we leave the back door open.  I've never measured it, but would guess that it's way over 45 deg C.

Edited by JSHarris
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5 hours ago, JSHarris said:

At our present house, the laminate flooring just inside the south-facing back door gets hot enough to singe your feet if we leave the back door open.  I've never measured it, but would guess that it's way over 45 deg C.

Has it faded at all there.  Can't say I noticed the floor when I was there, which is a good thing.  I tend to notice things that are wrong, not right.

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We're having Bamboo on the top floor. It will be loose laid and I intend getting the uniclic as I think it will be easier to lay.  I was wondering what underlay to use as I think it will be a bit noisy when you walk around on it.  Also wondering what thickness of Bamboo to get.  I notice that Bamboo Flooring Co,  do a 10 mm thick which I think would be fine!

Interested to know what others have used.

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