Bamboo Floor Troubleshooting

Discussion in 'Hardwood and Laminates Q&A' started by aaotten, Apr 23, 2014.

  1. aaotten

    aaotten New Member

    Hey Floor Experts-

    I installed a bamboo floor on the first level of my house last August. I left a 1/4" gap around as instructed so as to allow for expansion/contraction. This winter, my floor shrunk so much that the baseboard and quarter-round didn't cover the gap!!! I was able to figure out a way to cover those gaps but I am having trouble when it comes to dealing with that gap in front of three specific door frames.

    As you can see in the pictures, there is still a significant gap between where the floor ends and the trim of the door frame is. (Those gaps were 1/4" in August).

    Does anyone have any clever ideas about how to bridge that gap between the floor and the door while still allowing for expansion (hopefully not more contraction)????

    Thanks guys!!!


    Attached Files:

  2. Tom Frykman

    Tom Frykman Pro Member

    This happens regularly with bamboo. Do you have any leftover material?

    Those gaps are significant. If possible, I'd replace the pieces at the doors, and unless the shrinking was that significant, it doesn't appear that you did much undercutting of the door jambs and casings to fit your flooring under it. I'd do that as well - it will look a lot more professional.

    You can also replace the threshold with a wider one, and for the sliding door, if you can replace that bamboo piece, leave an expansion gap and use a dark brown caulk to fill the gap.
  3. Chris Mha

    Chris Mha Charter Member Senior Member

    Keep in mind that if the flooring was able to shrink that much, it will also be able to expand that much. I personally have given up on Bamboo. Proper acclimation can take forever and most of my clients aren't willing to wait months.
  4. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    We have a bamboo job next week, my brother dropped it off yesterday, installing Monday I think, is that enough acclimation? I don't know yet if it's gluedown, probably, but gapping slightly is not as noticeable as to when collectively locked together and shows at perimeter.
    I was wondering this today, will this bamboo expand to fill the gaps, or has it permanently shrunk to it's sustained level?
  5. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    I'm pretty sure the the material shrunk as we can see in those photos due to drying out. Hard to say if there was proper testing and acclimation done during the original install. I think the best thing to do here is to RE-humidify the bamboo. I suggest filling up 3 or 4 five gallons pails about 3/4 full of piping hot water and then dumping them out onto the bamboo. It's best to do this on a Friday. This way you can come back Monday or Tuesday to see if the bamboo has RE-acclimated and expanded to fill those horrible voids around all the walls.

    If this doesn't work you might want to go ahead and repeat the process every weekend or so until the bamboo reaches equilibrium.

    Yes, I'm joking.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2014
  6. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Why is this only Bamboo that shrinks drastically? In my opinion if there is such a dramatic change in size, then the Moisture content has not stabilized at the manufacturers site before it should ever ship out to be installed in any region of the country.
    Is this a certain manufacturer that's giving the rest of the bamboo manufacturers a bad rap ? Aside from it scratching easily and can't be refinished I'll stick to mowing it and smoking it, no I don't like either.
    The one job that I heard shrank from our shop was replaced, I assume the manufacturer replaced. Sorry for your situation.
  7. Dan Schultz

    Dan Schultz Certified Wood Floor Inspector Charter Member

    It just has a larger shrinkage coefficient than hardwoods and therefore shrinks more. This means it will also swell more if it gains moisture.

    If bamboo is installed in a tropical region, without HVAC, it is likely somewhat stable. Unfortunately, it is marketed in areas that are not tropical and do have HVAC.
  8. Dan Schultz

    Dan Schultz Certified Wood Floor Inspector Charter Member

    To the original poster:

    Aaoten, keep in mind you installed this material in August. Since that time, I suspect your heating system has been running. I would not make any changes until August due to the potentially higher humidity your home may experience during the summer months.

    The key is a stable relative humidity environment.
  9. phil verre

    phil verre Pro Member

    I was under the impression its not a matter of how long you acclimate the wood/bamboo, it has more to do with the relative humidity in the room. If you acclimate product in a room with 80% r.h. for a month you still have a humidty problem that will be evident when the heat comes on and the boards shrink.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2014
  10. Bud Cline

    Bud Cline Tile Expert Charter Member Senior Member Published

    HOLY CRAP !!!
    That's the first time in all of my years that I have heard THAT recommendation.

    Is this house on a slab?
    Is there a basement or a crawl space?
    Is the drywall raised above the floor surface?
    Do the door jambs and casings sit on the subfloor?
    Ever heard of a humidifier?
    What am I missing here?
    Someone please teach me about this intentional "dumping buckets of water on a floor to re-humidify a room" technique. This is new to me.

    That suggestion is a HIGH RISK JOKE for a DIY forum. It has my heart palpitating dramatically.

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