Q: About 3 months ago I had bamboo installed in my second story bedroom over a plywood subfloor. Unfortunately, after a month of being installed 6 gaps opened ranging in size from 1/16″ – 1/8″! Prior to installation I unpackaged the wood, stacked it crisscross, and let it acclimate for about a day and half (I thought I was playing it safe). Then a cold dry spell hit right after Christmas, accompanied by some strong wind that gently shook the second story. Before I knew it, I began to hear loud CRACK noises as the wood contracted and pulled itself into new positions. The installer used the “hidden nails method” and also put wood glue in between the slots, so I suspect the cracking was the sound of the wood glue seals being broken.
How can I fix this? Is puttying my only option? How will that look? Will the wood expand in the summer (I live in SoCal). If it does expand, will that screw up my putty fix?
A: I think I would let this floor go through an entire cycle before doing anything. Several years ago my 70 year old oak strip developed large gaps in winter, the size of which I had never seen with it. I got a humidifier running, and they closed up.
Bamboo hasn’t really taken off in the Toronto area yet, so I am not very familiar with it. I can say this. The one floor I saw installed and every single sample of it in flooring company show rooms had large gaps between each strip. I wasn’t impressed by that.
Follow-up Q: I’ll do as you suggest and give it a year to settle down. Assuming the gaps still need to be filled later what would you recommend that I fill them with? I don’t want to refinish the floor, just fill the gaps. Is this possible?
A: I have used a good tube filler called color-rite. Comes in hundreds of colors. It is more like a caulking. Water clean up.