A New Bamboo Floor

2008 begins with a terrific improvement here at the Urban Homestead – a new bamboo floor in the office!

Our journey started when I read Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan’s compelling book, “Apartment Therapy: The Eight Step Home Cure.” Along with some great ideas for simplifying one’s home environment and paring down one’s possessions, the author suggests indentifying the room in our house that bugs us the most; he then gently guides readers on how to “cure” the space. In my case, the room with the most problems happened to be the space where I spend at least 50% of my time — my home office. For starters, the floor was covered with the grungiest, worn, dog-hair and lint-laden, impossible-to-clean shag carpeting. Think I’m exaggerating? Take a gander at THIS:

oldcarpet1.jpg

When our professional carpet cleaner said he simply couldn’t get the scuzzy carpet any cleaner, I decided to have it removed and install a strong, clean, sustainable floor of bamboo. Bamboo is harder and stronger than most hardwoods and is a highly-renewable resource; bamboo is one of the fasted growing plants in the world, and it can be harvested in 3 to 5 years, versus 10 to 50 years for trees. Bamboo also generates 33% more oxygen than trees, and I loved the look of the 4-inch planks.  I ordered the flooring and installation services from my home-away-from-home, Lowe’s.

However, like so many home improvement projects, we soon discovered that this one wasn’t going to be simple. When the carpeting and floorboards were removed, the installer showed me that due to the ground under the house settling the floor had “dropped” several inches on two sides of the room. (No wonder the filing cabinet always opened itself!) What’s more, there was a sizeable gap between the subfloor and the adjacent garage floor, which was leaking cold air into the room. (No wonder my feet were always cold!) To deal with the gap, I lay on my stomach on the floor and carefully sprayed expandable insulating foam in the gap:

floorgap.jpg

Next, Dino from Focus on Floors (who has to be just about the Cutest Floor Guy on the Planet) mixed and poured a leveling compound on the floors. He had to do this process twice, allowing some time between applications for the mixture to dry:

dino.jpg

Finally, the subfloor was ready. The new bamboo flooring was installed, we let it dry for 24 hours and moved the furniture back in. This change has absolutely transformed the room, and now I don’t have any excuses — it’s time to get busy and productive in the office!

newfloor.jpg

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

4 comments to A New Bamboo Floor

  • Kevin,

    Nope, we don’t have gaps between the flooring. I was instructed to open the boxes that the bamboo floorboards came in and let them acclimate in our dry Colorado air for several weeks before the floor was installed. Did your installer have you do that?

    Eliza

  • Kevin

    Do you have spaces between your floorboards and do some of the boards move/have some give? I just got it installed and there is already dirt buil,ding up between the floorboards.

  • Herb Ben Ohmsteader

    I love when you go in front of us on projects such as these, to present us a preview of the surprises that we may find ourselves should we elect to go where no man or woman in this here house has ever gone before. How you were ever able to stomach the gap in the floor was beyond me. Dino looks like a level headed guy, like he can handle the job. And I am sure you are pleased that there were in fact no ghosts in the file cabinet after all, (or maybe sad?). I did not know how rambunctiously green Bamboo is for the planet. All and all, a good project to read about. The results look good. Goodbye suspicious coupon offerings from carpet cleaners!!! Herb

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