Which is better, prefinished or unfinished hardwood floors? The answer depends on a few factors. Prefinished hardwood is hardwood that has been finished in the factory and then is installed. Unfinished hardwood is raw wood that needs to be nailed into the floor, sanded and finished on-site. Mike’s Custom Flooring compares the pros and cons of prefinished and unfinished hardwood floors below.
Do Prefinished Hardwood Floors Scratch Easily?
Prefinished Wood Floors Do Not Scratch Easily. Prefinished hardwood floors are 7-10x more resistant to scratches than unfinished hardwood. The reason for this is that is 6-7 coats of polyurethane and applied to it and then its oven baked with aluminum oxide which is considered the world’s second hardest substance. Unfinished hardwood will only receive 2-3 coats after it is installed in your home.
Hardwood Installation is Less Messy. Sanding and refinishing hardwood floors is a messy job. You’ll have sawdust everywhere and it smells bad too. The dust can be reduced with a dustless system, but it will cost more.
Faster Hardwood Floor Installation. Most projects with prefinished hardwood take about 1-2 days, but unfinished hardwood can take 4-5 plus drying time that you’ll have to stay off it. Prefinished hardwood can be walked on right after it’s installed.
Is it Cheaper to Buy Unfinished Hardwood Floors?
Unfinished Hardwood Planks have Smooth Edges. This may come down to preference but with pre-finished hardwood you’ll have a slight bevel at the edges. Some people feel it makes the wood look more real while others like the smoothed out look once the floors are sanded. There will be more dirt buildup in the micro beveled edges of prefinished hardwood.
Unfinished Floors More Water Resistant when Finished on Site. Unfinished hardwood can be a better choice in kitchen because when it’s sealed onsite the edges will also get the polyurethane. Prefinished hardwood sometimes lacks the polyurethane and can be prone to issues with water. You may also see the lighter color under darker colored prefinished because the stain doesn’t get all the way into the edges. This doesn’t happen with hardwood that is sanded and refinished on-site.
Better Color Matching with Unfinished Wood. If you’re looking to match hardwood from other areas of the house it will be much easier with unfinished hardwood because stain colors can be tested for a perfect match.
Easier to Choose a Specific Hardwood Floor Color Stain. This is much easier with unfinished hardwood because colors can be mixed. Color options are limited with prefinished hardwood. Most customers will test 3-4 stain colors so they can see it in the light in your home and the space you want to have it installed. You can also test on different boards to get a better idea because some boards are lighter than others.
Unfinished hardwood typically costs less. Prefinished hardwood will have you paying more for the wood and less for the labor. Finished hardwood will have you spend less on the wood and more on the labor.
Hardwood Floor Installation, Repairs, Refinishing & More in Charles Town & Eastern Panhandle of Berkeley & Jefferson Counties in WV | Winchester & Frederick County | Round Hill & Loudoun County | Berryville & Clarke County | Herndon & Fairfax County VA
Deciding between prefinished or unfinished hardwood flooring can be difficult. There are benefits and drawbacks to both. You may feel overwhelmed but take the time to choose the best option for you and your home. Contact Mike’s Custom Flooring for all the help you need!