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Prefinished vs Unfinished Hardwood Floors: Key Differences

Are you considering the installation of hardwood floors in your home? If so, it is important to understand the difference between prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring. Prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring both have their own advantages that should be taken into consideration before making a decision. To help homeowners gain a better understanding of this topic, we have provided an overview of what distinguishes each type of flooring. With this information in hand, you’ll be able to make a well-informed decision on which option is right for you.

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What Is the Difference Between Pre-Finished and Unfinished Floors?

Prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring have distinct differences that determine which is the right choice for your home. Prefinished hardwood flooring comes with a protective, factory-applied finish that has already been cured and hardened to protect the wood from wear and tear, moisture damage, and fading. This makes installation easier and faster since no additional protection needs to be applied after installation. Unfinished hardwood flooring does not come with any sort of pre-applied protective coating. It must be sanded on location prior to staining and sealing with a clear finish or other protective coatings.

Pre-Finished and Unfinished Floors

Prefinished vs Unfinished Hardwood Floors: Advantages of Each Type

Advantages of Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

  • Ready to Use: Once installed, your prefinished floors are instantly ready to be walked on. You won’t have to wait around while they do the work on-site and let it cure.

  • Less VOCs: Because unfinished floors are treated on-site, emissions from polyurethane resins and solvents might remain in the air for many days. Because the flooring has already been completed in a factory, you won’t have to worry about inhaling the chemicals for days or exposing your family to dangerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) if you pick prefinished flooring.

  • No Dust: Because prefinished floors are fully prepared for usage, no sanding is required in your house. This means you won’t have to worry about all the dust that sanding causes, keeping your house cleaner.

  • Rapid Installation: Installation may typically be done in a single day, depending on the size of the room, enabling you to return to your normal routine in a short period of time.

  • Near Perfect Finish: Factory-applied finishes are both appealing and long-lasting. Pre-finished flooring is a wise purchase since they come with a lifetime guarantee.

  • Lower Cost: While the initial cost of prefinished flooring may seem to be more than that of unfinished floors, they will ultimately cost less. When finishing charges are included, the ultimate price is greater than that of prefinished hardwood.

Advantages of Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

Advantages of Unfinished Wood Flooring

  • Retains Original Qualities: While all prefinished and unfinished wood flooring is constructed from genuine hardwood, unfinished floors maintain more of the wood’s natural characteristics, such as the grain pattern. This is due to the fact that prefinished flooring is subjected to many coatings of polyurethane and stain, which may erase part of the natural wood appearance, making them seem factory-made.

  • Ideal for New Construction or Extensive Renovations: Many contractors choose unfinished flooring for new construction houses and significant renovations to minimize unintentional scratching and other damage. You won’t have to worry about any mishaps ruining the flooring after they’re done.

  • Extra Finishing Options: When it comes to the finish choices for your unfinished hardwood floors, your options are practically limitless. You’ll have several stain colors to select from, ensuring that your new floors properly complement the rest of your house.

  • Refinishing: Scratched or damaged boards on unfinished floors may be repaired by sanding them down and applying a new coat of finish. Prefinished floors do not allow for spot repairs, thus a complete piece of the floor may need to be replaced or the whole floor refinished.

Advantages of Unfinished Wood Flooring

While both prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring have their advantages, it’s important to know the difference before making a purchase. If you’re looking for an easy installation with little maintenance, prefinished hardwood flooring is the way to go. However, if you want more control over the color and finish of your flooring or plan on selling your home in the near future, unfinished hardwood flooring may be a better option. We hope this article has helped you understand the key differences between prefinished and unfinished hardwood floors!

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