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Importing Oak Flooring from China: Will This Work?

  • 06-12-2022 6:10pm
    Registered Users Posts: 1,473 ✭✭✭

    Hi There,

    We need a lot (circa 400-450m2) of engineered oak flooring for a house we're building. We'd like to use wide planks (300mm) as they look nicer but they are hugely expensive. I've looked at getting them from an Irish company (though I'm pretty sure they come from a Latvian supplier) and they are €200+ per m2 ex VAT. From Latvia they are more like €100+ ex VAT and delivery.

    I've contacted a few Chinese suppliers and they are offering similar for about $37 per m2 and then a further $7 per m2 for shipping. I'm no expert on the tarrif system but from what I can see there seems to be a 0% duty rate on wooden flooring from China so I'd just be looking at 23% VAT on them.

    Assuming all is equal for 400m2 it would be about €80,000 delivered from Ireland probably about €45,000 delivered from Latvia and then circa €20,600 shipped from China. Obviously I'd have to pay VAT on all of them and I've no doubt there would be a several grand in getting the Chinese ones cleared through Dublin port and delivered to me (I'm only a few km from Dublin Port). But at a very rough comparison the Latvian option is half of the Irish one and the Chinese one is half of that again.

    Other than the very glaring issues of risk (ie if the Chinese options turn out to be absolute frauds or send me awful boards that don't match the samples etc I will have zero comeback etc) are there any other glaring downsides to using the Chinese boards?

    Obviously there is a high level of risk there but the savings are potentially so great that I am very tempted to go for it.

    Any advice would be much appreciated!


  • Registered Users Posts: 556 ✭✭✭SC024

    Massive risk imo, but as the saying goes no risk no reward . assuming it all arrives what if some boards are different widths ? not straight? interested to know how you go with it.. Best of luck

  • Registered Users Posts: 30,968 ✭✭✭✭Lumen

    There's billions of euros worth of unusable Chinese PPE sitting in warehouses that failed to meet the required specs.

    I'd want to see the stuff in person before committing. Like, in China.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,057 ✭✭✭T-Maxx

    You could fly over there, enjoy a short break, do your due diligence, close the deal, and still save thousands.

  • Registered Users Posts: 73 ✭✭bfclancy2

    Wow some size of a house, stuff from Latvia probably made in China too, is there a risk, some, not huge, I know plenty of people that get building supplies from China, friend got a pergola, 20K here, 5K from China, same product no doubt, it arrived and is perfect, same as one he was quoted 20K for here

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,478 ✭✭✭enricoh

    I'd be heading to Latvia in a sprinter n loading up, china too much of a roll of the dice for me! A lad I know got sent out samples from china, done the deal n a container of junk arrived. Guts of 20k wrote off.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 38,461 ✭✭✭✭Mellor

    Assuming the product is the same seems hugely naive. Engineered timber comes in a range of grades.

    €200/m2 supply only is hugely expensive imo. You could have it installed for that rate.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,473 ✭✭✭blobert

    Thanks guys.

    I got the samples from China today. I would say the quality of the supporting layers of ply in the board seems marginally worse than the Latvian/Irish ones. But the oak itself was nicer and better finished (It's UV lacquered finish as opposed to Oiled which is was more expensive from the Irish guys). It was also exactly the colour we're looking, I had been struggling to get the Latvians to match the sample of the local one which we liked.

    I'm pretty tempted to take a chance go ahead with it. Seller has a good reputation on Alibaba and they offer some level of assurance (better than zero but I would not be relying on it). If the boards we get are anything like the samples/pics, they seem fine and are a massive saving in cost.

    One of my other worries is China is about to be hit by a mega Covid wave so I suspect they'll be some level of disruption there for the next 1/2 months and we're pretty tight with needing these soon.

    Also need to figure out if there are any duties on it, I don't think there is, but need to be sure.

  • Registered Users Posts: 38,461 ✭✭✭✭Mellor

    Still think you supply price locally looks off. But there’s a huge range in costs. Before looking at the Chinese product. I’d want to consider;

    Width, Thickness/Wear layer, Finish. Grade, that’s important as there’s a huge variation in quality.

    Species. Is it actually oak? What kind? That twisted to hardness, durability etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 384 ✭✭grimeire

    Did you end up ordering from china in the end?

    Was it what you expected? Pictures?