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How do I prepare my subfloor before installing bamboo flooring?

A question that we get asked a lot is, ‘how do I prepare my subfloor before installing bamboo flooring?’  Preparing your subfloor is actually part of the bamboo flooring installation process. It is essential that your subfloor is properly prepared otherwise you are likely to have problems with your bamboo flooring in the future.

Bamboo flooring is extremely durable and versatile so can be installed over almost any type of subfloor that has been fully prepared and checked.

 

What are the different types of subfloor?

First of all, the subfloor is the existing floor in your property.  There are many different types of subfloors, including:

  • Concrete or screed
  • Joists
  • Wooden floorboards
  • Plywood
  • Chipboard
  • Bitumen

If your subfloor has been properly prepared you can install bamboo flooring onto any of the above.

 

How do I prepare my subfloor?

Check the subfloor is flat

An uneven subfloor can affect the stability of the bamboo flooring.  Check that your entire subfloor is flat using a spirit level or straight edge. Any undulations or unevenness must not be more than 3mm.  Any ridges or dips should be smoothed out using a smoothing compound.  So, if you have a wooden subfloor that is uneven, you can line it with plywood.

Check the subfloor is dry

This is especially relevant as any moisture in the subfloor can rise up and cause damage to your bamboo floor.  Use the correct moisture meter and check the readings.

  • For a wooden subfloor use a 2 Prong Moisture Meter. The reading should be 16% MC (Moisture Content) or below.
  • For a concrete subfloor use a Digital Hygrometer. It should be left in place for at least 24 hours.  The maximum reading should be 65% RH (Relative Humidity).

If your subfloor is fully not dry, do not install your bamboo flooring.  Give the subfloor sufficient time to dry naturally before testing it again.

Tramex meter being used to test for moisture in concrete sub floor Concrete moisture meter

Check the subfloor is clean

Any existing wax, oil, adhesive or paint needs to be removed from your subfloor before laying your bamboo floor. You should then clean the subfloor to ensure it is dust and dirt free.

 

Once you have made sure your subfloor is flat, level, dry and clean, you can start to install your bamboo flooring.  Further more, always read the installation instructions before fitting your bamboo floor.

Natural Bamboo Flooring - Parquet Block