When deciding to go with hardwood flooring for your home, one of the big decisions to make involves whether to lay down unfinished or prefinished flooring. When weighing your options, you’ll find differences in installation method, finish, and availability of species and style. Each has it’s own unique characteristics, which is best for you depends on what you’re looking for out of your material.
Prefinished flooring comes ready to install right out of the box. Planks are milled and finished prior to shipping. This means choosing prefinished flooring saves the extra steps of having to sand, stain, and finish the floor after installation as you would with unfinished hardwood flooring. Having to sand, stain, and seal a floor adds to the cost of labor and materials as well increasing the length of the project. Prefinished flooring is available in a wide variety of species and colors, but normally the selection revolves around the current trends. If you’re looking for something very unique unfinished hardwood flooring might be the choice for you. One of the benefits of prefinished flooring is that the finish applied at the factory tends to be much stronger than a finish applied on site. The manufacturers have the ability to apply more layers of finish and bake them on as opposed to just spreading the finish and waiting for it to cure. Prefinished hardwood flooring also tends to come with a warranty on the finish against defects while suppliers of unfinished hardwood flooring offer no such coverage.
Unfinished hardwood flooring comes pre-milled but without a stain or finish. Meaning after installation you must sand, stain, and finish the flooring yourself. This is advantageous when looking for a particular color of flooring that might not be available on the market as you can custom mix a stain to match your design. Another difference you will find is the lack of a bevel between boards like you find with prefinished flooring. The sanding process smooths and levels the flooring making for a much cleaner looking surface. While the finish will be stronger on prefinished flooring, unfinished hardwood flooring that has been site finished has much better coverage. The entire surface of the floor is coated including the seams, where as with prefinished flooring each board is individually sealed leaving the seams vulnerable and exposed should something happen. .
In regards to the question of which is better, the phrase “six one way, half a dozen the other” certainly applies. Both prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring have their merits, but which is best for you really depends on your design needs and the constraints of your project.
The Men With Tools can supply you with installation of unfinished or prefinished wood flooring. Whichever you choose we can help. Give us a call today (347) 815-4151