When looking to choose which floors you want for your place, you often want to find out if the floor type you select will be quiet. In this article, we’ll tell you whether or not bamboo floors are the right choice for a quiet floor.
In general, if installed properly, bamboo floors should not make very much noise. While this is generally the case with most bamboo floors, this may vary based on the way the floors have been installed, the type of subfloor being used, and the age of the bamboo floors if they have already been installed.
While many people want to ensure that their bamboo flooring stays quiet, there are a few factors that go into why they may begin to get noisy over time.
5 reasons why your bamboo floors may be noisy
As mentioned previously, you can expect your bamboo floors to be relatively quiet after installation, but here are some of the exceptions:
1. Your floors may have been installed incorrectly
While we hope that this isn’t an issue, we know that there are often times when a job isn’t completed in the proper manner. This can often happen when you are using a contractor with little to no experience, or you haven’t taken the time to vet the contractor that you’ve awarded the job to. Always ensure that you are investing time into finding the right person for your job, and preferably someone who has previous experience installing bamboo floors.
2. The type and execution of subflooring
Your subfloor sits a couple of layers below your flooring surface. There are a few different types of subflooring that can be used, including plywood, particleboard, and concrete.
While we won’t make recommendations about which subfloor you should be using, the execution of your subfloor is very important as it relates to the noise level of your bamboo floors.
NOTE: If your subfloor is uneven, there is a higher likelihood that the space between your bamboo floors and the subfloor will make a louder noise when walking on it.
3. Your subfloor is beginning to show signs of aging
In addition to the type of subfloor you’re using, the age of your subfloor can also cause your bamboo floors to begin to make noise. While this isn’t typically the case with a concrete-based subfloor, this can happen when using a wood-based subfloor (e.g. plywood, pinewood, etc.).
Be sure to keep a close eye on this if you are purchasing a home and are planning on replacing the existing floors with bamboo floors. Understanding the type and condition of the subfloor being used can help with making the right decision.
4. The nails used for installation are loose
There are a few techniques that are used for installing bamboo floors. One of the most popular techniques performed when using plywood (or other wood) subfloor is nailing the bamboo floors down.
What can often happen when nailing the bamboo planks down is that the nails are not secured correctly; this can cause the floors to become loose and shift as you’re walking on them and simultaneously make a creaking sound.
In addition, while the floors may have been nailed in properly when initially installing your bamboo floors, over time, the nails can begin to loosen or rust and will likely need to be replaced.
5. The type of footwear you have on
While this is much less common than the reasons already stated, if you have on a set of heavier shoes (i.e. a pair of heavy boots), you may notice your bamboo floors making more noise than usual. You will also notice that if any of the reasons above are the cause of your noisy floors, that the type of footwear you have on can amplify the level of noise.
In any case, we recommend that you limit the amount of walking you do on your bamboo floors when wearing a heavier set of footwear.
How to ensure your floors are installed correctly?
Very frequently, the issue of noisy bamboo floors can be taken care of if your prepare for your installation and take all of the proper steps before installing.
If you are not a flooring expert and/or have never dealt with installing a bamboo floor in the past, we highly recommend that you first reach out to an experienced contractor. While it may seem like the wisest thing to do in order to save money would be to learn how to do it yourself, you may find yourself having to pay so much more in the long run due to small mistakes that can be avoided.
The main questions you should be asking your contractor are whether or not they have had experience installing bamboo floors in the past and whether or not they can help with identifying the type of subflooring that you have in your house. This is a very important tip that can help ensure there aren’t any setbacks after the work has already been started.
TIP: If you have already purchased the flooring and are planning to simply have a contractor install the bamboo floors for you, make sure that you unpack the flooring in the room where it will be installed and let it sit there for 48 - 72 hours. This kind of flooring needs time to accimate to the environment of the room where it will be installed. If this is skipped, your floors will potentially begin to expand and/or contract after installation and will, once again, lead to creaky, noisy floors.
How to fix noisy bamboo floors?
If you’ve already installed your bamboo floors and are beginning to hear creaking sounds, there are a number of things you can do to help eliminate the noise.
These tips also apply to those that have had their bamboo floors installed for over 10 years and are beginning to hear creaking sounds when walking.
Consulting an expert
We highly recommend consulting an expert. Many contractors will offer a free estimate to come out and verify whether or not you need work done. Use this resource to ensure you are getting the right answers.
Inserting new nails or screws into your floors
Assuming you have experience with flooring installation and would like to fix the issue yourself, you may want to start with inserting new nails or screws into your floors from below, replacing or adding to the original nails that were used for installation, or filling in the gaps that are causing the bamboo planks to rub together.
Adding new nails or screws to your bamboo floors should be a relatively simple process if you’ve already used this method to install your floors. If you have access to the area beneath your bamboo floors, you can simply re-nail or screw your subfloor to the flooring surface
This will help stabilize your floors and reduce how much they shift and rub against each other.
You may also be able to replace the nails that were initially used to install the bamboo planks. This can be done by either removing the old nails and adding in new ones or adding in additional nails beside the original ones.
NOTE: This may not be needed for the entire section, but only for those planks that you've identified as the ones causing the noise.
Use carpenter’s glue and shims to fill the Gap
Another option is, if you are able to identify where the noise is coming from and see that it is being caused by a gap between two planks, using carpenter’s glue and shims to fill the gap can allow for less movement between the two planks. Be sure to measure the shim to the size of the gap in order to create a seamless fit.
Check out your warranty
Lastly, if you believe that the cause of your noisy floors has to do with the batch of floors that you received, reach out to the party where you purchase your bamboo floors from. Whether you purchased from a large retailer or directly from a manufacturer, many companies offer warranties for a specific period of time. You can potentially be in a position to have your money refunded and/or your flooring replaced.