Bellawood Wood Flooring Review: Costs and Quality

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Exotic Hardwood Flooring. Getty / Astronaut Images

You cannot turn your head anymore without seeing Bellawood hardwood flooring. Only a few years ago, it was the ultimate insider's secret, found at Lumber Liquidator stores in out-of-the-way light industrial zones. Now those stores are everywhere and it is hardly a secret.

Lumber Liquidators, the sole retail outlet for Bellawood, can be an alternately refreshing and maddening shopping experience.  If you can weather the experience, true deals can be had.

Low Cost is the Chief Feature

Bellawood is inexpensive.  No matter how much a certain type of hardwood floor covering costs at other outlets, Lumber Liquidators' price is always less--at least by a dollar or two.

Bellawood prices are more dependent on larger market conditions (growers, brokers, shippers, etc.) than on Lumber Liquidators' decision that a certain flooring should have a certain price.

Still, since this article was written a number of years ago, we have seen prices rise at a slower rate than with most other suppliers.  In one case, the price even decreased by about 14% over seven years:

Bellawood Australian Cypress 1/2" x 3/4"$3 sq. ft.$4.69 sq. ft.+56%
Bellawood 3/4" x 3 1/4"$4-$5 sq. ft.$6.49+44.5%
Bellawood American Walnut 3/4" x 4"$8$6.89-14%

Defective Boards Abound

Some floor installers complain about having to work with Bellawood flooring

On the other hand, waste is a fact of life with hardwood floor installation.

And by "waste," we do not mean just cut-off ends. We mean defective boards that split, break, crack, or otherwise prove themselves unworthy of being installed.

So, if you are comfortable hitting the top range of that 17% per square foot overage recommended by Bellawood, this is for you. 

Prefinished = Tough Surface

Bellawood is pre-finished wood flooring, which means that it comes with multiple coats of urethane-based finish.

You avoid the considerable stink of manual finishing within your house by buying prefinished wood flooring. Bellawood's prefinish is tough enough to stand up to usual everyday battering; no complaints there.

Available When?  Available Now!

In other hardwood flooring stores, when you make a purchase the first thing you will hear is, "We expect delivery in six to eight weeks.  We will call you..."

But with Lumber Liquidators, you get the Bellawood immediately as their stores are essentially floorring warehouses with tiny showrooms stuck in the front.

When you go in there and ask for ten cartons of 3/4" x 2-1/4" Brazilian Cherry Lite Flooring Pre-Finished, chances are pretty good that you drive out of there with those ten cartons in your vehicle. 

Low Pressure, Good Availability

As alluded to earlier, visiting a Lumber Liquidators showroom can be a great and an awful experience--often both at the same time.

On the plus side, Lumber Liquidators showrooms are low pressure sales environments.  Because Lumber Liquidators owns its own stores and does not sell franchises, you will not encounter a small business owner or commissioned sales employee twisting your arm to buy more expensive flooring.

The dark side is that when you need help, you may not get it.

 Worse than that, when an employee does help you, they often have only the highest level understanding of the product.  

Lumber Liquidators' showrooms are bare-bones. If you hit a Lumber Liquidators on a Saturday, it will be swarming with people and the small staff will be stretched.  Availability does depend on the individual Lumber Liquidators store, but reports are favorable here.

But weekdays are typically golden, and it is worth playing hooky from work for an hour for this.