Are there any hardwood (not bamboo) engineered click floors that have no/low VOC's similar to the bamboo by Teregan or EcoTimber?

Asked by Ceil Critchley
Minneapolis, MN

I would like the brands if there are any.


Cynthia Phakos

Answered by Cynthia Phakos

Los Angeles, CA

Koffka Phakos Design

July 5, 2012

Formaldehye is a natural occurring substance and is found in wood in its natural state and is emitted when burned.

So when you are looking for engineered floors, you want one that has No Added Urea-Formaldehyde.

  • EcoTimber is a good source as all of their wood floors have no added urea formaldehyde. 
  • They use a PVE adhesive (poly vinyl acetate) to glue the plies together which has no urea formaldehyde.

However, EcoTimber does not have click floors.

Click floors

The benefit of a click floor system is that when planks are joined together they can “float” above the subfloor, which helps minimizes cracking and splitting that might occur with movement of the subfloor.

It also simplifies installation and repair work.

You can achieve a floating floor with a non click system, by gluing the tongue and groove planks together and not attaching it to the subfloor. Tite Bond II, a non-VOC wood glue, can be used to glue the planks.

Consider Kahrs

A manufacturer that should meet all or your requirements for click flooring with low VOC content is Kahrs, a Swedish Manufacturer that has been in existence for 150 years.

  • They have been producing click floors since 1999.
  • Their flooring also has FSC and Fairtrade Certifications.

Kahrs uses only water-based glues to join the multi-layers in the flooring. Their stains, lacquers and oils have small amounts of VOC’s which are emitted during the curing process and their final finish lacquers are water-borne and UV cured. It should be noted that formaldehyde will break down after a few hours of exposure to the sunlight.

Their products meet indoor air certifications E1 and CARB (ATCM) Phase II.

Indoor air certifications: CARB and E1

As substandard composite wood products have been found to generate up to 5% of household formaldehyde emissions, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in April 2007 approved a new standard of formaldehyde emissions controls called the Airborne Toxics Control Measure (ATCM).

The ATCM sets standard formaldehyde emissions ratings for all composite wood and manufactured wood products. 

  • Phase 1 (January 1, 2009) set formaldehyde emission standards of equal to or less than 0.08 ppm (parts per million). This first step exceeds previous standards set by OSHA already in effect.
  • Phase 2 (January of 2010 through 2012) sets even higher standards for formaldehyde emissions of equal to or less than 0.05 ppm, a higher standard than even the European E0 rating.
  • More details here and here.

The ATCM is intended to bring California standards up to meet existing Japanese and European formaldehyde emissions standards.

European standards established in 2000 by the European Panel Industry included

  • E1 -- 9mg/100g and below,
  • E2 -- greater than 9mg/100g to below 30mg/100g, and
  • E3 -- greater than 30mg/100g. 

A new ratings classification that compares to Japan’s higher standard has been more recently developed, E0, based on emissions measuring 0.5mg and less per liter.

In purchasing your material, if you are not in the State of California, it might be that there is left over Phase I material due to economic conditions. In California the Phases were relaxed, allowing Phase I materials to be sold until January 1 of 2011.


For more information:

Read "I'd like to put in hardwood floors and I'm considering bamboo. What do I need to consider?" a Q&A answered by Joel Hirshberg.

Tagged In: engineered flooring, wood flooring

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