New bamboo floor making crackling noises

Q: We just installed bamboo flooring 1000 sq. ft. as a floating floor. The underlay was used over Bruce’s laminated original flooring. We now have a bad crackling noise throughout and we are wondering should we redo the entire area with a glue-down process? The noise is very disturbing.

A: 1000 sq. ft. It is a lot to fix. Was this Bruce laminate also floating? This doesn’t sound like a very good idea to me. Your floor will be as solid as whatever it is sitting on.

Follow-up: The original 1000square feet on the townhome was Bruce flooring over a concrete floor. We never had a problem with the floor except we decided to replace it because our dog scratched them up. We then placed a floating floor of fossilized Bamboo engineered, over underlining. Now we are hearing bubble wrap sounds when we walk around the rooms.

We are not sure what we should do to eliminate the snap, crackle, and pop sounds around this new flooring. Do we need to have the floating floor replaced with different flooring to eliminate the problem? We cannot live with this.

Follow-up Q: You answered my recent question about the problem with a newly installed floating floor. I may not have described the problem accurately, so I hope I can do it again because I am not sure I understand your response. We live in a townhome that came with Bruce laminate flooring over a concrete slab. We recently had 1000 sq. ft. floating floor installed over the Bruce with engineered bamboo with underlining.

Did we do wrong? We have large areas with crackling noises and bubble wrap noises. Does the installer need to do something else to stop this problem we are having? Do we need different woods and to start all over again? We cannot live the noises. I hope you can give me your opinion. Thank you so much.

A: Sorry for my slow response. I did try and do some searching, mainly because I was never aware that Bruce ever entered the laminate market. I’ve not been able to find any evidence that they did or that they have laminate products now. What is a laminate floor? It is basically constructed with a core of dust particles and adhesive with a hard, artificial surface like a melamine countertop with a wood picture on its surface. When these floors were first introduced they all required the installer to apply adhesive to the groove and then slide the next panel into place. After this manufacturers designed various types of joints that could be clicked together. They were always floated.

Engineered flooring is designed like plywood with several wood plies as the base with a real hardwood or softwood veneer surface. They can be glued down, nailed or floated. I can’t imagine therefore, given your description, that the floor under what you have is anything other than floating. I’m not sure what is going on but I would have done a lot of research before installing an engineered floor on padding over a floor installed on concrete which is sitting on the dirt.

These sounds you are hearing can indicate a floor under stress from moisture. It could also be caused by a floating floor like this installed on a sub straight that is not perfectly flat. If this concrete slab is on dirt there is bound to be at least some moisture transfer. How is it going to escape with that padding under your current floor?

My suspicion is directed to what this bamboo flooring is sitting on. Did the installer do any moisture testing? I should also mention that some manufacturers do not recommend installing their floors over such an existing floor. You need to call the installer back or hire an inspector from the National Wood Flooring Association to do an inspection. As I learned many years ago, your floor will be a sound and solid as the floor it sits on.

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