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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,
A customer recently asked me to install a Supreme Bamboo pre-finished solid wood floor in their home. The stuff looks ok, and runs about $1.99/sq ft. I was wondering if anyone has installed it and if it is any good? The price almost seems to good to be true. Thanks.
 

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I put down whatever the customer wants to buy, but make sure they know upfront, if they have warranty issues, I'll be no aid in them dealing with them. I've laid lumber liquidators woods before. They're cheap for a reason. Sure wouldn't be my choice in my own home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
^ Thanks for the heads up! Good point in being sure to remind the home owner the that warranty issues are their problem on material they buy. Thanks. Have any recommendations on where to get good quality bamboo?
 

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We installed about 50,000 feet of that stuff on a loft conversion project. It was o.k. to work with, about like any hardwood floor. Developers sell it as a "green" product, since bamboo is a renewable resource. (they don't talk much about the energy it takes to ship it over from China)
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As I remember it comes 4 ways, natural vertical, natural horizontal, Carbonized vertical and Carbonized horizontal. We did the natural vertical.

It has pretty much the same properties as wood, swells if it get wet etc. The only issues I remember having were some shading issues in a few of the units, bet to get it all from the same run, as with any flooring product. I do remember it was cheap, and apparently hasn't gone up much, that's about what we paid for it 5 years ago.
 

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^ Thanks for the heads up! Good point in being sure to remind the home owner the that warranty issues are their problem on material they buy. Thanks. Have any recommendations on where to get good quality bamboo?

I buy the majority of my wood from Lockwood flooring in St Louis. I've only laid a couple bamboo jobs. Here in rural MO, people are not overly impressed with the green movement.

To add to what mudpad said about bamboo. The other thing you don't hear much about with bamboo is how invasive it is. In a lot of areas, it will crowd out more valuable eco friendly vegetation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the info guys! That's interesting about it being invasive too, I'd never heard that.
 

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Also a note on the 'green' part, just what holds it all together? It's being kept together with something that ain't very eco-friendly, I'm betting.:thumbsup:
 

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My 2 cents on bamboo

Take this for what it's worth. All bamboo is not the same. I can't speak specifically aobut the LL stuff, but there is a lot of cheap stuff on the market.

1. The best quality bamboo only grows in a few places on earth. Because of popularity lately a lot has been harvested from any place they can grow it, whcih is about anywhere.

2. While fast growing, the best quality stuff needs several years, 12-15 is my understanding, to grow to maturity. Harvested early, at 5-7 years, and bamboo is much softer. Good quality mature stuff is harder than white oak. I've had a shopper tell me looked at some bamboo at Home Depot and could scratch it with a thumbnail, which shouldn't happen if it is any good.

3. This is a grass, not a wood. What you are seeing with the grain is a lot of little narrow strips glued together. The quality also depends on the quality of glue used (good stuff vs whatever is cheap) and the press that is used, such as a hand press vs. hydraulic press that puts sufficient pressure on for long-term bonding.

I personally expect that we are going to hear about a lot of bamboo installations going bad 3-7 years out from the cheap crap being sold, and will give a really nice product a bad name. I bet the cheap stuff will be showing a lot of dings and will start having separation on the individual pieces, but that's just my guess.

Helped install 400 SF in a bedroom of a client about 2 or 3 years ago. Never culled a single board. The installer talked to the HO about a year later who, out of curiousity, had soaked a scrap piece in a bucket of water for a week. Took it out, let it dry, and looked like it could be installed. I put bamboo in my master bath 3 years ago, beginning to show traces of water damage around the edge fo the shower where my wife tends to splash water and leave a puddle. Otherwise pristine.

Price-wise, expect MINIMUM $4/Sf retail for decent stuff, $4.50-4.75 is more like it. I can't say every low priced bamboo is bad, but what if you know that a good first-quality prefinished oak is $4.50 and the client tells you they got stuff for $1.99? (That's way under my wholesale cost for decent stuff.) You CAN stumble on a deal now and then, but mostly you are buying cabin grade, tavern grade, or worse.

P.S. This is usually 5/8" so you need an attachment or gun that will nail 5/8".
 

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Take this for what it's worth. All bamboo is not the same. I can't speak specifically aobut the LL stuff, but there is a lot of cheap stuff on the market.

1. The best quality bamboo only grows in a few places on earth. Because of popularity lately a lot has been harvested from any place they can grow it, whcih is about anywhere.

2. While fast growing, the best quality stuff needs several years, 12-15 is my understanding, to grow to maturity. Harvested early, at 5-7 years, and bamboo is much softer. Good quality mature stuff is harder than whaite oak. I've had a shopper tell me looked at some bamboo at Home Depot and could scratch it with a thumbnail, which shouldn't happen if it is any good.

3. This is a grass, not a wood. What you are seeing with the grain is a lot of little narrow strips glued together. The quality also depends on the quality of glue used (good stuff vs whatever is cheap) and the press that is used, such as a hand press vs. hydraulic press that puts sufficient pressure on for long-term bonding.

I personally expect that we are going to hear about a lot of bamboo installations going bad 3-7 years out from the cheap crap being sold, and will give a really nice product a bad name. I bet the cheap stuff will be showing a lot of dings and will start having separation on the individual pieces, but that's just my guess.

Helped install 400 SF in a bedroom of a client about 2 or 3 years ago. Never culled a single board. The installer talked to the HO about a year later who, out of curiousity, had soaked a scrap piece in a bucket of water for a week. Took it out, let it dry, and looked like it could be installed. I put bamboo in my master bath 3 years ago, beginning to show traces of water damage around the edge fo the shower where my wife tends to splash water and leave a puddle. Otherwise pristine.

Your post reiterates what my sales rep told me. Not all bamboos are created equal.

We installed about 1400 ft of glue down on a slab a couple years ago. It was 5/8" thick in 7"ish planks. Contractor supplied & he's know for saving a nickle where ever he can, so I suspect it was cheapo stuff. Looked fine when we were finished, but haven't heard anything since.

Also done a recoat a few years back using tycoat & streetshoe. Big dogs had really scratched it up. More dents in the bamboo itself than the finish. Don't see me ever using bamboo in anything I own & doubt I'll ever push it at a client that's undecided. Not very impressed.
 

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Glued down solid?

Pinwheel:

He had you glue down 5/8" solid on concrete? Same thing as gluing solid oak or whatever, almost guaranteed to fail.

Don't judge all bamboo by "builder grade" (i.e., the cheapest crap they could find). The good stuff is an excellent product.

Went in a Japanese restaurant about 3 months ago. Lady had wanted me to do a glue down solid bamboo when it was being fitted up about 5 years ago, told her it wouldn't work. Also had her head explode at the price of what it would cost to do the job with a decent bamboo, which we could have done in a floating floor.

This floor was a mess when I had dinner there. Big hunks missing or torn up, color variation all over, individual planks AND pieces separating. To people who notice those things it really looked bad. Probably to her it's just hunky dory. I kept stubbing my foot where I was sitting on a piece that had "heaved," for lack of a better description.

Ditto on the invasive part. EXTREMELY so. If you put it in your backyard it will be a constant fight to save the rest of your yard within a couple of years. I'd be unhappy with a neighbor who planted it.
 

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Pinwheel:

He had you glue down 5/8" solid on concrete? Same thing as gluing solid oak or whatever, almost guaranteed to fail.

One of those deals where the contractor supplied all the materials & I done what I was told. Got paid in a timely manner & assumed no warranty liability. I got the feeling, talking to the forman that he thought he was buying a locking floor & was planning to float it & have his guys do the work themselves, but when it came in, it was tongue & grove & he couldn't return it. I'm pretty sure it was lumber liquidators wood, but don't know that for sure.

He performed a ph test & supplied mvp & bostiks best. I've only put down 2 glue down floors thus far. One was engineered below grade & this one. I'm more of a solid wood nailed to subfloor kinda guy than anything. Do an occasional floating floor, but not many.
 

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Glad you got paid

Pinwheel:

Glad you got paid, at least. Solid shouldn't ever be glued to concrete, should have used engineered or floated it. This floor will probably fail - keep the paper that said you weren't guaranteeing it since he directed you to do it that way. This GC sounds like 80% of other builders, only looking at "it was cheap."
 

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Pinwheel:

Glad you got paid, at least. Solid shouldn't ever be glued to concrete, should have used engineered or floated it. This floor will probably fail - keep the paper that said you weren't guaranteeing it since he directed you to do it that way. This GC sounds like 80% of other builders, only looking at "it was cheap."

On file baby:thumbup:.

Like I said, I have little experience with glue down floors & to be honest with ya, don't care to get a ton more experience. I hate glue down. But if ya don't mind my askin, what kind of failure am I looking at? Will it let go? Will it cup, or what? How would a guy go about floating a tongue grove floor?

Part of the reason I'm asking, is I've got a new to me home that was built on a slab. Slab's 15-20 years old. I've got random width, reclaimed cypress that I was planning to glue down in the living room. My plan was MVP to the concrete & bostiks best to glue the floor down. Going on my sales reps recomendation here.
 

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Don't think you can

Pinwheel:

I'm not an expert, but I don't think you are going to be successful gluing any kind of solid to concrete. Sounds like you have a nice wood, so I'm afraid you would ruin it and be a cast-iron B**** to take up eventually.

I've never heard of anyone floating regular 3/4 solid, but I have floated engineered, which is made for that. With engineered you would want the slab LEVEL, no dips or rolls, usually something like 1/4" in 6' or 10'. Put down a moisture barrier and use a really good pad like on laminate. NOT the cheapie foam. The pad I used was a high-end laminate pad with a foil moisture barrier on the back. Then the engineered wood is glued on the T&G like laminate was done 7-8 years ago or older.

Think I would consider a new sales rep if he's steering you down this road.

Haven't really seen glued-down solid floors except in photos. The wood has to move and gluing to concrete prevents any expansion and contraction with the consequences you would expect, cracks, chipped corners, buckling, etc.. Also, concrete continues to leech moisture, so if there isn't a moisture barrier there is potential damage from that. Depends on how much the slab leeches water vapor. Wood may also absorb some moisture from the glue. There are some threads on here that discuss it and have photos in detail. One had an extensive discussion of vapor barrier alternatives.

One alternative is to put down a plywood subfloor or nailers on the concrete, then nail to that. I think that's a lousy solution for lots of reasons. If I were you, I would consider seeing if I could trade the wood you have for an engineered, or sell it and use the proceeds for a suitable wood. Not a good solution, but that's my two cents. Good luck whatever you do.
 

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yes,I installed it

It was from LL ~ customers choice, no variations in length~ I think they were all 3'L x 2.5"w x 5/8"th . It is a "thin" veneer laminated over mixed hardwood . looks good (not my style) but it is $1.99 for a reason. If something drops on it and causes a gouge it will be noticeable and can not be surface repaired. The installation was just like the other hardwood flooring but if it were me - I wouldn't put it down because it is not a true product all the way through.

PS: I Agree with Mr G above you are asking for trouble with that glue down your thinking about! will turn out to be a nightmare later on
Brian
 

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Gram, The MVP is a moisture barrier & the bostiks best is waterproof once cured. The MVP is an elastomeric, so it remains flexible & should move with the wood. The bostiks best also remains pliable. The only people I've discussed this with is the reps from Lockwood flooring, my supplier, & they had a glue down of solid wood on their showroom floor in St Louis. Had been down for a couple years before their building was flooded last summer. They said they still had a heck of a time getting the flood damaged wood pulled back up. According to him, the glue did not fail.

My biggest concern is that my wood is 5, 7, 9 & 11" widths. My experience with wide wood is it's hard to keep it flat with the changing of humidity. Cypress is a soft wood, like fir, so I don't know that it'll have as much cupping strength as a harder wood.
 

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Pays your money, takes your chances

Gram, The MVP is a moisture barrier & the bostiks best is waterproof once cured. The MVP is an elastomeric, so it remains flexible & should move with the wood. The bostiks best also remains pliable. The only people I've discussed this with is the reps from Lockwood flooring, my supplier, & they had a glue down of solid wood on their showroom floor in St Louis. Had been down for a couple years before their building was flooded last summer. They said they still had a heck of a time getting the flood damaged wood pulled back up. According to him, the glue did not fail.

My biggest concern is that my wood is 5, 7, 9 & 11" widths. My experience with wide wood is it's hard to keep it flat with the changing of humidity. Cypress is a soft wood, like fir, so I don't know that it'll have as much cupping strength as a harder wood.
Pin:

Like I say, I'm not an expert and Lord knows there are thousands of products out there I'm ignorant on. Just in general I know solid glued to concrete usually ends up trouble, but maybe they have a system that works. I don't know much about two-part moisture barrier/glues. I understand the MVP is the barrier and a lot of people like it. If you float it, you want to use a vapor barrier pad I mentioned. As I said, I've never seen floating 3/4 solid.

Your climate is a lot like mine in KY, I assume. As a rule of thumb we try to discourage people from solid over 4" wide because of the cupping problem. I won't say no way to someone who wants a wider plank, but it is another issue that's probably going to happen unless the home has a humidity control thingy in it. The cypress tends to ooze sap, too, doesn't it? Is that impacted by temp & humidity?

I took up glued down engineered for an insurance job once, wife had thrown a pan of burning grease on the floor. Second meanest thing I believe I've ever worked with. Whoever had installed it had used at least two different glues. One came up fairly easy, I think was contact cement. The majority was a huge pain. Tried drilling holes in it and pouring in various solvents. If you could get enough solvent in it would loosen the glue, but generally couldn't get enough under the wood. The aluminum oxide dulled even a new diamond bit within drilling 20 holes, went to cutting with a circular saw. Used 14-1/2 gallons solvent on 270 SF. Most required a hammer and chisel to come up.

Moral of the story, if anyone ever wants you to take up glued down wood, test it and be ready to pass.
 

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I'm sure there is quality bamboo out there, but what I have seen is pretty bad.

In one house we had to move a hutch in a room that had bamboo laid down 3 months prior. This room gets lots of sun. The area under the hutch was more than just a few shades darker than the rest of the floor. They won't be able to change the arrangement of furniture in that room without having to deal with dark patches everywhere. Also it was very easily nicked and scratched.

Another place I looked at had severe shrinkage problems. The cheap stuff is not stable at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
^Thanks guys! I really appreciate all the info. I know this particular customer pretty well, I think I'll try to steer him in another direction, at least to some better bamboo.
 

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^Thanks guys! I really appreciate all the info. I know this particular customer pretty well, I think I'll try to steer him in another direction, at least to some better bamboo.
What are their reasons for wanting bamboo? Renewable? If so, be sure to point out, that oaks & a lot of other species are being farmed very similar to bamboo. Takes a little longer to grow, but it still being replanted in place of trees harvested. A large portion of the oak made into flooring is from regenerated trees for that very purpose. No less environmentally friendly than bamboo.
 
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