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Anyone with experience nailing down Cali Bamboo Fossilized

10 years ago

My husband and I are planning on replacing 70 yo strip oak floors with bamboo in our LR/DR/Kit. Subfloor is wood planks over an unfinished basement. We don't want a click and lock floating floor because of the less substantial feel/sound and because the kitchen cabs (including a peninsula) will be going down on top of the finished floor (contiversial, I know).

Our product of choice is Cali Bamboo fossilized wide plank strand. Does anyone have experience nailing down this kind of floor? Their website says nail down is possible with an 18 gauge pneumatic nailer, but when I spoke to an installer, they said it was too hard to nail down. This will be a DIY project, but we will have assistance from an experienced HW installer (not experienced with this particular product).

Any comments on quality of the Cali Bamboo and/or reliability of the company would also be appreciated.


Comments (11)

  • Sloa
    10 years ago


    I might be able to help you there.. we just did an install of that product. Give me a call if you like:


  • UniqueWoodFloor
    10 years ago

    This is a great question. I have been checking back on this thread. Hoping to see some comment from experienced contractors. We always have the same concern especially when Cali claims over 5000 in Janka for their SWB while the hardest hardwood is at around 3800 Janka.

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  • bigb33
    10 years ago

    Yes, I did my kitchen and dining room in it. I had no experience going into this project with nail-down floors; which was a good thing. You must use 18 ga staples, and even then, I would recommend that you use the "spotnails" WS4840W2 stapler. I used a Porta-Nails 461 gun, but I had to modify (shim) the shoe so that it would fire the staples perfectly into the pocket. I also had to use some kind of heavy duty staple, the first ones I tried to use just bounced off the bamboo.

    I watched some HGTV show where a contractor was putting what looked like this or some other stranded bamboo down with a 15 ga cleat nailer, and they zoomed in and showed him splitting the tongue and dimpling the board with nearly every nail he drove in.. it made me sad. Having said that, I have one or two dimpled boards from staples gone awry- nobody's perfect!

    Even then, yes, if your alignment of the gun isn't perfect, the staples are likely to bunch up into a mess of wire spagetti. I'd say 1 in 10 staples scrunches up anyhow; needle nose pliers and staple sets are your friend. I went overboard and used 3x flooring straps with ratchets to secure each of the boards under pressure before I nailed them. My once squeaky subfloor squeaks no more. I did not enjoy the install.

    Once the floor is down, it is really bulletproof. It is not, however, waterproof, nor can it tolerate really any water for any period of time- the seams wick water fast, and hold it- any prolonged water exposure will result in cupping, and a 'wrinkling' of the surface if water is excessive in that area. I had a fridge leak that snuck up on me , and left my floors a little less pristine than they once were. I am sure the bamboo fared better than most any other wood would have.

    If I had to do it over again, I would do a click lock wide plank floating floor, over a soundproofing underlayment, and I would seal coat it with the product the manufacturer recommends for kitchen / commercial use.

  • UniqueWoodFloor
    10 years ago

    Hi bigb33, Thanks for sharing your experience with us. We carry a Standed Woven Bamboo brand called "Dasso". They all in Valinge G 5 lock, even with their solid version. I now know why our supplier is not quite fond of any Tongue and Groove version SWB.

  • Sherriode
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Thanks bigb33! We gave up on bamboo and went with a more traditional hardwood. We weren't willing to risk it when we couldn't find any personal accounts. Hopefully your experience will help someone else decide.

  • makanimauka
    8 years ago

    I know this thread is old but I also wished there were more experiences with Cali Bamboo when I was shopping for flooring. Well, I bought 1000 sq. ft. of the click lock and it was defective. The boards wouldn't click together because it seemed that there was something wrong with the joints. Cali Bamboo's customer service was so horrible! They blamed my installer first, then they said that the boards needed to acclimate for longer than the month it already was sitting. They didnt return my calls when they said they would and only became sympathetic to my situation when Lowes stepped in a week later. Since then I've read the negative reports online and I would say that was the same experience I had. I wish I never chose those floors. If you do because they are beautiful, just pray that you don't have a defective product. They will string you along and fight you every step of the way. I'm so glad I bought them through Lowes. Too bad because when I researched the company, they made themselves look really good and like customer service is their priority. I can tell you from experience that it is all bs.

  • sgillespie218
    5 years ago

    I am considering this product and I am curious if there are any other more recent thoughts on this topic?

  • April Merritt
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago


    I just started installing Calibamboo this last weekend. We picked T&G Engineered. We are only about 250 sq feet into our 1000 sq ft install. They are beautiful, but do your research... the click lock stuff has been discontinued because of issues people were having. I can't really comment on the long term, we have only had it in for 2 days. They are a little creaky right now, but it seems to get better daily as they settle in a little more. The nailing issues people discuss have been minor for us.... we made sure we had the proper tools before we started (Bostitch EHF1838K Engineered Hardwood Flooring Stapler 18 gauge, and recommended staples, and a 125psi air compressor, we tried a 110 but it wouldnt sink the staples far enough). Once in a while we got spaghetti nails, but its more user error or hitting subfloor screws than anything else. One thing we found.... when face nailing... you HAVE to go STRAIGHT down or it shatters the board or curls up and comes back up. So don't even attempt to face nail at an angle. Just drill a hole and hand nail it. So far.. we like them. I hope the squeaking stops once we get some furniture in there but right now I am hyper aware of it. My husband claims its no more than our Pergo upstairs, but we shall see. The quality seems really good, and the finishes are beautiful. Just a little tricky to lay. All in all, still easier than the Pergo Outlast, which was really difficult to snap together.

    All in all, they wanted $3.49 a sq foot to install.... so the little bit of floor we already laid paid for the tools... it saves us about $3000 because we are doing it ourselves. Its worth it in the end.

  • brotherkermit34
    4 years ago

    I've just layed out 150 sq ft in a bedroom of the Cali Bamboo 7/16" tongue and groove and I'm getting ready to nail it down. It acclimated for maybe 2 months. I'm using the the recommended 18ga flooring cleats (not nails and not staples) with a Freeman flooring nailer that has good reviews on various sites. Cali Bamboo recommends a $500 nailer but no one had that one rent in my area. The Freeman nailer was still pricey but is made specifically for bamboo. The flooring associate at Lowe's tried to warn me about naling Cali Bamboo and that no installers would do it either because it was too hard and wouldn't nail properly. I should have listened because I'm practicing on some scrap pieces and can't get the cleats to seat consistently. This product is too hard, dry, and over processed. The nails can be driven through no problem, but the material distorts or cracks. Lower the PSI and then you just get other problems. So far one out of a dozen or more cleats have worked acceptably (and still splinters the tongue a little). I've been adjusting my PSI and nailer and practicing for two days on scrap wood. This stuff doesn't behave quite like wood which is making installation difficult. Lowe's recommended I glue it down and maybe I should. If I start nailing my actual floor I'm almost positive it will be a disaster. I'm not a novice DIYer either.

  • cparsons1221
    4 months ago

    Hi folks,

    I know this thread is super old but wanted to chime in. I am using the latest version of the Freeman nailer on Cali Bamboo Fossilized 9/16" and it's working just fine for me. I am nailing 18g cleats. This is my first floor but haven't had an issue with the compressor set at about 85 psi.

    I understand exactly what people are saying with certain nails crumpling up like spaghetti but this hasn't happened with the cleats.

    However, when testing before installation on some scrap pieces and trying to shoot a finish nail through the face using my DeWalt battery powered nailer (pretty powerful nailer otherwise), the nail did not stand a chance.

    I am about 3/4 the way through the project and saving my last rows for the end. I haven't face nailed anything yet but I will likely do it by hand. I had to hand nail my starter rows and transitions into the hallway and other rooms. But, I blind nailed those into the tongue, not through the face because I had the room to swing a hammer. Unfortunately this won't be the case for my final rows so we will see if I can hide the face nails or if I will glue the final row, not sure yet.

    Has anyone tried face nailing with a pneumatic finish nailer? Am curious if that will hold up better than the batter powered one but I don't own one to test with.

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