I receive several calls through the course of a year from people who have purchased bamboo flooring and are having issues with the floor either falling apart, splitting, cracking and finish checking. I just now got off the phone with one such consumer which caused to to blog about this. This consumer purchased his click stranded bamboo from a nation wide chain.
No one explained anything to him about the consequences of low relative humidity at the point of sale. Not even the preferred installer the retail chain sent out to install the flooring. The home owner was told to let the flooring acclimate in the house for a said period of time. At no time did they explain the need open the boxes, unwrap the bamboo from the cellophane and make sure the relative humidity was at proper levels prior to installation. The contractor came out with his installers and proceeded to unwrap and install the floor right out of the boxes.Now the consumers click strand is seperating and the locking mechanism is disengaging.
After several failed attempts to fix the floor by the contractor and communications with the seller (a large liquidator of flooring products) who denies any wrong doing, the consumer has gone to the expense of installing a humidification system on his HVAC unit. The humidification unit is top of the line and is incapable of hitting the 40% rh mark. The seller is claiming it is the duty of the consumer to discover wether or not the flooring is suitable for this zones low relative humidity, and his duty to discover these instructions buried on the manufacturers website. Their claim (the seller) is that they only sell the product. The floor is still in an unrepairable condition after six months of humidification.
Some manufacturers of hardwood flooring have similar issues with the their flooring in arid zones like mine here in southern Arizona. Note that bamboo is a grass, not a real hardwood and needs a higher relative humidity level. Many of these manufacturers have explicit warnings written on the side of the boxes explaining the relative humidity requirements and site conditions needed to be in place before the installation can move forward. Even to the extent of opening the boxes and unwrapping the flooring to properly acclimate. This bamboo manufacturers had no such instructions about humidification on or in the boxes,
I find it perplexing and am horrified that there are numerous manufacturers, distributors and sellers of bamboo products who still try and hide these important installation requirements from the consumer.
And then when the flooring starts to fail these people will throw the installer under the proverbial bus. Not that the installers are guilt free in all of this either. Installers/ contractors are immanently responsible for making certain the site conditions and acclimation has been properly followed according to NWFA installation guidelines and the manufacturers.
However, there are many manufacturers who hide these guidelines and requirements online or burying the fine print in warranties.
So, therefore I am throwing this little factoid out there for those of you who find yourself in this situation.
I wrote this next blurb so please don’t try and use it in court. Have your attorney follow up on it.
The following should be applied in any court case whereas a seller knowingly sells a product that under normal conditions cannot perform and that the seller knowingly furnishes as “Fit for that particular Purpose”.
That the seller knows a product that needs a higher than usual normal relative humidity requirements for the zone they live in, that cannot or is not attainable under normal living conditions without extensive additions to HVAC units or the need for additional mechanical equipment And that this information is or has been hidden from or not openly disclosed at time of sale by the seller, such as the need for 40% relative humidity levels in the home or building in a state or zone whereas that level is not normal or easily attainable or unattainable to comply with a warranty.
U.C.C. – ARTICLE 2 – SALES
..PART 3. GENERAL OBLIGATION AND CONSTRUCTION OF CONTRACT
§ 2-315. Implied Warranty: Fitness for Particular Purpose.
Where the seller at the time of contracting has reason to know any particular purpose for which the goods are required and that the buyer is relying on the seller’s skill or judgment to select or furnish suitable goods, there is unless excluded or modified under the next section an implied warranty that the goods shall be fit for such purpose.