Lumber Liquidators Flooring Review

Is This Former Upstart Still Good?

Bellawood Brazilian Koa Hardwood 1200 x 800
Bellawood Brazilian Koa Hardwood. © Lumber Liquidators

Lumber Liquidators is no longer the "hot insider secret" it was years ago. Prices are now more in line with other flooring outlets (but at least not more expensive). Product quality is a perennial problem.

But for all its issues, it is still the "go to" place when you are serious about hardwood, engineered, luxury vinyl flooring, and laminate flooring--without being bothered by pesky salespeople.

The Quick Take

Over the years I have been both frustrated and pleased by Lumber Liquidators.

 Like other fabled retail outlets--Costco, Trader Joe's, IKEA--it comes with weird built-in tics, gimmicks, and oddities that seem designed by a marketing department to imprint a unique personality on the company.

Frustrated:  Its in-store customer service can be uneven (meaning: it is often hard to rouse anyone's attention), deceptive advertising, miniature showrooms; and most of all, the poor quality of its signature product, Bellawood.

Pleased:  The company has unique items (like utility-grade wood floor) authentically low prices, and everything is in stock--no special ordering needed.  Also, if you do not like being bothered by salespeople, you will have no problem here--they tend to leave you alone.

Why You Might Like Them

  • Low prices
  • Increasing number of locations
  • Dedicated to solid hardwood flooring
  • Often, good online clearance items
  • Wide selection
  • Low-pressure sales environment

Why They Might Drive You Crazy

  • Sometimes poor or non-existent customer service
  • Problems with quality with its house brand, Bellawood
  • No installation services offered
  • Sales events are deceptive and do not have advertised items (see below)

Once An Industry Leader In the Area of Discount Solid Hardwood

Many years ago, it was possible to slip quietly away on a Sunday to an undisclosed location in a light industrial area...and discover flooring gold.

It was called Lumber Liquidators and few people knew about it.

For the flooring intelligentsia, Lumber Liquidators was a secret to be guarded: low prices, no-nonsense service, nice selection, and those rock-bottom prices.

Prices have remained reasonable at Lumber Liquidators, but they are nothing to write home about anymore.

The perfunctory service is still in place.  Minimally helpful employees may provide you with some information, but it is best if you know these things already.  At worst, service can be grumbly, impatient, and abrupt.  Staff will carry your purchase to the edge of the warehouse door and not one inch beyond.  

In terms of product selection, they are over the map now, with hardwood, engineered, laminate, bamboo, and cork. What's next? Sheet vinyl? Ceramic tile?  Lumber Liquidators salespeople are already so unschooled in flooring, adding more products can only stretch their thin knowledge even more.

If you live near a Lumber Liquidators, it certainly is worth a look. Having your flooring shipped or even delivered locally will push the prices up, but if you can haul it yourself you're in for true discount flooring.

They will not install your flooring. It should be noted that most flooring retailers do not.

Instead, Lumber Liquidators has a list of "preferred" installers you can call (similar to the way other retailers do it).

And For Those "Sales Events"...

One special note about Lumber Liquidators' Yard Sale Events in the Fall.  These events promise cheap clearance items in a parking lot "yard sale" type of atmosphere.  I have found these events to be nearly worthless, as the advertised items are often unavailable.  

Yes, the ad circular does state that some items might be unavailable.  But I have shown up at Yard Sales within minutes of opening and asked about advertised items, only to encounter befuddled customer service reps who knew nothing about the items.

Summary