Pros and Cons of Finished vs. Unfinished Wood Flooring

Originally, hardwood flooring was available only as bare planks. After the unfinished planks were installed, the entire surface would be finished with stain and a polyurethane treatment. Now, you have more choices. Wood flooring is also available with factory-applied finishes. This type of finished flooring is durable and often comes with a long warranty. If you’re wondering which option is best for you, learn about the pros and cons of each so that you can choose the right one for your project.

Do You Want To Walk On Your Floors Right Away?

When opting for finished wood panels, you can use the room as soon as the planks are installed. However, unfinished wood must be sanded and finished after it is installed. Some water-based polyurethane finishes dry quickly, but they may take several days or weeks to cure. You won’t want to set up your furniture or walk on the floor with shoes until the finish has cured.

You’ll be able to detect an odor from the polyurethane until it has completely cured. That can be a nuisance for those who are living in the home during this time. You won’t have to deal with a chemical smell if you install flooring that has already been stained and sealed.

Finishing hardwood on site may also produce dust that can settle throughout the building. Using factory-finished floor planks prevents this from happening. If you decide to have us install bare hardwood or refinish your floors, however, rest assured that Classic Floor Designs use a no-dust refinishing system that safely removes particles so that you can stay in your home. Our dustless system also cuts down on post-installation cleanup time.

If you’re installing flooring in a new construction or large-scale project, you might prefer using unfinished wood. Contractors often prefer to finish the floors last so that they don’t get scuffed or damaged by tools, work boots or grit.

Do You Want The Widest Range Of Finishes Available?

Although prefinished wood flooring comes in a wide variety of finishes, it doesn’t compare to the customization that you can achieve from finishing bare planks. As long as the flooring is made from solid hardwood, it’s possible to sand down prefabricated planks to reveal the grain underneath, allowing the finish to be customized. However, the factory topcoat is so durable that this can be a time-consuming process. Sanding down prefinished hardwood thins it out, and you can only do so a few times before compromising the integrity of the material.

When it comes to repairing damage, it’s easier to touch up a small section of site-finished floors than prefabricated planks. You’ll be able to refinish it with the same materials, and the repaired area will be more likely to match the rest of the floor. If you’re trying to redo the flooring in one room to harmonize with the rest of the home, you might get a better match with unfinished wood.

Do You Require Maximum Durability?

While both types of flooring are incredibly resilient, prefabricated wood floor planks are usually more resistant to stains, water damage, and discolorations. In short, the treatment used on factory-finished hardwood is easier to maintain than the treatment used on site, and it lasts longer. A warranty on a floor that’s finished on site might last up to five years. On the other hand, prefinished wood is often warranted for up to 25 years or even a lifetime.

All hardwood will develop scratches and indentations over time, especially in high-traffic areas. If you have kids or pets, you might be able to keep factory-finished wood floors looking new for a longer period of time than on-site-finished options.

Is A Smooth, Seamless Finish Important To You?

Unfinished wood flooring is sanded after it is installed. This helps to produce an even surface even if the subflooring is irregular. It also flattens out the seams between the boards. If you’re going for a glossy, mirror-slick finish, you probably won’t be able to achieve your goal with factory-finished boards.

Factory-finished wood planks are typically beveled, or slightly rounded, at the edges. This produces a marked seam when they lie against one another. These grooves can collect dirt and moisture.

When it comes to choosing the right type of wood floors for your project, your budget might dictate the ultimate decision. Although factory-finished wood is usually more expensive per plank, the cost of the finishing materials eventually bumps up the cost of bare hardwood installation. Plus, various species of wood have different costs.

If you are still on the fence, the experts at Classic Floor Designs can help you weigh the pros and cons of the different types of flooring so that you can enjoy your home for years to come. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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