Prefinished Hardwood Flooring vs. Unfinished Hardwood Flooring
Your hardwood flooring is an important investment, whether it’s prefinished or unfinished hardwood.
You already know that hardwood flooring is a versatile, classic look that suits almost any interior. And you want to be sure you get the exact look you want—and the performance you need.
Deciding between prefinished and unfinished hardwood will help you do that.
Why Is This Decision Important?
Although it seems like a simple decision, each one has unique benefits and drawbacks. Your budget, desired look and patience will all play into your decision.
The basic difference between these two flooring options is that prefinished wood is finished before it arrives on-site. Just snap it into place. Unfinished wood is intended to be finished on-site.
If you want to avoid potentially costly disappointments, spend some time learning the differences. You’ll be glad you did.
The Good and Bad of Prefinished Hardwood Floors
A great benefit of prefinished floors is that they’re less hassle. You’ll have a floor installed quickly and cleanly—possibly even the same day for a few hundred square feet.
That means you’ll know exactly what you’re getting almost immediately. And you can start using it right away. That makes it a great option when you’re upgrading a room and know exactly what you need.
Other Benefits Include:
- Quick installation means no mess. There’s no sawing, sanding or staining—and no dangerous fumes.
- Save money. You might think this is the more expensive option but it isn’t. After you factor in the labor costs of the unfinished wood option, this one will save you money. Because it’s easier to install prefinished wood flooring than unfinished.
- It’s also more durable. Which makes it a perfect choice for high-traffic areas like the kitchen.
But there are drawbacks…
To begin with, after it’s installed, workers might damage it while finishing other projects.
And its edges are usually beveled. That can disrupt the visual flow. Dirt and liquid can also catch in those grooves.
You’ll also have fewer options for patterns, inlays, grains, widths and lengths.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Unfinished Hardwood Floors
One huge benefit of unfinished flooring is that your floor will almost definitely look more well-crafted when it’s done.
Because on-site finishing requires well-trained professionals.
Other benefits you’ll enjoy include:
- On-site finishing will give you a more uniform color and finish.
- The wood species and plank size options are almost endless.
- Your construction crew can get a surprisingly smooth surface for you. It will wear better and look better.
- And you can have custom patterns like herringbone or inlaid borders.
Here are a few drawbacks…
The finishing process often involves oil-based sealants. Those contain harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds). And you could wait up to 4 weeks for several coats to dry.
While they’re drying, you’ll have to watch for accidental scratches, and dust or hair that can mar your otherwise smooth floor.
The great thing about hardwood—prefinished or unfinished—is that it always looks good. So you’ll enjoy a beautiful and attractive floor for many years, whichever finish you choose.
If you would like help considering your options, call S&G Carpet and More. for quick and friendly help.