Thursday, July 2, 2015

Formaldehyde Free Flooring?

By Crystal Hosking, Hosking Hardwood Flooring

You’ve exchanged your gas guzzler for a more environmentally friendly smart car. You’ve taken the steps to quit smoking in order to reduce the over 4000 chemicals ingested with each puff. You’ve reduced your carbon footprint and pesticide intake by shopping the local farmer markets. These are all simple steps for a healthier home for you and your family! But could your own house be poisoning you?

How safe are the materials in your home?

How safe are the building materials in your home?

The hardwood flooring industry has always been pretty candid regarding formaldehyde levels of certain engineered flooring products. It was never a secret that formaldehyde was a major part of physically keeping some subfloors and engineered flooring together. Engineered flooring is a layer of real wood fused to either cross layers of plywood or a birch or pine core. You can read more about engineered flooring construction here. Formaldehyde is significant in this process. Or, at least, it was.

So, what IS formaldehyde anyways?

Composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, formaldehyde is a chemical that occurs naturally in our atmosphere. We are constantly exposed to this organic compound in small doses. These small amounts of formaldehyde floating around in our atmosphere are naturally disposed of, breaking down in sunlight and in water and therefore not causing any harm to you.

If formaldehyde is a natural gas of the Earth, then what’s the problem?

Well, problems with formaldehyde arise when levels of the gas form are increased, especially in enclosed areas with low ventilation. Typically, when one thinks of toxic gases, automobile exhaust and cigarette smoke come to mind. However, there is a wide array of products that consumers come in contact with on a daily basis which contain formaldehyde, including:

Car Parts

Copiers and Printers

Facial Tissue, Napkins and Paper Towels

Fungicides, Germicides and Disinfectants


Glues and Adhesives

Insulation Materials

Laminates, Compressed Hardwoods and Carpet


Particleboard, Plywood and Fiberboard (popular subfloors)

Shampoos and Cosmetics

Perhaps the biggest shocker is the realization that formaldehyde is one of the main chemicals used for the embalming process in mortuaries. It’s used for temporarily preserving dead bodies. And manufacturers are putting these chemicals in your lipsticks and shampoos?!!

What makes formaldehyde dangerous to the living is that it is classified as a VOC, which stands for Volatile Organic Compound. When VOCs reach room temperature, they convert to a gas form and “off gas” into the air. If a high enough concentration of these formaldehyde gases are ingested, it can cause significant damage and, in some cases, death.

Severity of the side effect of formaldehyde exposure can vary from person to person and obviously is dependent on formaldehyde levels in the air. As mentioned earlier, formaldehyde is constantly present as a naturally occurring gas in our atmosphere; it’s really just high concentrations that should be avoided. Symptoms of high formaldehyde intake are: irritation of the eyes, ears and throat, coughing, wheezing, skin irritation, headaches, dizzy spells and nausea. Long term exposure is thought to cause nose and throat cancer.

No wonder the “green” movement is making strides. As “green” living has become more widespread, consumers are beginning to take more interest in what they are actually putting into their homes – everything from food products to personal hygiene products to the construction materials used to build homes and renovate. In fact, in recent years (when formaldehyde was labeled a human carcinogen) major engineered flooring manufacturers have started taking a more in depth approach to lessening the amount of formaldehyde present in their final consumer products.

Obviously, nobody wants to experience the short term or long term symptoms of high formaldehyde exposure. So, how does a consumer guard their home and family against this dangerous chemical when it seems to be present in everything?

As government and environmental agencies started discovering just how dangerous formaldehyde really is, regulations on the chemical became more stringent and all encompassing. Perhaps one of the first huge steps in regulating formaldehyde came from the California Air Resources Board, commonly referred to as CARB (also as ARB). The CARB was established in the late 1960’s and their mission statement is: “To promote and protect public health, welfare and ecological resources through the effective and efficient reduction of air pollutants, while recognizing and considering the effects on the state’s economy.” (You can find this and more information about CARB at The CARB basically regulates the amount of formaldehyde found in products marketed to the U.S. consumer and many states have absorbed the CARB standards into their own state policies. Most of the top hardwood flooring manufacturers are now CARB compliant; meaning the formaldehyde off gassing from their engineered products is below the limit allowed by CARB and recognized a safe level. Along with the CARB, the U.S. government has taken a stance against unhealthy off gassing with The Clean Air Act and, most recently, President Obama signed the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, establishing specific limits for formaldehyde emissions, specifically from composite wood products.

With all of the actions taken by government agencies and private environmental groups, alternatives to products with high formaldehyde levels are becoming increasingly available. The hardwood flooring industry has taken many steps since the first CARB VOC policies were introduced, and now makes cleaner, greener flooring products with lower formaldehyde emissions.

Specifically, engineered flooring manufacturers originally used Urea Formaldehyde adhesives during the pressing process, offering the lowest cost but, at the same time, the highest levels of formaldehyde off gassing. An example of the industry’s changing standards is the introduction of Phenol Formaldehyde Adhesive (PF), as well as No Added Formaldehyde Adhesives (NAF). Some of the major brands of engineered flooring that boast of their little to no formaldehyde emissions are Award, Harris Wood, Mannington, Kahrs and Teragren Bamboo. You can learn more about specific manufacturers by visiting their own website, as virtually every brand of hardwood flooring these days has their own site listing the company’s history, technical specifications, environmental stance, product lines and more.

So, if low-to-no formaldehyde processes are readily available, then why are some manufacturers still not complying with the CARB standards?? The answer is simple: low cost processes are high in toxins = cheaper products. If you search for the least expensive engineered flooring, you’ll probably find that the cheapest products are made outside of the U.S. by foreign owned flooring companies. These cheap engineered products, usually coming straight from China, may seem like a great and affordable way to put hardwood flooring in your home, but they also contain the high toxin levels and formaldehyde emissions. Most hardwood flooring manufacturers in North America and Europe are fully compliant with the CARB emission rate policies.

Ultimately, you’re never going to be completely rid of formaldehyde emissions. However, there are steps that you can take to greatly reduce the level of off gassing happening in your own home:

  1. Recognize older building materials already in use in your home which may be out of code in terms of formaldehyde emissions and make a plan to replace these materials in the future.
  2. Prior to deciding on building materials for your home, do your research and find out the specifics on the particular products you’d like to use.
  3. Make smarter choices when it comes to remodeling your home by using low-to-no formaldehyde products.

Tags: buying hardwood, CARB, Engineered Hardwood Flooring, Formaldehyde, Green Flooring

Comments: 50

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  • Arlene

    I am happy to learn here that there are companies offering low-to-no formaldehyde products as I have MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity). Is there a publication available that lists all low or no VOCs. We just finished a great deal of painting using Sherwin Williams no VOC’s paint and it was wonderful/

  • Hi Arlene,

    Unfortunately, to my knowledge there’s no specific publication dealing with individual products that feature low/no VOCs. As manufacturers are becoming more and more aware of their presence on the internet, though, manufacturer websites are becoming a wealth of information when researching technical information. In the future, I would definitely recommend visiting a particular manufacturer’s website when researching a purchase in order to help you decide on the “greenest” product for your home.

  • Kyle

    I am planning on installing a virginia mills hardwood flooring called castle park oak. It is not a laminate or enigineered, per se, but is a “butcher block” style with multiple smaller strips of wood glued together to make up individual boards. Virginia Mills is not on the carb compliant list. How do I find out if this product contains significant amounts of formaldehyde?

  • Many manufacturers these days have very detailed websites where they post a lot of the technical information regarding their flooring. I would recommend checking there first and if you can’t find the formaldehyde content via their website, contact them directly. Reputable companies always have contact information available on their site to keep a good line of communication open with their customers.

  • kathy

    I’m getting hardwood floors but cannot find a subfloor that doesnt contain formaldehyde. Any ideas?

  • If you’re looking for a formaldehyde free plywood subfloor, you might want to look into a product called PureBond Plywood. It’s available in many Home Depot stores. With PureBond, the plywood is compressed using a soy based adhesive, which contains no hazardous formaldehyde-emitting chemicals.

  • Daisy Pooh

    Hi Jeff – I just ordered Invincible Titanium Laminate flooring for my Living room. Obviously I have not done my homework, after reading your article, I am now thinking about changing it to hard wood. Other that oak, are the rest of the hard woods formaldehye free?

  • Hi Daisy,

    Any wood species can be formed into a formaldehyde free hardwood floor, it’s really based on the manufacturer. We would recommend taking a look at Kahrs Hardwood Flooring, as they have the best record for low emission hardwood flooring products and have a great range of styles and colors to choose from. Click here.

  • Hi Daisy,

    Any wood species can be formed into a formaldehyde free hardwood floor, it’s really based on the manufacturer. We would recommend taking a look at Kahrs Hardwood Flooring, as they have the best record for low emission hardwood flooring products and have a great range of styles and colors to choose from.

  • Daisy Pooh

    Thank you. I will be sharing your website with my family and friends!

  • Linda Feiges

    We bought a new Condo in Maryland. The builder is Beazer. For 3 years we have noticed a peculiar odor . It is from the Armstrong engineered floors. We are so scared we will get cancer from breathing in the fumes for this long. Please help as soon as possible. Can you find out anything and let us know.

  • Lara

    What are your thoughts on Millstead clic lock flooring. Purchased 1340 sq feet for basement remodel then saw the notice in the box regarding formaldehyde! Using it in an office, living/kitchen, and playroom. States it meets and exceeds CARB standard (phase II). Still concerned, but will have to pay a huge fee for restocking. Help! Need an expert opinion. May return and purchase Mohawk?

  • carol Schuett

    Can you tell me if the Mirage brand of engineered wood contains large amounts of formaldehyde?

  • Hi Carol,

    Unfortunately, we don’t sell Mirage hardwood flooring. Usually the easiest way to find the level of VOCs in a hardwood floor is to go directly to the manufacturer’s website. There should be a link with “Technical” information where they list all of their certifications. If not, you should be able to get the information from a sales rep for the brand. Usually contact information is easy to find on the specific brand’s website.

  • Angie Weheliye

    We had purchased Mohawk 12mm laminate, which was CARB compliant, but I still got a sore throat & headache as soon as removing a few from the packaging. So we have returned it and are looking for something with no chemicals. The label on the box said this product has materials which the state of California has determined to cause cancer and/or reproductive harm. I don’t understand how this stuff can still be used, we have to get away from so many chemicals!

  • sue valenti

    I just had 23 boxes of somerset engineered floors delivered on Friday. I just finished watching 2020 and I think I’m going to be sick. How do I determine if it has over a carb 2 level of formaldehyde? the floors are going in 10 days from now. Thanks,

  • marieb

    We have just installed Armstrong engineered wood flooring. We still have a box of the planks in the garage. Is there a laboratory we can take a sample just to have the formaldehyde level checked. Even though box says levels are compliant, we would like to check ourselves.

    Thank you.

  • Nancy Gentile

    Many thanks for this article. Just saw the “60 Minutes” segment last night on Chinese made laminate flooring coming from Lumber Liquidators. I got right on the phone with my apt. landlord (I’m in a new building with laminate flooring” and our flooring comes from Mohawk. I am hoping that upon further research i will discover that, since this is likely American made, it is following the CARB regs.

  • Charlotte

    We are considering vinyl plank flooring. Should we be concerned about
    formaldehyde content or does it depend on the manufacturer. We originally saw this product at Lumber Liquidators and they have recently been in the news. Really concerned as to the product safety as we also have pets.

  • I had a laminated floor installed just last year and after hearing that 60 minutes was investigating what was in the process Lumber liquidators had in their product I removed it and sent an e-mail to the company only to get a reply that everything has the chemical and they admit to having the spec. required by law. That is not what 60 minutes found in their tests. I have purchased Invincible Titanium and hope it is okay< The Carpet -One company rep. said it is one of the best is this true. Thank-you

  • Paul Battisti

    Having already installed my flooring, is there somewhere that I can get a piece of it tested in California ?

  • Although we’re not sure where to go to get a specific product tested in CA, click here for a notice from the Air Resources Board.

  • One of the benefits of working with Somerset flooring is that it’s all made in the USA, so tracking from birth to end consumer is easy. Somerset is in charge every step of the way and makes sure of compliance throughout the entire process. You can find more information right on their site, including certifications: Somerset Hardwood Flooring

  • Some older styles of vinyl flooring may have formaldehyde present, but most of the top brands these days are formaldehyde free. Ultimately, though, it will depend on the specific manufacturer. Always check the certifications on the brand’s website prior to making a decision.

  • Oksana

    I had Morning Glory strand carbonized bamboo installed in my house 2 years ago. It was praised by HGTV and installed in one of their 2 million dollar house at Kiawah Island. I didn’t do my homework well. I opened a case with Lumber Liquidators. I found the following info under FLOORING 101, BAMBOO MSDA on LL website regarding this product. Would you please help me to understand if it is unsafe. Thank you.

    3. Composition / Information on Ingredients
    Name CAS Number Percentage Agency Exposure Limits Comments
    Bamboo1 None 93-97 OSHA PEL-TWA 15 mg/m3 Total dust
    OSHA PEL-TWA 5 mg/m3 Respiratory dust fraction
    ACGIH TLV-TWA 3 mg/m3 Respiratory dust fraction
    ACGIH TLV-TWA 10 mg/m3 Inhalable particles
    cured adhesive2 50-00-0 3-7 OSHA PEL-TWA 0.75 ppm Free gaseous
    OSHA PEL-STEL 2.0 ppm Free gaseous
    ACGIH TLV-Ceiling 0.3 ppm Free gaseous
    Photo polymerized
    coating- finish None less than 0.5 OSHA None May contain plastic and aluminum oxide ACGIH None May contain plastic and aluminum oxide
    1. Bamboo is a part of flowering perennial evergreen plants in the grass family (poaceae). Bamboo is regulated as an organic dust in a category otherwise known as PNOR (Particulates Not Otherwise Regulated) or nuisance dust by OSHA. The ACGIH classifies dust or particulate in this category as ”Particulates Not Otherwise Specified”.
    2. Contains less than 0.01% free formaldehyde.

  • If Lumber Liquidators has been found to be mislabeling their products as CARB compliant, the technical information that they supply might not really help you. Your best bet would be to get a sample of the material tested. You can find more information at: California Environmental Protection Agency.

  • kathleen n

    2 years ago I bought quite a bit of laminate from Costco and had it installed. After the 60 minutes program, I had the air checked in both rooms and it comes in with Elevated levels of Formaldehyde. 51 and 57 ppb. this is above the 20 ppb that is considered safe. I’ve contacted Costco by phone (message) and by email. I hope to get a return on those messages soon. My questions are: 1. Should Costco be scrutinized like Lumber Liquidators? 2. should I replace all this flooring (I’m getting an air filter machine specific for formaldehyde? 3. Is it only in California that I would have a case against the manufacturer or is it now country-wide that this is a problem that must be addressed by the manufacturer?
    thank you.

  • Hi Kathleen,

    If the flooring that you got from Costco had different formaldehyde levels listed on the description, it is definitely something to complain to Costco about since it’s a mislabeling issue. Unfortunately, since you’ve had it down so long, unless you’ve kept a box or the paperwork that came with it, it’ll be difficult to prove what the label said at the time.

    When you are able to speak to someone at Costco, see what your options are in terms of having them replace your flooring or offer you some sort of compensation for the deception. If there was a brand name (other than Costco) on the packaging, you would probably be better off directing your questions towards the specific manufacturer as well. I would recommend holding off on replacing the entire floor until you see how the formaldehyde levels react to the air filter machine. However, usually formaldehyde in household products dissipates gradually over time (never fully outgases but will lessen). It’s concerning that there are still such high levels after two years. Also, check your rooms for any other possible sources of formaldehyde. Keep in mind that formaldehyde will volatilize faster when the source is heated (even if it’s just the sun from a nearby window).

    Different states have different policies in place for emissions levels. I would recommend checking with your specific state’s laws and go from there. Many states these days use the California specifications as their own, so if this is the case with yours, you may be able to take legal action against Costco/the flooring brand.

  • kathleen n

    Thank you for that info, I do have an unopened box of the same flooring bought at the same time. Costco has contacted me and we are going to figure out if it is indeed the flooring or some other source, but the flooring seems to be the obvious problem since I rarely use the fireplace, the heat is set in the 60s, the room is regularly aired out, and the paint on the walls is low VOC.

  • Peggy

    I am 71 year old retired widow on limited income. I installed engineered floors from lumber liquidators several years ago because carpet is bad for my allergies. After the 60 minutes report I am very concerned and not sure what to do. I have an extra box of the flooring in my garage. It is Schon cinnamon toast. Carb No TPC-03-V05CDQ07A. 10/14/2009. California 93120 Phase 1 Compliant for Formaldehyde. Made in China.
    I don’t really trust the info. How long do the floors emit formaldehyde? How do I find out if they are safe? Thank you so much for any help you can offer.

  • Hi Peggy,
    If the flooring contains formaldehyde, it will dissipate gradually over time, but it will never completely be free of formaldehyde. There are formaldehyde testing kits available for consumers to test the levels in their homes themselves or you could hire a company to come in and test indoor air quality.

  • Mary

    Hi Jeff,
    I am planning on installing Bruce red oak hardwood floors from Lowe’s. I do not want to be bother with hardwood floor install and waiting thru the process of waiting for the stain to dry. Can you tell me if it contains formaldehyde. Looking at the Spice Oak and Butterscotch Oak. Will be installed in a bedroom.

  • Hi Mary,

    Here is the information Armstrong/Bruce has sent to us regarding CARB compliance:

    Armstrong Engineered Wood Flooring: Domestic Production
     All Armstrong domestic engineered wood flooring products meet the CARB Phase II emissions limits for
    HWPW which requires panel emissions of <0.05 ppm when tested in accordance with the ASTM E1333-
    96 test method. Armstrong’s domestic plants produce their own HWPW and are regulated as a
    manufacturer under the regulation. Products are certified by the Hardwood Plywood Veneer Association
    under the agency’s third party certification program to ensure compliance with CARB Phase II.

    Armstrong Engineered Wood Flooring: Non-Domestic Production
     All imported Armstrong engineered wood flooring products meet the CARB Phase II emissions limits for
    HWPW which requires panel emissions of <0.05 ppm when tested in accordance with the ASTM E1333-
    96 test method. These facilities purchase their HWPW and are therefore regulated as a fabricator under
    the regulation. All HWPW suppliers to Armstrong are certified by a Third Party Certifier approved by
    California Air Resources Board to ensure compliance with CARB Phase II.

    Armstrong Laminate Flooring
     All Armstrong laminate flooring products meet the CARB Phase II emissions limits for MDF which
    requires panel emissions of <0.11 ppm when tested in accordance with the ASTM E1333-96 test
    method. Facilities manufacturing products for Armstrong purchase their MDF and are regulated as
    fabricators under the CARB regulation. All MDF suppliers to Armstrong are certified by a Third Party
    Certifier approved by California Air Resources Board to ensure compliance with CARB Phase II.

    Armstrong Solid Wood Products
     Armstrong solid wood products do not contain formaldehyde-based resins in their construction and are
    not made from ‘composite wood products’ that are subject to CARB or other specific regulations on
    product emissions.

  • Melanie


    We bought our place 2 years ago and had laminate installed before we moved in. It began to mark up badly and swell. We had it tested and the company agreed to take it out and purchase new product. Now, I’m pregnant and doing research on products and how many have fumes and chemicals that are released into the air. Is it safe to change the laminate since I’m now pregnant and if so which is safer; laminate, engineered hardwood, or hardwood? They all seem to have different problems. The company I had used was Shaw, is there any specific product with Shaw that is the safest? When I do change the floor, should I not stay in the house for a certain time due to my pregnancy? Thank you!

  • The difference in formaldehyde levels between solid hardwood, engineered hardwood and laminate will depend on the specific manufacturer. Most of the top solid hardwood brands will have no formaldehyde (or very little) because it’s a solid piece of wood and no resins are used to fuse pieces together. With engineered hardwood, it heavily depends on the brand. One of the better brands with this is Kahrs. They have evolved over the years to stop using solvents in their adhesives and finishes. Laminate flooring is a bit trickier because none of the product is real wood and there are lots of layers to fuse together. For most major brands, you can find their CARB II compliance records on their website. Since the LL scandal, manufacturers have been quick to make the technical information regarding their products very accessible to consumers.

    As far as replacing your flooring during your pregnancy, we’re not medically qualified to make a recommendation either way. The best advice we can give would be to stay out of the house during rip up and install just to prevent breathing in any dust that may kick up. The perfect flooring recommendation would be to go with a Kahrs product for the replacement. All Kahrs products feature a click lock (much like a laminate floor would) and do not need any adhesives for installation. You’d be cutting out any chemicals involved in a glued down engineered as well as going with a pretty environmentally healthy floor.

    If your situation allows for a solid install, Lauzon makes a Pure Genius solid option in which the finish is said to actually purify the air of the room it’s installed in. For more information on this finish, visit the Lauzon site directly: here.

  • Melanie

    Great, thanks for your response. I just had one more question about hardwood floors. I saw they don’t have the formaldehyde but they do put an aluminum oxide finish on top of the hardwood floors which can be dangerous if you sand the floors down to refinish. Is that a concern and if so are there any hardwood floors that don’t have that finish?

  • Most prefinished flooring these days will have the Aluminum Oxide finish. One alternative would be to go with an oil finished floor or with an unfinished and have it finished onsite. (Although there are fumes involved in site finishing).

  • vmkvt

    Hi Jeff, Thank you so much for sharing the useful information. We are planning to go for solid hardwood flooring for our living room, kitchen and dinning. We thought of going for Brazilan Cherry. As I read about Formaldehyde , I would like to know if Brazlian Cherry contain any Formaldehyde . I would like to know which hardwood material contains NO Formaldehyde, and from which companyI need to buy from? Is Bella or Bruce good ? Pls advice. If Bella is good, is it OK to buy it from LL ? Also while installing, what kind of glue we need to use ? Will the aluminum oxide coating on the hardwood flooring is bad for health and children. As I have a small kid, I would like to decide on the right option. Pls help

  • Formaldehyde levels are more a concern with floors that are pressed together, like engineered or laminate. As solid hardwood is just a solid piece of wood, you shouldn’t have any concerns about formaldehyde. For the best quality material, we would recommend getting Brazilian Cherry straight from the source: IndusParquet. IndusParquet is a Brazilian company, milling right in the heart of where the raw material is coming from and they are diligent about their milling quality standards. We would recommend staying away from BellaWood, as we’ve heard some complaints about the finished product and there have been issues in the past concerning the sourcing of their raw material.

    If you are planning on a 3/4 IN. thick solid floor, you won’t be able to glue down to the subfloor — you’d have to nail or staple down (no formaldehyde concerns there). You can glue down thinner solids. We recommend using Bostik adhesives, which offer many products with low to no VOCs (They list all their LEED specs on their website). The Aluminum Oxide finish is not a health risk at all. If you sand and refinish in the future, we recommend using a professional who has experience with Aluminum Oxide finishes, as the sanding process can be tricky and a dustless system must be used.

  • Megan

    Hello…we are getting ready to purchase shaw hickory hill Stonehenge engineered hardwood floors. I have asthma as well allergies. I have read alot on these issues, and haven’t came across much on this flooring. Do you have any feedback on this for me, and do you feel this will be a safe product for our home. The home would be 1st and 2nd floor, all Shaw Stonehenge. Thanking you in advance.

  • Hi Megan,

    We don’t sell this particular collection, so we can’t guarantee any specifics in terms of how this product is made. However, after some preliminary research, we can say that it is made in the USA — which is always a good sign. For more specs regarding CARB compliance and VOC off-gassing, we would recommend contacting Shaw directly: Shaw Website. They should be able to forward you the technical details of the floor you’re interested in.

  • Hi, We bought an old home ( 30 yrs) and we are planning to install the solid hardwood flooring in the dining , kitchen and living room. Our budget is 4-6$ per sft. We checked multiple varities and brands like Bella, Bruce, Amstrong, Virginia mills and Builders Pride. But the review of them is not good..We are in need of your suggestion what kind of brand we should go for for a high duratibily wood ( as per the chart oak and above). Pls help which brand we need to buy.

  • We would recommend taking a look at Somerset: click here. Somerset’s floors are all made in the USA and are made with an Aluminum Oxide Finish. Somerset offers their floors with a 50 Year Residential Finish Warranty and a Lifetime Structural Warranty. All our customers love the brand and their products.

  • Julie

    I am at a loss. My 4 year old daughter has leukemia and, as such, is at a greater risk of getting it again (ie relapse). I am overwhelmed by determining the safest floor for her. We are on a limited budget but I need to do what is safest. We have 3 young children and are looking at handscraped floors and our contractor says handscraped hardwoods from lumber liquidators are safe but I have a hard time believing that, especially since we had chosen a strand bamboo. I just want someone to tell me exactly what floors to put in! I do not want to take any more time away from my daughter to do flooring research :/

  • alina

    You mentioned Lauzon brand. How does that compare with Kahrs? Which one would you recommend for the lower voc and formaldehyde emissions? Thank you.

  • Julie,

    We are so sorry to hear about your daughter and hope she beats this. It’s hard to imagine dealing with that and have to deal with figuring out the best product for you home at the same time. There’s a lot of misinformation floating around the marketplace right now because of the LumberLiquidators laminate scandal. It can be super confusing. While we can’t speak on the product from LumberLiquidators, we can give you some information which may be helpful regarding some of the top independent brands in bamboo flooring.

    Because raw material for bamboo flooring comes from China, that’s where most bamboo flooring is manufactured. It’s convenient and just logical. Just like with every manufacturer of every home commodity, there are awesome bamboo manufacturers and then there are bamboo manufacturers that leave a little something to be desired when it comes to quality. That being said, there are a few companies with great reputations when it comes to quality as well as transparency with information.

    Teragren. Find Teragren Environmental Certifications here on their site.

    Trillium. Find Trillium Environmental Finish Certifications here on their site.

    Wellmade. Find Wellmade Environmental Certifications here on their site.

    Handscraped Strand Bamboo isn’t super common, but there are a couple options from the above mentioned manufacturers.

    Wellmade Bamboo: Cognac French Bleed. A popular choice from Wellmade, featuring a french bleed (blackened edges and ends).

    Trillium Bamboo: Handscraped Clic Strand. This collection features a few different colors as well as a click locking installation, which saves time and money.

    Teragren currently offers no handscraped styles in their product line, but they do have a variety of strand options.

    When it comes to bamboo, the old adage “you get what you pay for” certainly rings true. We all love a great deal, but if you’re paying less than $2 for any type of bamboo, we’d recommend shying away and finding a better option. Super cheap bamboo products tend to be harvested before full maturity, meaning a less durable product, and also probably don’t have a reputable manufacturing history.

    We hope this information helps with your decision making process. If any other questions come up, just let us know.

  • Hi Alina,

    Kahrs and Lauzon are pretty similar when it comes to their VOC levels. What puts Lauzon ahead a bit is their Pure Genius finish, which actually takes harmful emissions out of the air and filters them out. Read more about Pure Genius here on Lauzon’s site.

    Pure Genius is standard in some of their collections: Lauzon Smart Hardwood Flooring. But is also available to be special ordered on pretty much any of their other products (whether solid or engineered).

  • Deb Dutcher

    Hi Jeff, we bought HL188H CARB Phase 2 SCS-09-0116 flooring and have not yet installed it..Now I am thinking that I should take it back. Is this one of the safe ones? I have been diagnosed with Lyme disease and get nauseous easily….should we take a chance and put it down. We bought at Home Depot a few months ago, not sure if they will even take it back.

  • Deb Dutcher

    I also wonder how many Chinese people are getting sick from the manufacturing of this material.

  • Hi Deb,

    Unfortunately, since we don’t sell this particular product, we can’t really give advice regarding the technical specifications for it. A lot of the big box stores have recently stopped selling laminate products that are coming out of China. We would definitely recommend going back to them to see if this was one of the products they pulled from their shelves and/or get a emissions testing kit and test it yourself for VOC emissions before you decide whether to install it or not.

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