Bamboo flooring from LL bad odor

rg100March 25, 2012

I purchased morning star bamboo strand click flooring from Lumber Liquidators. Little did I know that it would release a bad acidic odor which will not go away, it actually made me sick. I paid someone to install it and now i have to take the flooring out and LL wont give a full refund and is charging 20% restock fee. After researching i found out that LL is aware of the problem and does not disclose it to consumers who are purchasing the product.

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ours had that, but it went away.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 4:49PM
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We're sorry to hear you're dissatisfied. No matter where you source bamboo, some items may need to "gas off" as other postings note. The process simply means the packaged material once unpackaged and allowed to adjust to the rooms temperature and humidity will begin to normalize and the scent will dissipate. Installed material is deemed accepted and the problem you shared is not one common as a concern raised by consumers. We sell thousands of sq ft of this material each week and would be flooded with this type of concern if it was truly a broader issue. The care instructions are as follows: HANDLE WITH CARE
To prevent board warping or bowing; do not cut the packaging plastic support bindings until ready to install. Do not stand flooring on ends or sides. Do not store directly on bare concrete or next to outside walls. Cartons should be placed as close to the center of the installation area as possible. Store flat supporting to the ends and center sections. Store in a dry place being sure to provide air flow under and around cartons. Keep out of direct sunlight and away from air vents. You regulation of interior conditions may be a contributing factor. All wood items have their own "smells" and if this was an issue it would be known as the product was removed form the box and the invoice states we will take product back. Fully installed material is accepted, so you failed to follow these instructions and we regret this ended up leaving you dissatisfied. This case highlights the importance of reading and following these detailed instructions.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 9:28AM
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I'm sorry you had this problem, and agree with you about hating restocking fees and feeling it's wrong. I too just installed a bamboo strand floor in my kitchen, I purchased it at Costco, and it had no significant odor (except a slight new product odor). I left it in my house for 4 days to accument prior to having it installed, and didn't follow the list given above, since they were stacked in my lvingroom one on top of the other.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 10:20AM
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are you kiding me with your post directorcustcare444?? The instructions were followed, and you tell me that its my fault your bamboo product outgases formaldehyde?? Which is defined as "A gas at room temperature, formaldehyde is colorless and has a characteristic pungent, irritating odor etc...In view of its widespread use, toxicity and volatility, exposure to formaldehyde is a significant consideration for human health.[5] On 10 June 2011, the US National Toxicology Program has described formaldehyde as "known to be a human carcinogen". Is all of this in your instructions that you say i didnt follow? Does it say in your instructions that formaldehyde, a carcinogen, will be released into your home, but according to you its ok because it will eventually go away?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 11:26AM
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rg100, the person who wrote that from LL should be ashamed of him/herself! (What does LL stand for?) It's horrible putting the blame on you. Have you thought of taking it one step further, to Shame on You (local TV stations here have it)? Showing the answer you got here should be embarressing enough to them to give you a full refund, which I feel you deserve.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 9:45PM
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LL is lumber liquidators. tx for your reply ilene.

here is another post on the web from a person with similar problem:

.Sick of bamboo floor fumes problem
If one has installed a bamboo floor and had trouble with fumes? We purchased Morning Star Bamboo from Lumber Liquidators and installed it in a bedroom. We had planned to do the whole second floor with it but had installation delays--luckily! We noticed a strange, acrid odor right after installation. We weren't using the room much, though, so it wasn't a problem. We just left the window open for a few days, thinking that would take care of it. Well, a couple months later we moved in and the fumes were AWFUL--I mean, make your eyes tear and your nose burn awful. For the past month we have been venting the room with a fan to the outside, but it doesn't seem to be doing much good. We've been sleeping in this room and if we can't ventilate it for at least ten hours first (and we often can't now that the weather is getting so cold) then I wake up with a burning nose and a headache and my husband's eyes swell up. This product supposedly meets "more stringent" European emission standards, but it is definitely causing a health issue for us--perhaps not for folks who don't have allergies or sensitivities or whatever, but for us it is a big problem. LL will not take what's left back. I'm wondering if anyone else has had similar problems with bamboo products and whether they've been able to mitigate it. I don't really want to continue with the installation, but if LL continues to balk at taking it back, we're not sure what we'll do...looking into other flooring options, but if we're saddled with this bamboo, we may not have $$ left over to do anything with this floor and may have to do what we can with ventilating whenever we can! If this is a known health issue with these floors, though, and not "just us" (I do have a type of migraine that makes me sensitive to chemicals) then we want to push LL both to take this stuff back and to stop selling it!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 4:32PM
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rg100, I was serious when I suggested taking this to a "shame on you" type place, they would shame them into at the least not charging you for a restocking fee, which I truly think is shameful.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 6:41PM
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Lumber Liquidators customer care has refused to return my calls. So I will now unleash a campaign on the internet to inform everyone about this incident. I will also get a group together to picket in front of Lumber Liquidators stores including the main offices and I will also speak to the media. If anyone from Lumber Liquidators is reading this post, you should be ashamed of yourself because i was so polite and nice and all i wanted was a refund despite the fact that your product got me and my family sick.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 10:12PM
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RG100, I'm glad your reacting to what they aren't doing. I'm wishing you the best of luck! Where are their home offices? Where are you? I'm in NY, Long Island.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 5:02PM
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this is getting comical. Lumber liquidators manager told me that its all my fault because i didnt do extensive research and should have known that formaldehyde was used to make the flooring and that i apparently should have read everyone elses complaints LOL. LL refuses to refund the unopened material and will not exchange for something elses. i am out almost 1000 dollars and the manager offered me $50.00 for my troubles, what a joke Lumber Liquidators. i even emailed Tom Sullivan the founder and chairman, no response. lumber liquidators will not let me put a review on the website they only pick the reviews that mostly benefit them apparently. what a joke.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 11:00AM
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correction on last post LL will not return opened items

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 11:08AM
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Wow! I am really glad I found this post! We are getting ready to put down 2,600 ft of bamboo.....and we may have ended up at Lumber Liquidators. We really wanted the click strand carbonized to float our floor on concrete, but I guess we may need to go with the T&G from iFloor.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 7:49PM
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I didn't know about bamboo flooring having such a stink either. Thank you for the post. I bought a box of it at Lowes to test the color. When I unpacked it my eyes started to burn and my nose stuffed up. I put the opened and unpacked box of flooring in the basement to outgas. A week later I put it outside to outgas, then back in the basement for the last 2 months. I just took a couple of pieces up to the room where it was going to go and they still stink! I'm pretty sure Lowes will take it back if I can find the receipt. I'm very surprised that it still smells so bad.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 8:43PM
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Sophie Wheeler

If having low emission flooring was important to you, you should have researched the brands that sell it. You would have quickly found out it is available, but it won't be as cheap as the chinese crap that LL sells. One whiff of an open box should have told you that the manufacturing process used formaldehyde, and back to the store it should have gone. When you go ahead and do the install, it means that the flooring as delivered is acceptable to you. NO ONE returns installed flooring, not even companies with the best customer service, and LL is far from that. Once you install it, you permanently own it and the only thing that comes into play at that point is a manufacturer's warranty for defects. Formaldehyde content isn't considered a defect.

Not doing your homework about something that you feel is an important issue IS your fault. Not taking the crap back to the store as soon as you opened a box is your fault. Blaming a crappy company for selling a crappy product is also just kinda "duh". Even the slightest look for reviews for LL would have given you this information before purchase. You've got understandable buyer's remorse, but the person to be mad at here is yourself.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 3:36PM
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that is incredible that you would have that attitude.
How do you know that the purchaser didn't do their homework???

That is what drives me up a wall about folks with attitudes like yours. You assume to know exactly what the other person actually did do.

Personally we did a lot of research on the product we bought, including the formaldehyde rating. The company CLAIMED that their product had low VOC and formaldehyde ratings.. granted, did we take them at face value instead of demanding they show us formal industry level documentation? Perhaps. However, the company STILL misrepresented themselves and their products.

Here is another story:

I got food poisoning one time from either our local Renaisssance fair or Burger King (the Health department was required to investigate all food poisoning issues) I had a 2,000 plus ER bill. NOW, according to YOUR belief system it was MY fault that I got food poisoning because somehow I didn't do MY "homework". What? That I demand they show me their latest heath dept report on their rates of camphylobactor in their chicken?

Consumers can only do so much "homework". It is challenging when you have so much misinformation and disinformation out there and misleading and confusing and often times frustrating and useless message boards that don't offer any real solutions or help. (Most of the time 1/2 comments are positive and 1/2 are negative.. )

I am tired of the industry blaming the consumer for not somehow taking "personal responsibility". How about these companies own up to their lack of integrity and lack of quality control, visibility honesty on the products they sell?

Consumers can only do so much and I think we all are getting a bit tired of being treated like worthless animals that have wallets to exploit!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 11:20AM
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That Arrowana Bamboo from Costco, isn't bad at all.

Way better than anything that comes out of LL.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 12:04AM
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Unfortunately these floors often do have an odor. When purchasing flooring, you should look for the FloorScore certification.. this is a third party certification through SCS and RFCI (see link). If you scroll to the bottom of the page it will take you to the SCS site and you can locate products that have FloorScore certification.

Here is a link that might be useful: Floor Score certification for good indoor air quality

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 12:28PM
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I also installed Supreme Bamboo from Lumber Liquidators. Every time I go into the room where we installed the flooring, my eyes burn and nose runs. After the process of elimination, it is my understanding that the formaldehyde from the flooring is producing gas that causes these symptoms. I have an air quality technician reading the manufacturing safety data sheet. According to what I read on the sheet, the flooring has a 5 rating, which is a moderate level for formaldehyde gases. I would not recommend the Bamboo flooring from Lumber Liquidators, and I highly suggest that you review the safety data sheet before purchasing any of the wood flooring from LL. You can usually access the sheet online, or you can ask them at the store.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 7:30PM
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Wow, interesting thread. I have bamboo in my bedrooms and was just about to order more for the rest of the house. What little odor it had on day 1 quickly went away, but then the stuff I bought was aged 5 years with a janka hardness rating of 2155. The crap at LL is barely a year old with a hardness rating somewhere below pine. Both times I attempted to shop a LL, the person behind the counter was so condescending, I quickly walked out. I wonder if the age has to do with how much chemical is involved in the processing of the flooring?

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 8:16PM
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my husband and I also purchased this bamboo flooring in Sept 2012....not only is it seperating EVERYWHERE....but the odor is also making my husband and I sick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!we paid $325 to have an inspector come out and we are getting ready to take legal action....our attorney is reviewing all our documents as we speak.....I could not believe it today when I found all the rest of you poor people that are also suffering.It makes me sooo upset that LL has known about the problem since at least 2006 and they are till getting away with selling it!!!Lets do something about this.....

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 5:35PM
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I was about to purchase a Morning Star engineered bamboo floor for my entire home and stumbled upon this review site. I spoke with LL and asked for the emissions numbers. This is off of their website- (copy of link below. )

Free gaseous formaldehyde (contains less than 0.1% free formaldehyde)

How can it be emitting such a strong odor if this is the data? I am scared off now and will look elsewhere for flooring but something is very wrong that the numbers say one thing and people are having such strong reactions

Here is a link that might be useful: Morning Star msds

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 11:41AM
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rg100 and odinfang -

My name is Jessica, and I am a legal investigator. I am looking into consumer complaints regarding fumes from Lumber Liquidatorsâ bamboo flooring, and I would like the opportunity to speak with you regarding your experiences. Please contact me at or 800-901-5119 at your convenience. Thank you.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 7:12PM
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I was close to purchasing 1500sf of strand bamboo flooring from WELL known store that specializes in flooring. I actually did buy half and canceled the order after further investigation. Thank God I didn't take the floor with me otherwise I would have been charged a huge restocking fee. Anyway, I would like to share information I found so that if someone is on the fence with their decision to purchase strand bamboo flooring they can decide for themselves. As for me, I found out that based on the MSDS located on website of this well advertised flooring store that the strand bamboo is glued together with the use of urea formaldehyde (UF) resins. After reading the description on the MSDS downloaded FROM THE WEBSITE it will list clear as day that the strand bamboo is glued together with urea formaldehyde. After I was able to establish that as a fact I then did research on the use of urea formaldehyde as it relates to indoor air quality. Apparently it's used in multiple items that could be in a home but one must consider the elevated levels when potentially flooring an entire home with the stuff or the room that you would be sleeping in. Hence in my opinion the reason some people are having bad reactions to the stuff after getting it installed. Please visit this website . After reading the information about how urea formaldehyde can affect the indoor air quality I decided that IT WAS NOT FOR ME. I KNOW, not all bamboo flooring uses glue that is formaldehyde based. You will have to do the research and ask questions before buying but do not go on the words of the sales rep, read the MSDS. Granted, I would assume that depending on how much flooring is use would impact how much air quality would be affected but as stated I decided it was not worth the health of my family to find out. Not to mention the stuff isn't cheap by any means depending on how much flooring you need. I have no bones to pick with the store or the manufacturer but I think it's fair that everyone knows the facts. I can think of ten other businesses that sell or manufacture products that are questionable all in the effort to make a buck. My issue is putting a large amount of material in a living space that is potentially toxic to the health of human beings. I even told the customer service rep at the store when I was canceling my order with my concern of the glue used to bind the material containing urea formaldehyde and they said in a dismissive tone, 'the flooring does not have formaldehyde but...whatever.' The rep was the same rep that sold me the flooring may I add! My sole purpose for posting this info is to hopefully to inform someone but in the end it is still your decision. I hope that I was able to help make a difference in a positive way, God bless!!!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 4:07PM
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Well guess what folks, after I made the post above.....the store altered the MSDS on the website which means my post got into the brain of someone at headquaters and had them thinking. What happens if more people view this on our website and we are stuck with all this flooring that no one wants to buy??? We better alter the MSDS so that it's not so obvious immediately and keep selling this stuff! Damn shame, damn shame! Whoever did that you must sleep well at night! You altered the information three days after my post went up. Although your MSDS still says the stand bamboo flooring contains formaldehyde it just doesn't say urea formaldehyde anymore and it's not as easy to find the info like it was before. On one hand it's good to know my post reached someone that high up in your company on the other hand innocent people are going to spend hundreds or thousands of their hard earned money, LIKE I ALMOST DID, buying something that I wouldn't take for free after finding out what it's made of. Think about the proud Mom or Dad or Mom and Dad that just installed all the urea formaldehyde glued flooring throughout the house and into the kids room not knowing what it could do to them, potentially.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 6:05PM
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If anybody is interested in being represented regarding bad odor problems with Lumber Liquidators products, please contact David Cohen at Cell - 917/301-0430. I am an investigator for a firm in NYC which brings such actions.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 2:23PM
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Thanks for the info. Sorry you had to go through this. I was just looking at some of the LL Morning Star bamboo flooring and was strongly considering it for a 1,500 sq ft job - not anymore.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 10:16PM
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I believe altering the MSDS is a crime.

Wife was considering bamboo instead of solid hardwood which we've installed in other homes. Glad I read this - putting any product that off gasses formaldehyde into our home is not an option.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 9:08PM
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Susan Gallagher

I just saw the Sixty Minutes piece on Lumber Liquidators. What recourse do homeowners like me have? I installed the MorningStar Bamboo flooring about a year ago and would like to rip it out and replace it. Can I get LL to reimburse me for the cost of the flooring and installation?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2015 at 5:21PM
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The 60 Minutes piece referred to "laminate flooring". In the flooring industry, laminate flooring is the term used to describe flooring with a composite backing and melamine surface. I feel it's likely that the 60 Minutes piece is not referring to Morning Star Bamboo but I could be wrong.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2015 at 9:17AM
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There are other indictments coming for violations of the Lacey Act, not just illegally labeling their laminate as CARB II compliant as the 60 Minutes piece showed on Sunday night.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2015 at 9:34AM
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Susan Gallagher

Hi -- Apparently there is a class action law suit about the formaldahyde issue. One of the claimants installed the Morningstar Bamboo flooring, so it appears that this flooring is considered to be "laminate flooring" referred to in the 60 Minutes piece. I've just signed up to join the class action suit, so hopefully I will able to be compensated.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2015 at 9:46AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Oh, but it's CHEAP! I mean, internet shopping for the cheapest Chinese crap is what home renovation has become, right? Chinese lighting, cabinets, hardware.........and the list goes on. What some people will gleefully buy simply because it's $1.98 is staggaring. And it's not just house flippers justifying buying crap because it's cheap either.

2 Likes    Bookmark   March 3, 2015 at 4:43AM
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Jack Kennedy

Just a note to everyone on Formaldehyde.... It is in millions of products that we build and furnish our homes with. Plywood in your kitchen, flooring, carpet, the list goes on.... Formaldehyde free products are priced at a premium and will bet tested to not have the chemical in it, and you will pay more for it. Specifying Low or NO VOC building materials will greatly reduce unpleasant and possibly bothersome fumes in your homes.

3 Likes    Bookmark   March 7, 2015 at 7:45AM
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Select Hardwood Floor Co.

Even though the original post in this thread is years old... it seems to have had some recent responses...

It ties in with a more RECENT Houzz discussion regarding certain products...

And for the record, the "issues" don't simply apply to "laminates"... they include products in the "engineered" flooring category as well.

Anything using a formaldehyde based adhesive in the production process is a candidate. (IMHO).

    Bookmark   March 8, 2015 at 11:41AM
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