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Strand woven prefinished Bamboo acclimation period?

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Forum topic by Canofworms posted 06-17-2014 10:42 AM 720 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Canofworms

83 posts in 168 days


06-17-2014 10:42 AM

So I bought 550 s/f strand woven prefinished bamboo floor from lumber liquidators.
They were very clear that I needed to let it acclimate for 3-4 weeks with an absolute minimum of 2 weeks in the house before installing.
The instructions then go on to state that it needs to be installed with humidity of 6-9% in the house.
This is nice looking material and if installed correctly it should last a lifetime with 2 or three refinishes left in it.
Also it janka hardness rating is twice that of oak.
The installer said it doesn’t matter and three or four days should be enough.
I think the people who make it and sell it are probably correct, what would they get for making me wait other than a good install and a happy customer?
The installer on the other hand would get paid quicker.


34 replies so far

View Nomad62's profile

Nomad62

716 posts in 1624 days


#1 posted 06-17-2014 03:33 PM

I’m thinking your thinking is the right thinking.
Hit the wrong button there. Anyway, I’d go with the manufacturers suggestions as well. It can’t hurt to let it set and acclimate, and if you hurry it and the project fails, who’s going to pay for it?

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

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Hammerthumb

1327 posts in 641 days


#2 posted 06-17-2014 10:10 PM

It would be almost impossible to get humidity between 6 & 9% in a house. Typical for the desert climate I live in is 25%.
I believe the instructions will state that the moisture content of the bamboo must be between 6 & 9%. This is typical for wood flooring as stated by NWFA and NOFMA (wood flooring associations) and most manufacturers.
After having install hundreds of thousands of sqft of wood flooring in the desert climate, what I can tell you about wood acclimation is that there is no set time you must wait. I will depends on too many factors, ie. moisture content of the wood when received, relative humidity and temperature while stored, etc.
Another thing I can tell you about bamboo is that it is the only wood flooring product that arrives prefinished on the bottom side. This is because bamboo in an unfinished state will rapidly aquire and release moisture. As the material is shipped on containers from China, this has been used as a precaution to try to prevent the material from accumulating moisture on its way here.
One other note, strand bamboo has been known to have checking problems in dry climates. As I don’t know your location, I don’t know if this will impact you.

Good luck.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

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Canofworms

83 posts in 168 days


#3 posted 06-17-2014 10:37 PM

I’m in the northeast where it is humid in the summer. If it checks I can refinish it.
What I really want to avoid is separation.
There’s nothing worse than a crappy separated prefinished floor.
So the sales person was talking out of his ear when he said the house had to be 5-10%.
Good. The instructions said the floor and the wood floor it is going on needs to be within a certain percentage humidity of each other.
I bought a moisture meter on amazon that got 4 stars across 100+ reviews.
I’m putting this on old pine floors that I primed with oil based stain blocker last week. I b able to read moisture through that?

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Canofworms

83 posts in 168 days


#4 posted 06-17-2014 11:37 PM

Ok. Let me throw a few ideas out here.
In theory I can install it once the subfloor and the bamboo are within a few % moisture of each other.
BUT… It will be difficult to guage that because the bamboo is finished on both sides And the old pine subfloor is oil primed.
The bamboo is in cardboard boxes and wrapped in plastic the directions say to remove the plastic but leave it in the box so it doesn’t warp as it dries.
Could I expedite the equalization by running a dehumidifier?
Should I put the material for each room in that room as the rooms will have different humidities?
No cac and the place is currently vacant.

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Hammerthumb

1327 posts in 641 days


#5 posted 06-17-2014 11:44 PM

Pin type moisture meters are the most accurate. As far as the substrate, NWFA recommends that they be no more than 4% different than the wood floor that is going over them, so test both the substrate and the bamboo. In environments that see high humidity swings, a floor can be put in too tight. Gym floors in Florida usually have expansion built into them during install by using washers as spacers every 4th or 5th run, so gaps are built into the floor. It is also possible to control the humidity levels in a house with de-humidifiers in the months that need it. Usually heating and AC systems will keep levels in the house from varying too much. Most of my experience is here in the Las Vegas desert, but to give you an idea about the difference between inside and outside humidity – I have inspected many hardwood floors here for claims against defects. During inspection, it is always noted the outside, as well as inside humidity levels. It is typical for our desert to have a outside humidity level of 4 or 5% on some days with an average day being about 12%. Even on dry days, interior home inspection levels are rarely below 25%. The added moisture inside a house is due to cooking, showers, pets water bowls, etc. That being said, I would not expect a humid climate home environment to have 70 to 80 percent humidity inside – even when it is raining.

Sorry to be long winded, so what I recommend you do is use the moisture meter to test the materials to make sure the substrate and flooring are within 4% prior to installation. During acclimation, take moisture measurements of the flooring every day, or every other day. When the moisture measurement stops changing, that is when the material is acclimated and ready to install.

Almost forgot one thing, some of the manufacturers of bamboo recommend that the boxes of material be cross stacked inside the home, and to tear the ends of the boxes open to allow the material to breath. That is another thing about bamboo compared to all other wood flooring. It is the only material that comes wrapped in cellophane.
All of this is typical of most bamboo manufactures, but please read the instructions that come from the manufacturer. If you ever have a claim on the material, they will question whether you followed them.

Good luck.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

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Hammerthumb

1327 posts in 641 days


#6 posted 06-17-2014 11:53 PM

By the way, moisture meters will read thru the finish (non-invasive). Pin type meters need to have the pins pressed into the wood. A good pin type meter will have pins that can reach at least 3/8” depth.

I would not recommend trying to dry the wood out with a de-humidifier to speed up the process. The wood needs to reach equilibrium with the environment it will live in. If you dried the wood out too much and installed it, it might then expand enough to come up off the floor.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

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BentheViking

1752 posts in 1230 days


#7 posted 06-19-2014 01:44 AM

canofworms. I am a store manager of a LL store and the store is totally right about the bamboo.

Did the installer buy the floor? Is it the installers house? Assuming no on both counts then I wouldn’t let him make your decision. I have met with plenty of “professional installers” that know diddly squat about flooring, even less about prefinished, and even less on bamboo.

Correct about the moisture content of the material and that it should be within a few percent of the subflooring for install. Longterm the big thing is that flooring should be kept a a humidity of 30-50% with a temp of 60 to 80 degrees. Need help controlling it? Pick up a hydrogemeter which is sold in the bellawood floor care system.

Important to know whether or not your doing a click together bamboo or one that would be nailed or glued down. Click can be super super sensitive and the proper acclimation is even more so important. Nailed down products are a bit more forgiving, but the proper nail gun must be used (most installers don’t have the proper gun. Don’t just let him use the one he’s always used. It will probably dimple your floor). Glue is usually the best way to install and one of my installers glues all bamboos regardless if its T&G or click and regardless of how its installed.

Regardless of the type of the install method hammerthumb is right that its finished on all sides. Bamboo is also usually wrapped in plastic on the inside or outside of the box. Just acclimating it is not enough. If there is plastic outside the box throw it away and then open the end flaps. If there is plastic on the inside of the box (not too common anymore) then open the end flaps and remove the plastic from the ends, but leave it in the box.

I could give a lot more info, but this is a great starting point. If you have any questions please let me know either on this forum or PM me. If you want me to look your order over I will be glad to do so just PM me your info.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

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Canofworms

83 posts in 168 days


#8 posted 06-19-2014 01:55 AM

Thank you guys.
I told him it needs to acclimate and told him why. He said OK and that was it.
I got the boxes on the second floor of the house. They are all laying flat in an unconditioned room with a ceiling fan blowing high and the windows closed.
I layed all 18 boxes flat side by side and opened each then removed the inside plastic and left boxes open.
The house is currently not air conditioned, but will be when we move in.
Should I throw a window a/c in each room and set the thermostat to 70?
I ordered a moisture sensor that people use for hardwood.
I also have a dehumidifier that has a digital readout. I could set it to 40% and put in hallway with all room doors open?
We’ve had temps in the 90s with high humidity.
What do you think?

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Hammerthumb

1327 posts in 641 days


#9 posted 06-19-2014 02:10 AM

Agree with Ben about most installers not having the right training, and about the RH levels in the home. It is very important that the wood acclimates to the conditions it will live in. If it is hot where you are and plan on putting in AC at a later date, you might think about postponing the install until the AC is hooked up.

By the way, the wood flooring industry has been making an effort in recent years to unify guidelines for installers as was done in the tile industry 25-30 years ago. I highly recommend that you hire a NWFA certified installer.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

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BentheViking

1752 posts in 1230 days


#10 posted 06-19-2014 02:28 AM

If I were you I’d try and get the house set to the temperature and humidty that it will ultimately live at. If your gonna have AC then get the AC going. If you plan to keep it AC’d at 60 then set it to 60 not 78. Acclimation time doesn’t start until these conditions are met.

Glad you agreed to terms with the installer. Realistically with the bamboo the longer you can leave it to acclimate the better. You haven’t answered whether or not the bamboo is going to be nailed, glued, or clicked as install differs for all three.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

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TheFridge

845 posts in 152 days


#11 posted 06-19-2014 03:04 AM

Yep. What he says.

-- "We build our workshops. Then we enjoy the fruits of our labor by laboring for more fruits." - Me

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Canofworms

83 posts in 168 days


#12 posted 06-19-2014 03:12 AM

We would most likely keep the a/c at 70 degrees and the heat at the same.

I guess I should get those window units running.
We will eventually get central air, but not this year.

That sucks to have to cool a house I aint living in yet.

As far as nail, glue, click? It says its click so I assume click.

Once it is installed, if we go away on vacation and turn off the a/c does it get ruined?
I read the detailed instructions and it asks for an expansion gap on all four sides.

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Canofworms

83 posts in 168 days


#13 posted 06-19-2014 09:22 PM

Ok. So now I. Have a question about this other floor..
It’s cumaru: Brazilian teak solid prefinished floor. I want to install it over a lemonade porch that is enclosed.
Sense that space is enclosed I might run and air-conditioning but I wouldn’t run it all the time at all just when I’m in the room. The floors not insulated underneath it but this winter I might insulate and at thermopane windows.

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Hammerthumb

1327 posts in 641 days


#14 posted 06-19-2014 09:45 PM

You will have problems with that floor. Temperature and humidity swings in that kind of environment will create wood expansion and contraction. If the floor is put in tight, in one season you will have gaps in the floor. This is why they build in gaps in decking and don’t put it in tight.

You had a prior question about vacationing and turning off climate control. This is not recommended for the same reason as the porch.

Once the environment and the wood acclimate and the wood is installed, the wood cannot tolerate humidity or temperature swings without having issues. The issues might be minor like seasonal gaps in the floor, but could also be major issues like face checking of the finish, flooring losing bond with the substrate, etc.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

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Canofworms

83 posts in 168 days


#15 posted 06-20-2014 01:36 AM

So what is the solution?
Don’t use tropical wood?
If I use prefinished solid maple, oak or hickory would I have the same problem?

As far as the strandwoven bamboo, it is click on the sides and the ends. So wouldn’t the click keep it from separating?
Should I leave it floating?

As far as the teak would I be better off putting it in in high heat moderate humidity like 60% so the problem I get it gaps rather than buckling?

Or should I just chuck all this stuff and get some oak?

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