Prefinished Hardwood Flooring vs Unfinished: Which Should You Choose?

When it comes to hardwood floors, they can be broken down into two main categories: prefinished and unfinished. Both flooring types have their own advantages and drawbacks, so it’s important you understand the differences between prefinished hardwood vs. unfinished, before selecting which one to use in your home. Below we will dive into the differences of finished vs. unfinished hardwood floors so that you can select the best option for your lifestyle! 

Prefinished Hardwood Floors

Prefinished hardwood floors are the opposite of unfinished floors. While unfinished flooring needs to be sanded, sealed and finished after installation, prefinished floors come ready to be installed, without any extra work needed. Because prefinished floors don’t require those additional steps, they can easily be purchased by the general population; you don’t have to hire a flooring contractor just to pick out your hardwood floors. 

Prefinished hardwood floors are a lot cleaner and simpler to install. You don’t have to worry about the dust that comes from sanding, or any sealant spills on your floor. With prefinished floors, the finish is applied in a controlled factory environment, so you don’t have to worry about airborne dust or debris being coated into your floors. This will ensure that your prefinished floors have an almost perfect appearance. 

Because the hardwoods are sanded, sealed and finished in a factory setting, they tend to be more durable than unfinished floors. Unlike with unfinished hardwood floors, heavy-duty finishes like aluminum-oxide and UV-cured urethanes can be added to prefinished hardwood floors to increase their lifespan. 

Unfinished Hardwood Floors

Like the name suggests, unfinished hardwood floors are installed without any finish on them. When the flooring arrives, it will be in its raw state to give you the flexibility of customization. Oftentimes this flooring option is referred to as “site-finished floors” as they’re literally finished on site. Unfinished floors can only be purchased by flooring contractors because they need to be sanded, sealed and finished once installed in your home. 

Because the flooring is installed, sanded and then finished, it will have a seamless appearance. The floor boards will be sanded together, creating an even surface for the seal and finish to be added. Another option of this truly custom experience is to stain the wood to match the aesthetic of your home. There are dozens of stain colors available on the market, and they can be further mixed to create additional color options. Of course, some flooring types will take the stain better than others, so make sure you check with your flooring contractor before choosing your color. 

If you’re looking to add additional designs to your floor like borders, inlays or medallions, they will be much easier to incorporate with unfinished floors than with prefinished hardwood floors. Because you’re sanding after the flooring installation, the added designs will be sanded down to be flush with the rest of the flooring. Unfinished floors ensure that you have a seamless look, even with the addition of borders of inlays. 

Now that you understand the differences between prefinished hardwood flooring vs. unfinished, do you know what the right choice is for your home? Give us a call today with any questions and to install hardwood floors that will perfectly complement your home! 

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