Design IdeasFlooring

Prefinished vs. Unfinished Wood Flooring

Deciding between pre-finished or unfinished wood flooring can be difficult for any homeowner. Pre-finished flooring has a durable finish that can’t be achieved on floors finished on the job site. Pre-finished floors mean less mess during installation, too. Unfinished wood flooring has its advantages, also. It is available in more widths and wood species than pre-finished and can be matched to existing wood floors.

To help you decide on pre-finished or unfinished wood flooring, consider these questions:
* Is this floor going to be installed in new construction, or as an upgrade? If it is in your existing home, pre-finished flooring might be easier.
* Are you trying to match to an existing floor or trim? If so, unfinished wood will be easier to stain to match.
* Will the floor be in a kitchen or high traffic area? Pre-finished wood may provide a more durable finish.
* Do you have children or pets that you don’t want to expose to the fumes and mess during finishing at your home?
* Are you installing wood flooring in one room, or throughout your home? If it is throughout your home, consider having the floors finished on site, to provide a uniform color and finish.
* What is your budget? Pre-finished flooring typically costs less. The finish is applied at the factory, thereby reducing labor costs.
* Are you looking for a specific plank width or an unusual wood species for your flooring? You will have the most choices with unfinished wood.
* Are you installing this floor on a floor below the ground level of your house? If so, you may have to choose engineered wood or laminate flooring. Many solid woods are not suitable for basement floors.
* Does the room have high humidity? If so, consider engineered pre-finished flooring. It resists buckling and warping and is suitable for changes in climate.
* Does your home have historical significance or are you trying to maintain the architectural integrity of your home? Unfinished flooring would be most appropriate in this case.

Ask the installation professional for his or her advice concerning the different types of wood flooring. Ask them to bring samples of the different finishes and wood types, so you can see them with the lighting in your home and with your furnishings. Write down the names of woods and finishes you like in friend’s houses and magazines, this will help the flooring contractor give you an accurate estimate for products and installation.

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