Lung-irritating adhesive odor lingering after one week

Q: We recently (one week ago) installed a engineered wood floor over existing particle board with mastic and nails. There has been a lingering odor that is irritating to the lungs. The wood itself is low VOC and has no smell. It must be the glue or mastic that is curing, etc. Is this a common problem and will the smells abate in time?

A: I’m a little surprised, though I don’t know what product you used. Many if not most adhesives now are water based or low voc. Regardless, I would expect any smell to end when the adhesive is cured. This may take longer than expected because it isn’t exposed to fresh air, being under the floor. You did follow the application directions, correct?

Follow-up Q: Thank you so much for getting back to me. The floor was installed by a contractor who has been doing this work for 15 years and has never had this issue before. The smell is very strong and I’m hoping that airing it out with fans and fresh air over time will help. If I had been more informed I would have searched for a greener glue product. At this time the room is unlivable. I will let you know when the odor abates (hopefully sooner than later). Thanks again.

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