Prefinished or unfinished hardwood flooring?

Deciding that you want to replace the flooring in your home may be an easy choice, but choosing the perfect floor to suit your needs is a totally different story. With a myriad of materials to choose from, the task can be confusing and overwhelming. If you have already narrowed it down to hardwood flooring, figuring out if you should go with pre-finished or unfinished is probably next on your to-do list.  

As a consumer, you should be aware of the pros and cons of both types of flooring. Armed with these facts, this will help you make the best decision for you and your family so you can enjoy the benefits of a beautiful floor for years to come.  

You have two options when considering hardwood flooring; either solid hardwood flooring or engineered hardwood flooring. There are major differences between the two but that, however, is a totally different conversation. For the sake of this topic, take into consideration that if you are thinking of engineered, you will need to decide on a floor with at least a 3mm wear layer.  


Berkeley Classic Walnut Flooring
Berkeley Walnut

Regarding price, you need to consider all the factors that both options involve. For example, prefinished flooring is more costly, and you will need to add the installation amount on top of the material’s price. Unfinished, on the other hand, is less expensive but the installation tends to be more laborious hence it can be more expensive. Additionally, you have to consider the added cost of not living in your home for the time that an unfinished floor is being installed and site finished.  


The installation process of a prefinished floor is quite simple. Only requiring you to move your furniture allows the installers to work their magic. Depending on the square footage, by the time you get back from work, your floor will be all set to walk on and you can sleep in your room. The major advantages here are no dust, no smell, and no moving out. 

During an on-site finish, sanding and staining are part of the job. Sanding is a messy task that will leave a fine dust in places you wouldn’t think possible and will require it to be vacuumed and thoroughly cleaned. Staining, even if it is with a water-based product, needs to dry and cure which can take days or weeks. The smell is another factor you need to take into consideration. After your floor has been completed, the products used to stain and varnish leave an odor that can permeate your house for days or weeks. This is something to consider,   especially if you have family members that suffer from respiratory diseases like asthma. 


Flooring contractor showing hardwood flooring color options

Most of the time, people who prefer to go with unfinished have been searching for the perfect color but never found it. With site finish, the color and possibilities are absolutely endless. You can create patterns, shades, and even continue up the walls if you are inclined.  

Normally, prefinished floors come from the factory with a micro beveled edge. This is a beautiful, natural and distinctive look that might be preferred by some, but not by others. With a site-finish, you have the option of having a square edge that the installer can sand, leaving it smooth, giving the appearance of a more uniform look. 


Chepstow Vanilla Oak Engineered Flooring
Chepstow Vanilla Oak

Pre-finished boards are made in a controlled environment to avoid irregularities. The finish is evenly spread making the color and thickness consistent. For Woodpecker floors, five coats of finish are applied to enhance its durability. Also, between coats, each board is cured with UV light to seal the finish and make it last for a century. This technology and controlled environment are not available for on-site finish. This doesn’t mean they are not durable, but rather that a factory finish is guaranteed for longer. 

We hope this information has helped you make your decision. However, if you still have questions please reach out and contact us. We will be happy to help you. We offer complimentary samples so you can see and feel our exquisite product in real life before you make your final decision.