Home Maintenance Warranty Accessories Contact Us




                        INSTALLATION GUIDE

Thank you for choosing Golden Arowana Bamboo Flooring! You have selected one of the highest quality bamboo floors available. As you might expect, Wellmade is always looking for ways to improve the quality of our products and related services. Please carefully read the following in order to ensure that you know what to expect, and so that you can enjoy your new bamboo floor for many years to come.

Please keep in mind that bamboo flooring will scratch and dent like any other hardwood flooring. Therefore, you will need to decide if bamboo/hardwood is suitable flooring for your home or lifestyle. Because bamboo is a natural product, you may experience shading variations. Although we sort into shading categories, there will still be shading variations within the cartons. When installing, you should work out of at least several cartons, and mix them in a natural random shading pattern that is pleasing to your eye. If you find very dark or very light planks in the carton, DO NOT INSTALL. It is the responsibility of the person installing the floor to inspect the flooring for defects and shading issues prior to installation. All wood flooring will expand and contract. This means that gaps may appear between the planks during low humidity conditions, and are considered normal. Scratches, dents, and shading are not covered by our Warranty, as we cannot control the conditions under which they can occur.



Tips for a successful installation:

1.  Be sure to read all instructions and Warranty first so you can get your questions answered before you begin.  If you need help, give us a call at 866-582-0848 ( US only) or 503-582-0848; we are here to help!

2.  Purchase 105% of the square footage in order to ensure that you have enough material to complete the area.  If you are installing diagonally, you should purchase an extra 15% (depending on room size).  It is best if you purchase all of your flooring at the same time; some products can vary significantly if purchased at a later date.  It is also helpful if you have extra material that can be used for future repairs.

3.  Acclimation is necessary in order to ensure that the flooring adjusts to the conditions in your home. (See Pre-installation procedures/acclimation)  Avoid installing when humidity is very high or very low; you want the rooms to be close to normal living conditions.

4.  Moisture testing is necessary to avoid conditions which may affect your flooring and provide a breeding ground for unhealthy mold and mildew.  You will also want to test the moisture levels of the bamboo boards; if they are within 4% of the room conditions, you will know the flooring is properly acclimated.  (See Moisture Testing)

5.   Be sure to leave spacing around the entire edge of the flooring so the flooring has room to expand and contract.  You will even need to have spacing under door frames and at kitchen islands.  Small pieces of flooring can be used as spacers, and shims or spacers can be used to make smaller adjustments; allow at least 3/8 inch (9.5 mm) for smaller rooms and 1/2 inch ( 12.7 mm) for larger rooms.  In very large rooms (more than 40 feet {12.2 m} long), you will need to separate into two areas and leave an expansion gap of 1/2 inch ( 12.7 mm) on each side of the T-molding base, which will then be covered by the T-Molding.  We also recommend leaving an expansion gap in the door opening between rooms; this also can be covered by the T-Molding placed directly under the door.

6.  You will need to undercut door frames to allow for expansion; this can be done by placing a piece of flooring on the subfloor and then the saw blade on top of the flooring before beginning the cut.  Remember to leave room for expansion!

7.  A tapping block and pull bar will be necessary to gently push or pull the flooring together.  Never hit the tongue or groove directly with a hammer.  Gentle tapping is the most effective way to push or pull the planks together.  Never try to force the planks to lie flat; a few gentle taps on the tapping block in the middle of the plank will generally help the plank fold down into place.  If you still have difficulty, cut the plank into a smaller piece and use to begin or finish a row. 

8.  During installation, it is important to inspect the flooring.  Any planks that are not suitable should be not be installed.  Please note that it is the responsibility of the person installing the floor to inspect the flooring for obvious defects or other issues that make it unsuitable.  Once the flooring is installed, it is considered acceptable, and becomes the responsibility of the person installing the floor.  Please remember that damaged planks should have the damaged portion cut off, and the undamaged portion used to begin or end a row.

9.  Because this is a “floating” floor, it may be installed on, above, or below grade (basements). When installing over a crawl space or concrete, it will be necessary to use a vapor barrier to prevent moisture migration.  A plastic film with a minimum thickness of 6 mil should be placed with a 4 – 6 inch (101.6 – 152 mm) overlapped seam, and then taped with duct tape or other suitable tape.   The preferred option is to use a 2 in 1 underlayment which is a padding and moisture barrier combined; you can also use a 3 in 1 underlayment which also provides sound insulation.  Both provide a moisture barrier and padding, which will make the floor more comfortable to walk on, and protect the flooring from moisture.  When using the 2 in 1 or 3 in 1, butt the edges together and use an underlayment tape to seal the seams against moisture.  Be sure to place the side with the plastic moisture barrier facing the concrete or subfloor. 

10.  Underlayments/padding:  Our bamboo flooring has an attached eco-friendly cork backing; this will provide additional sound and heat insulation, as well as a bit more cushion.  A 2 in 1 or 3 in 1 underlayment is highly recommended, as the padding will make the floor more pleasant to walk or stand on; they will also help to even out a slightly rough subfloor.  If your home owner’s association has sound transmission requirements, you may need to use an additional sound deadening underlayment.  Consult with your local flooring retailer to determine what underlayment meets these requirements.

11.  Be sure that all doors that open into the area have enough clearance to open; it may be necessary to cut the bottom of the door to ensure that it will open and close fully without rubbing against the floor.  Door cutting should be done by an experienced carpenter. Also be sure that any appliances and fixtures will fit back in their place once the flooring is installed.

12.  Protect your floor from scratches.  Use thick felt or rubber pads under chairs & tables.  Also, if your chairs or other furniture have rolling castors, you may need to replace with softer rubber castors.  Heavy furniture may require additional protection to prevent denting under the legs.  Never push/drag furniture or appliances across the floor as they can damage the finish.

13.  In addition to the normal tools that are required for installation, you will need a special Tapping Block (See diagrams B-1 & B-2) that is designed for the material being installed.  You will also need a Pull Bar for areas in which you will not be able to use the Tapping Block; such as along walls and door jambs. 


Responsibilities of the Owner/Installer

If you take care to install this flooring correctly, taking all precautions suggested in this guideline, this flooring will give you many years of satisfaction.  While it is not necessary to use a professional to install this flooring, a professional can advise you of existing or past conditions that may affect the long term performance of the flooring.  This is only a guide and cannot supply all the details you may encounter regarding the installation. Detailed preparation and installation procedures are outlined by the National Wood Flooring Association’s Hardwood Flooring Manual (NWFA) 1-800-422-4556 or http://www.nwfa.org. Wellmade cannot be responsible for the installation under any circumstances. Please remember it is the responsibility of the person installing the floor to determine the suitability of the application, materials, and conditions before beginning the installation.


Pre-Installation Procedures/Acclimation

Please handle, transport, and unload the flooring with care.  Flooring should be stored in a dry place, with at least a 4 inch (101.6 mm) air space under cartons.  Flooring should not be delivered until the building has been closed in with windows and doors in place, and until cement work, plastering, painting, and all other materials are thoroughly dry.  Acclimation: Place the opened cartons in the room where they will be installed, and allow at least 3-5 days for acclimation.  The difference between the moisture level of the flooring and subfloor should be tested, and be no more than 4%.   In addition, the heating or cooling system should be operating and controlled at 50° – 70° F (10° - 21° C) for at least 72 hours before, during and maintained after installing.  As with all wood flooring, your flooring will experience less expansion/contraction if the humidity is controlled year-round.  


Moisture Testing

Moisture testing is required, it will alert you of current moisture issues that will affect the installation and promote the growth of unhealthy mold and mildew which could potentially affect you and your family’s health.  If necessary, you may want to consult with a professional for proper testing and guidance.  Moisture levels above 12.5 % in wood subfloors or 4.5 on moisture encounter meters for concrete subfloors can promote the growth of mold and should be investigated to determine the cause and solution to the problem.  Checking for moisture: Use a Delmhorst J-4 (or equivalent) moisture meter for wood, or a Tramex Concrete Moisture Encounter meter (or equivalent) for concrete.  You can also use a calcium chloride test for concrete; test results above 3 lbs. per 1000 square feet (92.9 square me-ters) in a 24 hour period can indicate a moisture issue.  


Other Considerations

Before installation, lay out the flooring where it is to be installed (that is, lay the planks down roughly as they will appear after installation), taking care to mix it in a shading pattern pleasing to your eye.  Installer should inspect each plank at this time for finish and quality.  Once installed, it becomes the responsibility of the installer/homeowner.  Remember that all natural flooring comes in a range of colors and shades.  Our quality control procedures at the factory ensure that very few, if any defective planks are delivered to the consumer.  Remove baseboards and undercut door jambs to insure a quality installation.  Remember to allow room for expansion around the entire perimeter of the flooring.  Failure to provide room for expansion will result in installation failure.  


Recommended Areas

This flooring may be installed on, above, or below grade (soil level).  Solid bamboo (and solid wood) flooring should not be installed in wet areas such as bathrooms (with tub/shower) or mud rooms.  Care should be taken not to expose the flooring to standing water or liquids for extended periods of time, as it may damage the floor.


Acceptable Sub-Floors

Because of the versatility of our flooring, it can be installed over virtually any hard surface floor such as wood, vinyl, and even ceramic tile (be sure the tiles are firmly attached to the subfloor).  Carpet or other textile products will need to be removed prior to installation.  Before beginning the installation, check for squeaks and other loose areas to ensure they are firmly attached.   Areas that are loose should be fastened with screws or ring shank nails, as it will not be possible to do this once the flooring is installed.


Sub-Floor Preparation

The subfloor should be clean, free from dirt or other debris, and relatively flat and level. Normal requirements call for no more than 3/16 inch (4.7 mm) difference in a 10 foot (3.05 m) radius.  While it may not be critical to be exact, it will provide a more solid base for the flooring which will help to eliminate movement or hollow sounds when walked on.  High spots can be removed by sanding (wood) or grinding (concrete), or the low spots may be filled with an appropriate leveling compound. 


Radiant heat subfloors (in floor heating):

Due to the popularity of radiant heat and the many systems available; you will need to consult with the manufacturer of the system to ensure that it is compatible with this flooring.  The temperature of the heating system should never exceed 85° F (29.44° C) and must be designed so that the heating is carefully controlled and that it gradually heats to the operating temperature.  Rapid heating or excessive heat may damage the flooring or finish.  Maintaining the humidity between 35% - 50% in your home will keep expansion and contraction to a minimum, and is highly recommended.  A 2 in 1 or 3 in 1 underlayment must be used in this application.

If installed in concrete, the concrete should be fully cured (30 – 60 days) before beginning preparation for flooring.  For both wood and concrete subfloors, the radiant heat should be turned on for approximately one week to ensure excess moisture is removed.  Turn the system off for at least 24 before beginning the installation.  After the flooring is installed, the system may be turned back on.  It is important the system be returned to the operating temperature slowly, preferably over 24 – 48 hours.



Recommended Tools:


Table saw

Jamb Saw

Flooring installation kit (Tapping Block, Spacers, Pull Bar) 

Compressor and Brad nailer (for trim only)



Uniclic® is a revolutionary system for installing the flooring without using glue.  Because of the unique shape of the tongue and groove, you can install the planks in two different ways:


Method A:  Position the plank at a 20-30° angle to the plank already installed.  Move the plank gently up and down while pushing forward.  The plank will then automatically fold into place.  You can either insert the tongue into the groove or the groove on to the tongue.  The tongue in groove method is most common, and also the easiest.  Never force the plank to lay flat, always help it to fold into position.  See Diagrams A-1 through A-3.


Diagram A-1


Diagram A-2


Diagram A-3


Method B:  You can also tap the planks into place with a tapping block and hammer without lifting the planks.  For this method you will need a special tapping block designed for 1/2 inch (12mm) flooring. The planks should not be tapped together with a single tap.  To avoid damaging the plank, you must tap them together gradually.  See Diagrams B-1 and B-2.


Diagram B-1


Diagram B-2

Remove all wall base or molding, and undercut door trims as needed.  When installing over concrete or a crawl space, it is necessary to use a moisture barrier; a 2 in 1 or 3 in 1 underlayment both have the moisture barrier built into the underlayment. (Figure 1).  When using underlayment, butt the seams together, then use an underlayment tape or other suitable tape to seal the seams against moisture.  Should you choose to use plastic film as a moisture barrier (at least 6 mil thick); overlap the seams by 4 – 6 inches (101.6 – 152 mm), and then tape the seams to provide a seamless moisture barrier. Put down the underlayment or plastic film as necessary until you complete that section, this will help to keep the moisture barrier from getting damaged.  Allow the film to run up the wall a short distance; then trim so it will be covered by wall molding (Figure 2). When starting the installation, it is important to take time to plan the installation; accurate measurements will allow you to avoid having to cut small strips when you reach the other side of the room.  If necessary, you may need to trim the starting row width so that you can avoid very thin strips of flooring when you reach the other side of the room.


Figure 1


Figure 2


Figure 3

To start, the sides of the planks that will go next to the wall will need to have the tongue portion removed (Figure 3) to allow room for expansion. You will then need to take two boards, and cut one third off  one, and two thirds off the other; these two cut pieces will be used to begin the second and third rows.  Follow the procedures shown in Figures 4.2 – 4.9 for the first four rows; you can then push these rows into place along the wall.  Be sure to use spacers or scrap pieces of flooring along the wall to maintain expansion gap.  At this point, you can avoid a stair step joint pattern by using the pieces of boards cut off when finishing a row (or cut new ones).  Be sure these pieces are at least 8 inches (203 mm) long.  (To find your dead zone, click here.) Always keep the end joints at least 8 inches (203 mm) apart.  You can then finish the section as shown in Figures 4.10 – 4.12.  Continue adding rows in a similar fashion until the room is completed.

Please Note: Be sure there is sufficient room for expansion along all walls, under door frames, and around any pipes or fixtures attached to or come through the subfloor.  Rooms longer than 40 feet (12.192 m) will re-quire an expansion gap (you can decide where you think it will look best), which can be finished with the T-Molding.  When installing in other rooms, leave an expansion gap directly beneath the door; this can then be covered with the T-Molding.  Never attach the flooring directly to the subfloor as it will prevent the floor from expanding/contracting.













In places where you cannot use the tapping block to push the boards into place, you will need to use the pull bar.  You can then gently tap the boards in place.  This is necessary for the last board in each row and when finishing the last row.  See Diagrams 5A – 5C. 




Pipes:   In rows where there is a pipe or other object through the subfloor, make sure the object lines up exactly where two boards will meet on the short ends.  Take care to measure carefully before cutting, so the two boards end at the middle of the object.  Use a drill or hole bit that is the diameter of the pipe or object, plus 3/4 inch (20mm) for expansion.  Click the two short sides of the boards together, then drill the hole centered on the joint between the boards as shown.  Now you can separate the two boards and install as normal.  See Diagrams 6A – 6C. 

Under door frames:

When sawing boards that will go under the door frame, you need to be sure to leave 3/8 inch (10mm) for expansion under the door frame.  When undercutting the door frame, be sure you cut far enough under, so that the frame covers the board, and still has enough room for expansion.  Use the tapping block to gently tap the board into place, and then use the pull bar to gently tap into place.  Remember that this board needs to end so that the transition piece used in the doorway ends directly under the middle of the door, plus the expansion gap.  If you are installing in the adjacent room, the T-Molding should be centered under the door.  See Diagrams 7A & 7B. 


All transition pieces should be attached to the subfloor with a high quality construction adhesive available at all Home Centers and Hardware stores.  Place a generous bead of adhesive under the part of the transition that will sit directly on (or slightly above) the subfloor, and then press the transition firmly in place.  Be sure the transition sits firmly in the adhesive, and take care not to get any adhesive on the finish.  Remove any adhesive from the finish immediately with mineral spirits and buff off any residue with a dry soft cloth.  It may be necessary to place heavy weights on the transition until the adhesive dries to ensure it will lay flat.  If necessary, you can also use small finish nails by pre-drilling, countersinking, and then filling the nail hole with matching putty.  Never attach the transitions directly to the flooring.


Finishing the floor:

Remove spacers around the perimeter of the floor, then replace existing or install new wall base or molding.  Never nail the wall base or molding directly to the flooring.  CONGRATULATIONS! You can now enjoy your beautiful new eco-friendly floor!

Board Replacement


Revised 1/13/10

Back To Top


©2008 Wellmade Floor Coverings International. All rights reserved.