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Can bamboo flooring be installed over sheetrock?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ December 7, 2012 ~ No Comments

I have a covered patio. I would like to put bamboo on the ceiling. Can I put the bamboo interlocking planks over the current sheetrock, or do I need to take the sheetrock down and apply directly to the studs?

John - Tampa, FL

Jeffrey Anderson

John, whether it's advisable to install the bamboo over sheetrock depends on how it is adhered and the manufacturer's recommendations. I suggest reading the installation instructions that came with the flooring thoroughly -- putting the bamboo in by any method other than those recommended may void any warranty on the flooring. Flooring manufacturers are usually fairly specific about acceptable application methods for their products.

If there isn't any mention about not installing over sheetrock, I believe it should be okay to put the bamboo over the existing ceiling providing a few guidelines are followed. The sheetrock should also be stable and in reasonably good shape.

I would use nails that are long enough to pass through the sheetrock to secure the bamboo. The fasteners should penetrate the ceiling framing at least ½ inch to hold the bamboo securely. The sheetrock on the ceiling is probably ½- or 5/8-inch thick so your nails should be at least 1-inch long plus the thickness of the tongue on the bamboo.

If the framing isn't spaced close enough to nail the flooring according to the manufacturer's recommendations, you may have to remove the sheetrock anyway to add more nailers.

Under no circumstances do you want any of the bamboo fasteners to be just into sheetrock. If you end up removing the sheetrock, installing a layer of plywood might be preferable to adding more framing members. The plywood can act as an underlayment for the entire bamboo ceiling.

Many bamboo flooring products can be installed with an adhesive rather than nails, but I wouldn't recommend this type of application in your situation. A lot of adhesives don't hold up well outside, and Florida's humidity probably won't help. I would also follow the manufacturer's spacing instructions closely as that humidity could cause quite a bit of movement in the wood.

If the application you have in mind isn't mentioned in the manufacturer's installation guidelines, it may be worthwhile to put a call into their customer service department. In my experience, it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to flooring warranties.

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