Buyer Beware – You Get What You Pay For

We all know the old sayings “You get what you pay for” and “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is”.    And in the case of Lumber Liquidators, both apparently are true.  This past Sunday night, CBS’s news show “60 Minutes” aired a segment on their investigation of the safety of Lumber Liquidators products, which has captured headlines around the world.

Lumber Liquidators is a nationwide retailer of hardwood and laminate flooring.  They advertise inexpensive flooring options that, when you are looking to upgrade or replace your flooring seem like an attractive option.  Who wouldn’t want a pretty floor, at what seems to be a much cheaper price?  According to 60 Minutes, you don’t and here’s why:  there are serious concerns about the safety of Lumber Liquidators products and also about where and how they get their materials.

The biggest safety concern is the amount of formaldehyde found in the laminate and hardwood flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators and produced in China.  Formaldehyde is a compound chemical made up of formaldehydecarbon, hydrogen and oxygen.  It can be found all over, since it both occurs naturally and is manufactured for industrial use in many of the products we use today.  In the case of flooring, it is often used in the adhesives that hold the wood and laminate particles together.  Formaldehyde can be highly dangerous, damaging your health if concentrations are high.  It can cause respiratory problems, headaches, skin rashes, eye and throat problems, and fatigue.  It can trigger asthma attacks in people who are prone to them, and is a proven carcinogen.  You might say so what if it is in the floor, isn’t it contained there?  The answer is no, it doesn’t stay in the floor.  Just as a fragrance can be released from a material, so too can formaldehyde. Over time it simply leaches out into the air you breathe.

In the 60 Minutes investigation, an environmental attorney in California ordered testing to be done on 150 cases of laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators.  California has standards on how much formaldehyde is safe to be in certain products. These legal limits are set by the California Air Resources board (CARB).  In the testing of the laminate from Lumber Liquidators, they found 13 times the amount of formaldehyde in the Chinese Laminate products. Some of the product tested was 20 times higher.


Tiger walking in the snow by Tambako the Jaguar is licensed under CC by 2.0

We at Yankee Classic Flooring, Inc. were already aware of lawsuits filed against Lumber Liquidator’s Flagship line, Bellawood.  The lawsuits allege that Bellawood is sourced from illegal logging operations in protected forests in the far eastern part of Russia, and delivered through suppliers that Lumber Liquidator’s work with in China. These forests are the natural habitat of the endangered Siberian Tiger. Lumber Liquidator’s Russian Timber suppliers have been convicted in Russia of 15 counts of illegal logging.

A separate lawsuit has been filed against Lumber Liquidator’s in reference to their bamboo flooring product.  Lumber Liquidator’s claims that their Morning Star Bamboo flooring is extremely durable and free of defects for 30 years.  However, there have been several complaints of defects showing up within weeks of installation.

Why do we bring this all to your attention?  Because at Yankee Classic Flooring we believe that you should know what products go into your home.  Good quality product comes at a price.   We don’t buy from questionable sources, we know where our flooring products come from.  We buy our wood from northern Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota family farms, which in turn have the product locally milled.

In the past 5 years, we have seen more finishing operations open up locally in the state of Wisconsin. This will guarantee that all pre-finished products are being stained and finished in Wisconsin, following strict guidelines and codes in this process.

Yankee Classic Flooring scrutinizes all products that we bring in to sell to the customer. We understand that we might not be the most inexpensive, but offer safety and quality to our customer on all products we install and finish. If you ever have a question about what we sell, just ask us!

Lumber  Liquidators certainly offers “cheap” inexpensive products – but now we fully understand the ramifications.

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