Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Unfinished Vs Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is extremely popular due to its natural beauty, resiliency, and minimal maintenance requirements. It is available in both unfinished and prefinished varieties, each offering its own set of pros and cons. When comparing unfinished and prefinished hardwoods, it's important to consider various factors like budget, installation, and maintenance. Here's a breakdown of what to look for when floor shopping.

Unfinished Offers Complete Customization

Unfinished hardwood floors are delivered raw, without stain or finish. The planks are then stained and finished at the job site. While more uncommon then prefinished planks, unfinished options have numerous advantages. Raw floors give the homeowner the freedom to completely customize their flooring by choosing from a wide selection of stains, colors, and finishes.

If your home has existing hardwood floors and you want to connect new planks that match seamlessly, unfinished is the way to go. Raw wood is available in a larger array of wood species and sizes. This allows the homeowner to more easily match the new planks with their existing floors. Hand-distressing and aging techniques can also be incorporated in historical homes.

While the results are generally worth the effort, finishing unfinished hardwood floors on site can be extremely labor intensive. The process generally involves sanding the floor completely flat, applying the desired stain, and adding multiple coats of a urethane-based finish to protect the underlying wood. This job is best left up to the professionals to avoid common problems like bubbles and missed spots in the finish.

Prefinished Offers Quick Installation and Resilience

Most types of hardwood flooring are installed prefinished with multiple coats of protective finish applied at the factory. Finished-at-the-factory floors are often more durable than their raw counterparts and can therefore better withstand high-traffic areas like the kitchen and bathroom. While these options are generally more costly then unfinished options, they require less labor to install.

Prefinished flooring is also more functional, as it can be installed over a variety of subfloor materials. Many types are simply floating planks, so they can be installed over old hardwood, plywood, concrete, and various other flat surfaces. If quality and longevity are among your greatest concerns, these floors won't disappoint.

Over the decades, manufacturers have made leaps and bounds in increasing the quality and lifespan of prefinished woods. One excellent feature includes a highly durable, scratch-resistant finish, referred to as aluminum oxide finish. Aluminum oxide finish contains many small particles of aluminum oxide mixed into the finish layers to keep the surface of the planks protected from wear and tear.

If you're still having difficulty choosing between unfinished and prefinished hardwoods, talk to a flooring contractor. When making your decision, you will also want to consider what type of wood you want in your home, your budget for materials and labor, whether you will be hiring out or completing the project yourself, and what color or stain would look best in your home.

To learn more about their options for flooring, Peoria, IL residents should visit
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