Wood & Bamboo Installation Guide

Wood Flooring Has a Comfort Level Too

Wood flooring will perform best when the interior environment is controlled to stay within a relative humidity range of 30% to 50% and a temperature range 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately, that is about the same comfort range most humans enjoy. (National Wood Flooring Association)

Read the Instructions

Nobody knows your product better than the manufacturer. Always read and follow their complete installation instructions. If instructions were not included in the box, stop and contact the retailer or manufacturer.

Inspect to Know What to Expect

Take the time to look at the area to be installed. Observe the areas of application outlined in the installation guidelines. It is always best to address issues before the project begins.


The moisture level content of the wood and subfloor must be within 2% points of each other and the subfloor must not exceed 12%.

Important: For proper acclimation, material must achieve room temperature (65-80 degrees F) for 24 hours prior to installation.

How Do I Store It? Store according to the manufacturers instructions. The instructions will specify whether to store opened or unopened, and whether to store in the center of the room or at the edges.

Climate Control
Climate control might be the single most common reason for customer dissatisfaction. It is critical the proper temperature and humidity are maintained throughout the life of the installation. Improper climate control will result in material swelling in the summer and shrinking (gapping) in the winter. Follow the manufacturers guidelines or refer to the general NWFA guidelines.

Important: Without proper climate control within the home, gapping and shrinking will occur.

How Do I Test? There are simple temperature gauges that include a relative humidity reading (ex: ExTech #44550 is available on-line at extech. com).

How Can You Control Relative Humidity? There are two basic options, a portable unit (average cost around $500-$1000) or a unit that ties into your heating and AC system (average cost $2,000 to $4,000).


Floating Floors

Expansion Gap

Floating floors expand and contract monolithicly. There must be enough space left at vertical surfaces such as walls and posts to allow for this movement. The larger the area the more space is required. Some constructions (ex: multi core engineered) expand and contract less than solid wood flooring.

Important: Always leave an expansion gap. The expansion gap is covered with wall base and/or quarter round.

How Do You Create an Expansion Gap? During installation spacers are placed at vertical surfaces and removed after the installation is complete.

Expansion Joint

Expansion joints are almost always required between rooms, where a room meets a hall, or in large expanses..

Important: Leave proper space for expansion.

How Do You Create an Expansion Joint? Expansion joints are created by separating the two areas with a space for expansion and contraction. A “T-Mold” is installed to cover the expansion space and still allow for movement.


Moisture Control

Moisture Content in Concrete Subfloor
Moisture in the concrete subfloor, as hydostatic pressure or as vapor emissions, is a major reason for flooring failures.

Important: Concrete Subfloor moisture must not exceed 65% relative humidity.

How Do I Test? There are several moisture meters that provide an indication of moisture content. There are also probe systems that provide accurate readings. There is also a Calcium Chloride test and less quantitative rubber mat tests.

How To Control the Moisture: There are two basic methods of controlling moisture; membranes (example: VersaShield) and coatings and moisture cured adhesives (example: WF Taylor MS-Plus).

Glue-Down Flooring

Proper Adhesive

It is critical that you follow the manufacture’s recommendation for adhesive. They know their products best. However, there are some universal Wood/Bamboo adhesives available (ex: WF Taylor’s MS-Plus).

Important: Use the proper adhesive and apply with the recommended trowel.

Nail-Down Flooring

Proper Nail Length

Proper nail length and gauge is determined by the manufacturer and subfloor thickness

Important: It is critical that the proper gauge (thickness) of nail or staple is used. When using a pneumatic nailer pay close attention to proper PSI settings.

Natural Products

Product Variation

Wood and Bamboo are natural products, the inherent beauty is that no two pieces are exactly alike. Natural variations are part of the beauty of the product.

Important: It is important that during installation visual aspects of each piece of material are taken into consideration.

How Do You Layout To Maximize the Natural Beauty of the Product While Minimizing Visual Differences? Always work out of multiple boxes and pay attention to date runs.

Culled Material

In every natural product, like Wood and Bamboo, there will be some pieces, that while not defective and within industry standards, are not what the consumer wants visually.

Important: Always allow overage for culled material.

How Do You Estimate Amounts of Culled Material? Generally allow 5% more material than floor space to compensate for culled material; that is an industry standard.


Scratch Resistance

Wood and Bamboo are natural products and will scratch, scuff and dent under the right conditions. Some species and some finishes are more resistant to scratches, but NO Wood or Bamboo is “scratch proof”.

Important: Scratches occur more frequently under chair legs that are small in diameter and at entry areas where abrasive dirt is drug in.

How Do You Avoid Scratching? Certain species are denser and less prone to scratching and denting. There is a n industry standard for hardness on Wood and Bamboo called the Janka Rating (janka.com). Finish is also important. Aluminum Oxide finishes are very durable and scratch resistant. Use chair protectors under furniture legs.

Moisture Content

What is the Ideal Moisture Content of the Actual Wood Product?

Every manufacturer will vary slightly, but the average approved moisture content in wood is between 6% to 9%. Although some movement can be expected even in this range, dramatic expansion and contraction can happen outside this range.

Important: Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations which are specific to their product.

How Can You Test? There are several electronic moisture meters available on the market (ex: Delmhorst DI-2100 Wood Meter). These are generally a pin probe type and provide an instant reading. It is important to know the species of wood to determine the ideal moisture content.

Face Checking

What is Face Checking?

Face Checking is long cracks in the veneer that run along the length of the board in engineered wood flooring. It typically occurs when the moisture content in the wood is incompatible with the conditions in the home.

Important: Interior relative humidity must be maintained to help avoid face checking.

How Do You Avoid Face Checking? Certain species (ex: Oak) and certain construction (ex: engineered multi core) products are less prone to checking. Choose the proper product for your climate.


How Should the Floor Be Cleaned?

Always follow manufacturer’s recommendations.

Important: Excessive moisture and harsh cleaner (high pH) can often damage the floor.