Bouncy floating bamboo floor

surferFebruary 8, 2012

The question comes down to - when one walks on our new kitchen floor there is a feeling of bouncy and depression of the bamboo planks that doesn't feel quite right. There are also some irregularities in the concrete that may accentuate the movement in some areas. Should this be considered normal? The installer did a very nice job on the fit, appearance and trim work but the softness and movement was not something I expected. But we've never had a floating floor either.

How much movement do you normally feel in a floating type floor installed over foam underlayment?

Background: We had engineered Mohawk strand bamboo click and lock planks installed as a floating floor in our kitchen. The kitchen floor is concrete slab above grade. The bamboo was installed using their first quality 3 in 1 foam urethane type heavy underlayment pad. The underlayment was intended to serve as a humidity barrier, insulator, sound deadener and softener.


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No way to answer your question without inspecting the floor. Most floating floors will feel "different" when walked on. Some people, including myself, find the experience unacceptable. However, what is normal movement for a floating floor is that which occurs after it is installed over a flat surface. Was your flooring installed over a flat surface? A flat surface would be one which falls within the manufacturer's specifications for a flat surface.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 12:32AM
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My neighbor has the same thing. I am pretty sure it's from the dips and bumps in the slab that are not flat. Flattening requires properly pouring self-leveling underlayment, or troweling a filler, and possibly grinding down high spots. I've heard many installer say, Nah, you don't need to do all that, just use a good-quality, thick foam underlayment to even everything out...Well, it doesn't. Maybe it keeps it from banging loudly when you walk across, but you still feel the bounce.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 2:34AM
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No where in your description is any mention of leveling the existing floor before install. That is a critical step and cannot be skipped or you end up with what you have. If you have too much flex, the "click lock" mechanism of the floating floor can break. It's being put under stress with every bit of traffic that bounces it.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 12:06PM
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Last two posts are right on the money here! Glen is right also as a floater will have a feel that is different, but I am guessing it is dips and high spots. Many installers are not installers and consumers suffer for this! Good Luck.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 5:19AM
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Thanks for the replies. We never experienced the feel of a floating floor installed on an actual flat surface with the padding, so we aren't sure how much different our floor is.

It does sound like concrete typically would have low and high spots that could end up giving a feel of "variable give" depending on location on the floor, although maybe no different than a plywood sub floor. We thought a good underlayment / padding would provide additional insulation and give it an overall softer feel over concrete, but didn't expect a feeling of distinct movement.

The installer did do some leveling. After the floor had already been partially down we discovered significant movement in what was to be a high traffic area. He then pulled up a number of the 5" planks and used a self leveling compound in that area.

In a situation like this, what would be the best way to determine if the install was done correctly? Are there flooring experts out there that can give an objective opinion? I believe both the installer and the flooring business that he works for would stand behind it, but I'd like to know if there is an issue before raising it.

If this type of floor is glued directly down do they feel more solid. The manufacturer says it can be glued down. I'm surprised that these planks flex that easily over short distances as they are about 5" wide by 1/2 inch. Any suggestions? Sorry to put you through all the detail. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 4:30PM
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Flex=not a flat surface=improper prep. Floating floors should not have any flex in them at all.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 11:12PM
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Bouncy, is a red flag for a floater.

There is some give but not a trampoline effect.

Subfloor flatness of 1/8" in 6 feet radius, is the universal degree at which to install over.

I'll be the first to admit, that is not always achievable to perfection, with some concrete slabs, without $1000's of floor prep.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 7:30PM
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Thanks all. My real complaint is mostly about not being informed by the seller and experts to the potential of an outcome from what is a non level concrete floor, and to the cost of guaranteeing that it will be level and to feel it is solid but not bouncy.

Even when they estimated or installed it, no one really took a 4 foot or 6 foot level to the floor.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 7:11PM
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I'm have a similar situation, but installed the floor myself. Did lots of research and then the concrete leveling and grinding down, but what I thought would be acceptable low spots have turned out not to be.

Forgot to check for bouncyness as I went. Am hoping it is something that won't damage the boards, and it's disappointing to. Would be interested to see what happens with your floor surfer.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 8:43PM
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