It’s crazy to me how something like the flooring can make such a huge impact! I mean, it’s the floors! But wow, they really make this bathroom. These Cali Bamboo vinyl floors are absolutely stunning in here.
Deciding on Cali Bamboo LVP instead of Tiles
My original plan was to do tile in the bathroom. For several months I was ordering samples and trying to figure out what I wanted but I was never happy. Plus, I was too intimated to completely DIY it, so I knew we’d need some help, and as you remember from my How I Got Started with DIY post, hiring help is so fricken difficult!
(My stack of samples 😂)
Well, during this process, I kept seeing ads for the Cali bamboo longboards. The girl is standing at a beach and holding the flooring like a surfboard and she completely submerges it into the ocean. Know the ad? Well, since the reason I wanted tile was because of the waterproofing, this intrigued me. So, I ordered a sample and did a lot of research on the product. Plus the cost was excellent so I went for it!
I ended up choosing the Cali Vinyl Longboards in North Shore Oak.
How to Install Cali Bamboo Flooring
So, these boards are quite long and wide (9” wide and almost 71” long!). In my mind, that meant that this would be a really quick and easy install. Well, if the room was just a square, it definitely would’ve been. But the bathroom has a lot of angles and it required a lot of cuts. So, it took longer than anticipated. However, if I were to install it now, I know it would be much better because I have the right tools! I only had a miter saw, but the addition of my new jigsaw and circular saw would’ve been very helpful!
Step 1: Demo old floors (maybe?)
So, this was my original plan, but I decided last minute against it. When I took up the transition piece, it looked like the old flooring was glued down, so this was going to be a lot more work than I had originally anticipated. Because this is our only bathroom, I had a really short timeline, so I just couldn’t risk this taking another day or two.
Even though I didn’t go this route, I do recommend it if you can. There are some very small issues in one spot where it seems like the floors are popping up just slightly. You don’t notice it every time, but it’s right in front of the vanity, where I get ready, so I sometimes feel it underfoot. I may end up just shooting a small nail into it which should fix the issue!
Also, if you are re-using old baseboards, you’ll want to remove them at this point as well. Do it carefully, so you can re-install them later on. If you’re installing new ones, you can just pull them out and dispose of them!
Last thing, you’ll want to remove the toilet. This is actually pretty easy to do, but preferably with two people since a toilet is heavy and awkward to carry. We ended up just laying down a towel in the hallway and leaving it there. You can re-install it right after you finish the floors.
Step 2: Install Underlayment
In my Closet Flooring post, I talked about how the underlayment I used there was the kind that comes in a big roll and I wasn’t a huge fan. The Cali bamboo underlayment system is so much better. It’s a fan fold design so it’s much easier to install! It’s also a moisture barrier, so it’s perfect for a bathroom. I laid it down everywhere, then used this waterproofing tape to seal the edges. My bathroom looked a little like a spaceship afterward 🙂
Step 3: Decide the direction of flooring and where to start
Usually, you want to install flooring along the long way, so that it makes the room look longer, which is what I did here. But I wanted to be sure, so I used Lumber Liquidator’s flooring simulator. I found a similar style, and used the simulator to see what direction would look best! This is a pretty cool tool if you haven’t used it before! It confirmed that I wanted to install it the long way.
Next, I had to decide if I wanted to start on the right or the left. Because the tub was on the right, it made more sense to start there. Otherwise, the flooring lip would be touching the tub, and that would look a little weird, or I’d have to cut it off. Instead, the lip is facing the wall and covered by the baseboard.
Then, since these boards are so large, I wanted to get a sense of where the cuts would be. I wanted to avoid having any seams too close together, or at weak points like where the vanity feet would be. To do this, I took all the dimensions of the room, then sketched out a plan using InDesign. I use InDesign at work, so I’m very comfortable with it, but you could use any other tool that you prefer, even simple graph paper. This was extremely helpful and I probably would’ve ended up in a bad spot if I didn’t do this!
Step 4: Start Installing
Again, with only a miter saw, it was really difficult to get the right cuts, but everything else about these floors was very easy. They also click and lock, like my closet floors, so definitely check out that post to see how that process went. I found having the tapping block in this installation set very useful, especially because these boards are a bit more heavy-duty so need a little more muscle to get them in.
I do plan on installing the same flooring in my kitchen either this year or next, so I’ll make sure to get more detailed photos and walk you through that process a bit more!
Step 5: Install or Re-Install Baseboard
I was installing new baseboards with my trim, so I didn’t have to worry about carefully demoing baseboards beforehand. Make sure to check out my Board and Batten post for details on that!
The other thing I had to do was add a small piece of trim along the bottom of the tub. My tub has a small curvature to it, so there was a gap in the middle. Normally, you would try to cut the flooring to match, but again, only a miter saw. I did two things to remedy this. First, I filled that gap with caulk to prevent any water from getting down there. After that, I added this trim along the bottom.
Now, you obviously can’t nail these into the tub (don’t do that!), so I used caulk to secure it in place. I then pressed some weights and books against it to keep it secure while it was drying. After about an hour, I removed them and added another bead of caulk to the top to really ensure that water didn’t get down there! I actually like what this added to the space, so it was kind of a happy accident!
Step 6: Transition piece
The last step is the transition piece! This is just the piece that goes at the end so that it transitions the two flooring pieces nicely. My husband is very annoyed with me because I still haven’t actually secured this piece down haha. I do have a reason, but I probably should’ve at least popped a nail or two in it since it does pop off pretty frequently, but I’ve made it this far, right? 😉
Anyways, the reason that I haven’t is that I do want to extend this flooring into the kitchen, which starts in the hallway just outside the bathroom! It’s going to be a little tricky to get this all clean, and I may need to make some adjustments, but I’d rather hold off on all of that for now until I sit down and make some choices.
Well, obviously if I plan on extending this flooring into my kitchen, I’m a fan! I love the look of it, and it’s really easy to clean. Aside from the difficult cuts, which I do think I could do much better at now, I was quite pleased with the process. As I said, I may need to shoot a nail or two down in front of the vanity, but I think that’s more of an uneven base underneath.