Prefinished vs. Unfinished Hardwood Floors – Which One For Your Floor
The choice between prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring depends mainly on your priorities. If you like your finishes to be durable and you don’t want to spend more than you have to spend on your floor installation, you’ll naturally gravitate towards prefinished flooring.
You’ll be sacrificing flexibility, though, because unfinished flooring San Fernando Valley gives you the ability to stain the floor to match the décor and adjust the sheen to bring out the natural luxuriousness of your new flooring.
Another factor affecting the choice is the type of flooring you choose. Some types such as bamboo, usually come prefinished, although you might find an unfinished product if you look hard enough.
Engineered flooring is another product that almost always comes prefinished, and you may have to use it if the floor is below grade or in damp areas, such as kitchen or utility space.
Solid wood flooring is generally available in prefinished and unfinished varieties.
It’s tempting to boil the choice down to one regarding how much of the extra work involved with sanding and refinishing your new floor you’re willing to pay for.
But there are issues of maintenance and overall aesthetics that you must consider. Now, choosing between prefinished and unfinished hardwood floors depends on your lifestyle and budget.
Prefinished Hardwood Flooring: The Pros
When it comes to durability, you can’t beat the factory finish that comes on most prefinished hardwood flooring. It consists of several layers of baked-on polyurethane followed by an aluminum-oxide coating, which is one of the hardest finishes there is.
The advantages of such a durable finish are obvious, but a factory finish does also have some drawbacks:
It often has high gloss making it look like plastic, and it can be reflective enough to mask the wood grain in a good lit location.
It’s scratch-resistant but not scratch-proof, and when a scratch does occur, it can be really difficult to repair.
It can be quite slippery to the point that pets with long nails might have a hard time getting a foot.
It’s difficult to remove, so when the time comes for refinishing- and it will come- you’ll find sanding difficult, and you need to hire an expert for flooring install San Fernando Valley.
If so, there go the refinishing costs you saved by choosing prefinished flooring in the first place.
What you need to know is that prefinished flooring costs more than unfinished flooring- around $2 per square foot more for the same wood species.
But you can save that by not having to sand and finish the floor during installation. However, one or more characteristic of prefinished flooring can be a deal-breaker, and that’s the beveled edges.
Prefinished boards tend to have bevels that create triangular troughs in the floor that trap dirt and may even be of a different color than the main part of your floor.
Unfinished Hardwood Flooring: The Cons
If you choose unfinished flooring, you’ll have to sand the floor irrespective of what type of finish you decide to apply. Sanding is important to flatten the floor and cut down raised edges that can reach heights of 1/6 inch, and it’s a messy process even if you use a dustless sanding system.
Unless you’ve done it before, you must leave sanding to the installer- and that drives up the installation cost.
Apart from that, the room in which the floor is being installed is off-limits during the finishing process, which can take days. The finishes have a strong odor that lingers until the finish material has completely cured.
You can avoid it by using a low VOC coating, but if you want a finish that rivals the durability of prefinished floors, you’ll need a noxious, solvent-based material that can drive you out of the house until it sets.
Maintaining Prefinished And Site-Finished Flooring
In general, factory finishes and comparable coatings you apply by site finishing, such as polyurethane, take little maintenance.
You must vacuum the entire floor frequently with a soft hardwood floor attachment, which is important if you have prefinished flooring San Fernando Valley because the bevels collect dirt quickly.
Also, periodic maintenance should also include damp mopping with vinegar and water or with a proper hardwood cleaner. You can talk top your installer for assistance regarding maintenance after installation.
There’s a big difference between prefinished and site finished flooring when the finish gets damaged. You can easily repair a scratched or water-damaged prefinished floor, and if the damage is noticeable, you may have to replace the affected boards.
Many dozens of wood species and colors are now available, and for DIYers, the installation will be easier than it is with unfinished hardwood, and less expensive to install your flooring.
No matter what your choice is, it’s always better to consult with experienced flooring install San Fernando Valley since they know what works best for your floor.