Which is the better hardwood flooring option for you? A pre-finished floor or an unfinished / finished on site hardwood floor?
I asked an online hardwood flooring community group on LinkedIn which was a better floor, unfinished or pre-finished, and it resulted in a tremendous amount of passionate responses. There are valid points from each point of view, both options have advantages and disadvantages. The overall consensus was that the majority of hardwood flooring guys would go with the unfinished hardwood and have it finished on site. I’ll share with you some of the points for both arguments to help you learn more about the differences.
FINISHED ON SITE – Hardwood Flooring
|*Fewer problems in the long run*Create a custom floor – borders, herringbone, inlays etc.*Better price – for a quality floor*Looks better. This was across the board. You don’t have the beveled edges breaking up the flow.* wears better because flatter and one solid surface*liquid / dirt won’t get into the subfloor because of the solid surface.|
*much better option for kitchen
*more options – like Rift & Quarter Sawn
*once you see the difference & understand the “beauty & benefits” of this there is never comparison.
*Craftsmanship & concern – can’t be recreated in a factory for a profit. “This is art.”
*More skill needed for installation, you can expect overall better quality with the professional.
* Warmer, gentler feel
*fixed more easily — b/c wood species won’t be discontinued. You can always refinish the floor.
|*installation can be messier with dust*longer time of installation. More downtime*certain species fade over time, could make replacing one or two boards difficult*More skill needed for installation*Can find cheaper pre-finished flooring, but lacks in quality.|
PRE-FINISHED Hardwood Flooring
|*limited options on choices, but you can see it all at once to know what you’re getting*Easier Installations*More convenient*controlled environment for finishing in factory*floor ready to be lived on once installed*No odor in installation|
*Easier for existing house room renovation
*Less skill needed to install
|*Limited choices – widths, lengths, colors, grain, etc.*majority inspector cases are for pre-finished floors*Quality pre-finished is more expensive*Overall look – bevels & microbevels– gaps between boards, potential for liquid to get into subfloor. What if you drop an egg on this? It’s never going to be cleaned out.*Warranty really only covers manufacturer behind.* Products & colors can be discontinued – can’t replace boards.*Less skill needed to install, installer may make mistake elsewhere because limited knowledge*”Carpet Salesman” are the ones pushing this at many flooring stores. They have lack knowledge other than what sales rep tells them.|
*terrible option for kitchen (b/c not a solid surface).
*Micro Bevel Breaks up continuity
*has “tired, lazy” look.
*can’t have borders, inlays and other fancy flooring techniques, herringbone, basket weaves, etc.
The beauty of a site finished floor is difficult to match. This is pretty much agreed upon within much of the flooring community, however there are benefits to a pre-finished floor. The best option depends on each individual situation. Someone said that a pre-finished floor should never be put in a new construction home. I personally couldn’t agree more. Often builders, from a production and profit margin maximizing standpoint, push for the pre-finished floor because it saves them time and money. But if you do the research yourself and ask around you’ll find that the long term benefits, value and beauty of a finished on site floor out weights the the extra time and effort it may take upfront to install an unfinished floor over a pre-finished floor.
This was my favorite comment from someone who in this feed…. “I just like wood. Any wood, old wood, new wood, light & dark wood, busy wood, character wood, pre-finished wood, oiled wood, and site finished wood. Wood is Beautiful.”