Installing Pre-finished VS Unfinished Hardwood Floors
Installing hardwood floors in your home is a big decision to make, and with so many options available this task can be daunting. One of the biggest concern in hardwood floor installation is whether to use pre-finished hardwood flooring, or unfinished solid hardwood flooring. Both kinds of wood flooring has its advantages and disadvantages but none the less, both will give your home the added beauty and value that only hardwood flooring brings.
Prefinished hardwood flooring definitely has its advantages such as:
- Ease of installation; Installers usually only need a day (depending on the floor size) to complete the job with no sanding, and no finishes used on site.
-Because the pre-finished floor already has been coated, usually multiple times, at the factory - and therefore does not have to be sanded and finished on-site, it is more convenient to install;
- Also because of the multiple coats of finish applied at the factory, prefinished wood flooring has a very durable wear layer, and the finish itself is under warranty by the manufacturer.
Even with these strong advantages, pre-finished flooring has its disadvantages to consider as well.
-Pre-finished can be dirt traps and very hard to clean between the cracks, since the cracks are not sealed at the job site. Solid site finished flooring is sanded and sealed at the job site.
-When refinishing pre-finished flooring, it is necessary to remove a lot more wood to get a level floor, so in effect you are losing more wood, and more life of the floor in the very first refinish than with a solid 3/4" hardwood floor.
-Although pre-finished floors are convenient in that they install without sanding and finishing most have a beveled edge on the wood strips which some people find unsightly. A custom sanded hardwood floor has a table-top appearance and is perfectly flat looking .
-A pre-finished floor will maintain height irregularities of the substrate. In short, a bump in the sub floor means a bump in the pre-finished floor unless the sub floor is fixed first. Site finished flooring is sanded flat, so is more forgiving of slight irregularities or slight height variations.
-If your pre-finished floor gets damaged, it means ripping out a whole section of flooring and completely replacing it, to correct it, whereas site-finished hardwood flooring can, in most cases, be easily fixed with a quick sanding and finish.
- When installing hardwood flooring, it is necessary to top nail the boards along the parameter, near walls or cabinets, to start the floor. In site finished flooring, these small nail holes are filled, then sanded and finished and usually not very visible. In pre-finished flooring, these small nail holes are filled, but not sanded - so they may be a bit more visible. While we use the manufacturer-recommended pre-finished filler, there are some floors which do not have an exact match of filler, such as stained flooring, or exotics.
-Over time, and possibly over home-owner changes, many people don't know or forget the actual manufacturer of their pre-finished flooring product, which makes it much more difficult to get an exact match if board replacements are necessary at some point - or if they want to add additional flooring to other rooms of the home, and they want an exact match. Additionally some of the flooring may be discontinued in time, eliminating the availability of ordering in more if it becomes necessary to match.