For a long time in the flooring industry, unfinished hardwood flooring was the most popular choice of both home owners and business owners. These days, prefinished hardwood flooring has made a big come back, and may even have surpassed unfinished hardwood flooring in popularity. So that you can make an informed choice about your own flooring system, the advantages and disadvantages of unfinished vs. prefinished hardwood flooring systems are described below.
Unfinished Hardwood Flooring
Unfinished hardwood flooring is characterized by raw hardwood which has to be installed, sanded, and refinished right at the location of installation. Some of the benefits of this kind of approach start with the wide variability of wood types available in unfinished style, including maple, mahogany, pine, oak, and cherry. These can be customized in many different ways, especially by adding personal touches to the borders, the inlays, and other features of the flooring system.
Whatever look you’re trying to achieve for your kitchen, hallway, office, or living room, you’ll have no trouble doing that, due to the natural ability to refinish and re-sand the floor anyway you want to. In addition to that, inlays can be added after you sand the floor, so they end up being perfectly flush with the entire rest of the flooring system. Once everything has been installed, the whole floor system can be sealed.
Probably the biggest single drawback to unfinished flooring is the time that it takes to completely install the flooring system. This is because it has to be sanded and finished manually, and these are both fairly time-consuming processes. On top of that, there is sometimes a staining step which is added between those two processes, and when it’s all over, you’ll also need some time for the finish to fully cure.
Prefinished Hardwood Flooring
When we talk about prefinished hardwood flooring, we mean hardwood floors which have been finished in the factory, with each board having been coated with polyurethane before it leaves the factory. The biggest advantage of using prefinished hardwood flooring is that installation can be accomplished fairly quickly, since there is no sanding or finishing necessary. Once the floor has been installed, there are no worries regarding scratching the new floor while it’s curing, because that has already happened, so your flooring is ready to enjoy immediately.
Prefinished hardwood flooring is also a more convenient choice for people who are doing home improvement projects or renovating their flooring systems. Prefinished hardwood flooring also tends to be exceptionally durable, and there is greater consistency with the coloring and staining on the individual boards of the system.
The single biggest downside to using prefinished flooring is that there are limitations on the colors, the grain, the widths, and the lengths of the boards, so that all customer preferences may not be available. It’s also true that the finish is so durable on prefinished hardwood flooring, that it’s difficult to remove any of the surface layers, in the event that you may want to re-sand or refinish the flooring system at some point in the future.
Which is Better?
There is no clear answer to the question about which is better between unfinished vs. prefinished hardwood flooring systems. As should be obvious from the above, both systems provide some clear advantages, without much real downside. Some people prefer the natural imperfections associated with unfinished flooring, as well as the ability to refinish it when desired. However, other homeowners and business owners prefer the nearly flawless ready-to-install approach of using prefinished hardwood flooring systems.
Ready to Put Hardwood Floors in Your Home?
If you’d like to discuss the advantages of unfinished vs prefinished hardwood flooring further, the qualified professionals at Elegant Hardwood Floors in Charleston can help. We have developed a reputation for commitment to quality and outstanding customer service, and are ready to answer your questions and help you make the right choice for your needs.
Contact us now to find out how we can help make your hardwood flooring vision come to life.