Prefinished or Site finished Hardwood Flooring?
We know the decision to install wood flooring in your home is a big
decision, and with so many options available, it can be a confusing
decision as well.
One of the biggest questions that arises is whether prefinished wood
flooring, or solid unfinished flooring, which is installed, sanded, and
finished on site, is right for you.
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
-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"
-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 irregularites 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 prefinished flooring, these small nail holes
are filled, but not sanded - so they may be a bit more visible. While we
use the manufacturer-recommended prefinished 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
In the end, only you can make the decision about which flooring is
right for you.
|The Hardwood Guys, L.L.C.
Affordable Excellence in Hardwood Flooring.