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Installation & FAQ

INSTALLATION

RECOMMENDATION

Please read thoroughly before starting installation


Thank you for choosing Totally Bamboo Countertops.  With your purchase, you will have the confidence of knowing that you are making a valuable contribution by using such a renewable material.  Please inspect the plank(s) thoroughly upon receipt for any shipping damage and report it to the supplier within 5 business days.  Please retain the original packaging for proof of claim. 

 

Finish and Installation

 

The plank is in an unfinished slab form.  We sand it to 220 grit at the factory, but it will need to be fine sanded and finished with a sealer as soon as possible to avoid damage due to excessive dryness.  It is advisable to keep the plank tightly sealed in the plastic wrapping in which it is shipped until you are ready to begin work.  If you have to cut the plank or make a sink hole, do this before sanding.  We recommend that it be kept indoors in a controlled temperature environment.  Once work has begun, re-wrap the plank each night until you have applied your sealer. 

Sanding

 

We recommend that you sand the plank before you router the edge, that way the sanding will not deform the router's work.  Keep the planks well lit at all times. The use of a bright shop light off to one side helps with this task.  Start with 220 grit paper and slowly work up to a finer grit, and always sand out the scratches before changing grits.  Bamboo is a very hard surface and scratches will show up later with finer sanding, so take your time.  Sand as thoroughly as you can, as the material really comes to life with fine sanding.  We recommend sanding as high as 400 grit, as it highlights all the tiny pores and the culm node joint - you won't regret it! 

Before applying the finish, examine the entire surface closely for scratches.  Always remember, it is much more difficult to remove any scratches after the finish has been applied. 

 

Routering

 

If you plan on putting a custom edge profile in the countertop, you will have to router the edge face.  If it is to be used as an island, router all sides.  This material will accept any profile - bull nose, miter, full, round, etc. 

Note:  Bamboo is a very hard fiber and will easily burn and tear out when routering so go slowly and use several passes, lowering the bit on each pass. Do not try and router your edge in one pass and make sure your bits are brand new or at least very sharp.  After routering, go back and cleanup the router marks with fine sandpaper.

 

Under / Over Sink Installation

 

  • Decide the area for the sink placement, the set back (the strip of counter in front of the sink) for parquet end grain is minimum 4"  for flat grain or vertical grain the minimum is 2.5"  note: this is not a hard and fast rule and if supported from the underside these measurements can be reduced
  • Tape on a high quality 2" masking tape in the area for the cut out (press on firmly) use this tape to transfer your line drawing of the template pattern to the counter the tape also reduces the edge from splintering in the cutting procedure.
  • Using a Jig saw carefully cut out the sink hole, start from a pilot hole drilled near, but not on, your template cut lines, a finer tooth jig saw blade works well for bamboo as it reduces the amount of grain tear out (in addition to the masking tape) work slowly and exchange dull blades often.
  • Because this cut out will be so visible take care to keep your lines straight and even, you can true up your lines with a belt sander or a straight edge router bitt and clamped on fence after cutting if needed. (For overmount sinks due to seasonal expansion and contraction of bamboo never have the sink fit tight, always allow a gap about ½ wide between sink and hole edge on all four sides of the sink.)
  • After your cut is made and you have trued up the edges to be straight, you can now remove the tape, hint: pull the tape away from the counter and in the direction of the cut out, this will reduce the splintering of the freshly cut edge.
  • The inside edge of the cut-out hole needs to be well finished with the same sealer that covers the entire counter, (multiple coats of tung oil or any other good quality finish) it is recommended to over seal this edge with a few more coats than you applied to the counter, this is especially true on a under-mounted sink with the nicks and dings from pots and pans that it will see in its use. For instance: if you put four coats of tung oil on the counter put 6 around the edge of the sink.
  • At this point refer to the finishing instructions and apply the finish of your choice to the entire slab (note it is necessary to balance the finish IE: equal coats on the bottom as on the top)
  • Seal the sink to the counter with a very good water proof caulk, this is very critical step, it is imperative that no water is allowed to seep under this seal --test this area well before job completion, for this installation water based caulking is not recommended.

 

Joining Planks Together

 

For kitchen island installation, or if you want to make the counters over thirty six inches wide, you'll need to join multiple planks together. All you need is a few pipe clamps and some high-grade two part epoxy.  We recommend West System (www.westsystem.com ), a router, and a belt sander.  The factory edge needs to be trued-up before gluing.  This is accomplished by clamping a straight edge (angle iron or a very straight board) to the top as a guide for your router.  Use a new or very sharp straight router bit for this procedure.  Do not cut more than about 1/16" at a pass and work slowly so as not to burn the cut.  Repeat this for the opposite edge.  Test for straightness by dry clamping the planks together and make sure no gap is visible.  We recommend that you use biscuits or dowels about every six inches in the adjoining faces to make the seam stronger.  ALWAYS dry run (no glue) the clamping procedure to help anticipate potential problems.  If possible, clamp on a flat concrete floor.  On a concrete floor, tape down a thin sheet of plastic.  Use caution so that the plastic does not creep into the glue seam during clamping, the pipe clamps have a tendency to bow the planks up from either end.  To prevent such problems, you can use a downward force, such as a simple 2'x 4' wedged from the ceiling properly placed on three or four strategic spots on the planks.  Let dry overnight, then simply belt sand the seam flat.  Be careful to keep the sander moving in a figure eight motion and avoid bearing down so as not to create dips and valleys.  When the two surfaces are even, switch to an orbital hand sander. (see sanding instructions)

 

Finishing

 

You are now ready to apply your choice of sealer.  Select any of the great finishes currently available.  The finishing process is the same as on a wood surface. We recommend Tung Oil as the finish of choice, if you wish to use a polyurethane or a varnish, it is recommended to first apply a base coat of primer/sealer Tung Oil as a primer, apply 2 coats making sure to rub in so no pooling or shiny spots occur, then let dry thoroughly before you apply your choice of top coat. Always test on the bottom side or a scrap piece first, to make sure the Tung Oil and your top coat do not fight or repel each other. Once the Tung Oil is completely dry this should not be a problem.

 

Note: On all finishes it is of utmost importance to "balance the finish" the top and bottom of your counter needs equal coatings. For example, if you put 3 or 4 coats on the bottom side you must balance with 3 or 4 coats on the top side.  Warping may occur if this is not observed.

 

We do not recommend applying color stain directly to the raw bamboo as it is difficult to get the stain even.  If a stain is required, first seal the bamboo with one coat of finish or a wood stain conditioner and then apply the stain, or you can mix the stain into your sealer.  This will give it a uniform finish.  Always test any finish on the underside. 


Mineral Oil As A Sealer

 

If you plan on using the counter as a cutting surface, first, apply two coats of Tung Oil as a base sealer coat; rub out each coat before it dries to avoid pooling and shiny spots. Let dry for a day and then liberally pour on 6 to 10 coats of mineral oil or butcher block oil, it is necessary to flood the bamboo daily for a week or more to completely saturate as deep as possible for complete protection. This top coat of mineral or butcher block oil is to be re-applied every few weeks or until the color doesnt change when applied and then it is only reapplied when the surface appears dry or dull.  Let cure for a week or more before using as a food prep surface.  However, for sanitary reasons, we do recommend that you use a cutting board which can be washed frequently.

 

 Low VOC Tung Oil

 

Of all the finishing options available we have found Tung Oil to be the best for protecting your bamboo counters as well as one of the easiest finishes to apply and maintain.  Tung Oil creates a deep penetrating barrier which protects against moisture, acids, alcohol, and hot and cold damage. Since these finishes retain a certain amount of elasticity, almost indefinitely, they will not cloud, crack, or become brittle when used on interior surface.  We have developed a superior Tung Oil finishing "system" which we package in two-one quart containers.  It includes the base coat primer/sealer Tung Oil - Step 1 and the satin finish Top Coat Tung Oil - Step 2. Our Totally Bamboo Tung Oil* pack is convenient and very easy to apply.

 

Staining

 

Again, we do not recommend applying color stain directly to the raw bamboo as it is difficult to get the stain even.  If a stain is desired, first seal the bamboo with one coat of finish or a wood stain conditioner and then apply the stain, or you can mix the stain into your sealer.  This will give it a uniform finish.  Always test any finish on the underside.  If desired, stain can be added to your first coat of your base coat primer/sealer Tung Oil. You can add up to 1 quart of oil-based stain to 1 gallon (4:1 ratio). We recommend you use an old-fashioned oil-based stain (without additives such as urethane).  Always test the stain mixture on a scrap piece before applying to the entire surface. After desired color is achieved, follow the recommended satin finish Tung Oil.  

 

Tung Oil Application Instructions

 

Note: On all finishes it is of utmost importance to "balance the finish".  The top and bottom of your counter needs equal coatings. For example, if you put 3 or 4 coats on the bottom side you must balance with 3 or 4 coats on the top side, warping may occur if this is not observed. 

 

With either a brush or rag, apply the first of two or three coats of the primer/sealer Tung Oil - Step 1- which we call a base coat. Rub out each coat before it dries to avoid pooling and shiny spots. Make sure and look on the bottom side's edge and wipe off the drips that will always form before they dry.  Let each coat thoroughly dry (about 5 to 8 hours) before applying the next coat. Repeat 2 to 3 times. Let the final base coat dry completely or about 12 or more hours before continuing on to the satin finish top coat - Step 2.

 

Sanding is optional at this point as Tung Oil actually melds into the previous coat eliminating the need to sand for adhesion purposes. Occasionally dust or a bug may mar the surface while drying.  If this is the case, a light sanding with 220 will do the job.  Note:  If you choose to sand be sure to not sand down to the bare wood (especially on edges or sharp corners) it will show on subsequent coatings as a lighter color.  If you do inadvertently sand too much, simple lay the next coat a little thicker on these areas and it will darken and blend.  This may have to be repeated 1 or 2 times to match hues.

 

Next, apply the first of two or three coats of the Tung Oil satin finish topcoat - Step 2.  Let counters completely dry for 49 - 72 hours before use.

 

Note:  Don't forget to make sure and look on the bottom side's edge and wipe off the drips that will always form.

 

After the last top coat is applied and left to dry for a few days, an option is to finish with #00 steel wool or a very fine sanding disc/screen for a smoother surface. We would also recommend an additional final coating of high quality carnauba paste wax will make the surface more durable.  Any good wax made specifically for wood will work, apply with a very fine #00 steel wool and buff out. One of the best features of Tung Oil is the easy upkeep, simply recoat every two/three years, or as needed. 


Installation

 

Once the counter has been completely finished on all sides and edges with the sealer/coating of you choice, it is now ready for installation. While some manufacturers of cabinets and appliances take into consideration expansion and contraction by slotting the screw holes, you should use an undersized screw with a washer or make the pilot holes oversized (3/8" larger in diameter than the screw) using a flat head screw and a large washer. Do not over tighten the screws as this will restrict the natural movement of the top. This movement is common with any wood type counter, our flat and vertical grain models are very stable and the expansion and contraction is limited to about ¼ in width and length, however our parquet panels may expand or contract as much as 1/2" or more in a 96 inch length and 3/8" or more in a 25.5 inch width, remember, the rule of thumb is the bigger the block, the greater the expansion. Care should be taken to allow for this expansion/contraction, a gap should be left to accommodate for this movement next to any fixed cabinet or wall. Our back splash or a quarter round molding will effectively cover this gap but make sure and attach to the wall and not the counter to allow for unrestricted movement of the counter.

 

We recommend fastening the counter every 12" from the underside, this rule of thumb is especially necessary on our parquet models as the end grain has no linear strength and must be fully supported with a beam or skirt on the bottom side.  On some installations it may not be possible to access all areas of the counter.  In this event, use a good quality flexible caulking, such as silicone or any other soft flexible caulk, this will allow for slight movement to accommodate expansion or contraction.

 

Care and Cleaning

 

Clean with warm water with a mild soap, or mix an ounce of white vinegar to a quart of water and fill in spray bottles to use for daily cleaning. Do not use ammonia-based cleaning products like Lysol®, Fantastik®, 409®, Windex®, etc. on a daily basis. (Ammonia based products will soften the oil finish if used frequently.) Occasional cleaning with these products is acceptable. 

 

Try to avoid water puddles for long periods of time; wipe up spills immediately. For bathrooms, do not let soap sit directly on the finish.  Wipe up excess soap immediately. Tung Oil products can be used around stoves it is unaffected by boiling water/liquids up to 220 degrees.  However, always place a potholder or trivet under cookware taken directly from the stovetop or oven.

 

*Totally Bamboo Tung Oil Kits are available for purchase at www.TotallyBamboo.com*

 


 

Warranty for Totally Bamboo Home Products*

 

This limited warranty (hereinafter Warranty) is extended by Totally Bamboo to the original purchaser of Totally Bamboo Home products.

 

Terms:

 

1) All Totally Bamboo Home products are free from manufacturing defects and will remain free from such defects during the Warranty period. 
2) Totally Bamboo Home products are intended for indoor use only and any use outdoors will automatically void any and all warranties.

3) The Warranty period is five (5) year from the date of purchase.

4) The terms of the Warranty provide the exclusive and sole remedy available to you.

5) This Warranty is subject to change and supersedes any other representations and Totally Bamboo specifically disclaims any other warranties, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and/or any warranties alleged to arise from course of dealing or usage of trade.

 

Exclusions:

 

6) This Warranty is expressly limited to manufacturing defects and does not include any damage or defect caused in any manner after your purchase of this product.

7) No warranty coverage is provided in the event your Totally Bamboo Home product is exposed to extreme variations in weather, humidity, moisture, and/or ambient moisture, including but not limited to water saturation and/or any other source of extreme moisture.

8) No warranty coverage is provided for damage due to the following:

a) Impact;

b) Normal wear and tear;

c) Indentations;

d) Scratches;

e) Surface damage;

f) Any damage caused by failure to protect and maintain the Totally Bamboo Home product properly.

g) Improper sealing with any materials or stains or dyes.

h) Settlement of cabinets to which countertops are secured.

9) No warranty coverage is provided for color variations, grain variations, or markings that are ordinary to the natural products or which develop over time because of natural processes such sunlight exposure.

10) Any damage caused to Totally Bamboo Home products during shipment is the responsibility of the shipper and is not covered under this Warranty.  All claims made with the shipper must be reported to Totally Bamboo, in writing, within Five (5) business days of receipt by consumer.

 

In the Event of a Warranty Claim

 

11)  If the Totally Bamboo Home product does not conform to the terms of the Warranty, you must notify Totally Bamboo in writing at the address specified on this Warranty: Totally Bamboo, 1810 Diamond St., San Marcos, CA 92078, and/or via facsimile at (760) 471-6601.

a) You must provide written notice of your claim within 30 days of when you discovered the defect or should have discovered the defect in the ordinary course of due care;

b) You must provide Totally Bamboo with a reasonable opportunity to inspect or examine the defective or nonconforming Totally Bamboo Home product before you undertake any repair, removal, or replacement of the product;

c) Your failure to comply with this requirement will void your Warranty coverage.

12)  Following receipt of a Warranty claim, Totally Bamboo, at its sole option and discretion, shall provide conforming Totally Bamboo Home product to replace any defective Totally Bamboo Home product; alternatively, Totally Bamboo reserves the right to refund the percentage of the purchase price equal to the percentage of the Warranty period remaining as of the date of receipt of the Warranty claim for the defective Totally Bamboo Home product. (For example, if there is a manufacturing defect discovered and warranty claim made after exactly 1 year, Totally Bamboo reserves the right to replace the product or to refund 80% of the purchase price [4 years remaining on 5-year warranty] at the sole and exclusive discretion of Totally Bamboo).

13) In no event shall Totally Bamboo be liable for any cost or damages associated with removal or reinstallation of the product, or the cost of removing any fixture or items of furniture.

14) In no event shall Totally Bamboo be liable for any incidental, special, indirect, or consequential damages alleged to have risen under this Warranty, alleged to be owed due to the failure to deliver goods, or from any use, issue, or inability to use the product due to defects in the property.

15) In no event shall Totally Bamboo be liable for any cost related to shipping or transport of warranty replacements counters.

 

*Not including the Totally Bamboo Vessel Sink - see separate warranty.


 

Totally Bamboo + 1810 Diamond Street + San Marcos, California 92078

Phone: 760.471.6600 Fax: 760.471.6601

 

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