Traditionally, unfinished hardwood flooring was the most commonly installed flooring option for businesses and homes. Now, the roles have reversed, and prefinished hardwood flooring is the go-to option. However, this of course comes down to what is right for your home or business and will be determined by factors beyond consumer popularity. With that said, we thought we would give you a closer look at what you need to know when deciding between prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring.
Unfinished Hardwood Flooring
If hardwood flooring is “unfinished”, it means that it is raw hardwood. It must be installed, sanded, and refinished on site. If you are considering unfinished hardwood flooring for your home or business, here are some of the notable pros and cons associated with this type of flooring:
The Pros of Unfinished Hardwood Flooring
If you love fully custom things, unfinished hardwood flooring is for you. From a wide range of hues of cherry and oak to shades of maple and pine, there are a variety of wood species and natural color variations available with unfinished hardwood flooring. Since unfinished hardwood flooring requires on-site installation, you are able to fully customize your floors any way you want. You can add your own personal touch with inlays, borders, and other flooring features, as well as your finish system, stain color, and sawn profile. This also gives you the ability to have a variety of flooring styles throughout your house if that is what you would prefer.
Other noteworthy pros are:
- Easier ability to resand and refinish your floor as desired.
- You will add inlays after you sand the floor, which makes them perfectly flush with the rest of the floor.
The Cons of Unfinished Hardwood Flooring
Generally, the most significant con related to unfinished hardwood flooring is the time the installation process takes. This is due to the fact that after it is installed, it has to be manually sanded and finished, and often, there is a staining step between these processes. Finally, you will also have to wait for the flooring to cure before putting furniture back into place.
Prefinished Hardwood Flooring
If hardwood flooring is “prefinished”, it means each board has be coated with polyurethane before it has even hit the shelf. Similarly, to unfinished hardwood flooring, there are some notable pros and cons related to this type of flooring:
The Pros of Prefinished Flooring
The biggest pro associated with prefinished hardwood flooring is after it is installed, you can enjoy your new flooring immediately. This is due to the fact that the sanding finishing process is already completely, therefore, you can skip that entire process, as well as the waiting time for it to cure.
Prefinished flooring also has the following benefits:
- It’s a more convenient option for some renovation or improvement projects.
- Pre-applied finish is very durable.
- There are more uniformity and consistency with the coloring and staining in the boards.
- Sometimes, manufacturers add an anti-scratch coating that makes the floor more resistant to minor surface damage.
The Cons of Prefinished Flooring
The biggest con with prefinished hardwood flooring is the limitation of widths, lengths, colors, grain, and other common customer preferences. Furthermore, the durability of the finish on prefinished flooring can make it difficult to remove these surface layers if you ever want to refinish your flooring in the future.
Seeing as there are pros and cons for both hardwood flooring options, it’s hard to choose a clear winner. At Dave’s we have 40+ years of installing hardwood flooring and generally, we have noticed this decision comes down to these main factors: with unfinished, you have the ability to refinish easily, as well as enjoy the natural imperfections of the wood, and with prefinished, you appreciate the convenience of being able to choose a perfectly prepared and ready-to-install flooring.
Whatever your preference, adding either option to your home will not only add beauty, but add value to your home or business. If you are deciding between the two or have made your decision and need your flooring professionally installed, give us a call today for a free, in-home estimate! We would love to be a part of your home improvement journey!