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Hardwood Floors: Prefinished Vs. Site-Finished

By Michael Hilton

If you want gorgeous hardwood floors in your home, one of the first decisions that you'll have to make is whether to use a factory finished hardwood flooring rather than installing unfinished wood, which needs to be sanded and finished on site in your home. While either option can result in a finished floor that has the durability and beauty that wood is known for, there are some important differences between prefinished and site-finished hardwood floors.

Consider these differences when choosing between prefinished and site-finished hardwood floors:

  1. Prefinished floors are easier and quicker to install, because the floor boards are ready to go right out of the box. All the sanding and finishing are done by the manufacturer at their factory, which means that all you have to do is install the flooring in your home.
  2. Site finished flooring requires lots of sanding after the boards are nailed into place, which can make a mess of your home, plus the sanding and finishing coats require several days of extra work for the floor installers, which can increase the overall cost of your project.
  3. Most prefinished floor boards have a beveled edge, which results in a floor surface that is not a truly flat. Although this beveled profile is necessary because the floor is not sanded smooth on site in your house, the small spaces between the floor boards can trap dirt and be felt under your bare feet.
  4. Finishing a wood floor correctly is not as simple as painting a wall, and the task can be beyond the ability of many DIY homeowners. Even the most experienced flooring installers would agree that it is difficult to beat the durability of a factory applied finish, because prefinished floor boards often have up 6 coats of machine applied finish that are reinforced with aluminum oxide additives and cured with UV lights.
  5. Although there are lots of available colors for you to choose from, you may not be able to find a prefinished hardwood flooring that matches an existing section of flooring in your home. If you are remodeling or adding onto your home, you may need to mix a custom finish color to seamlessly match your existing floors.

Although prefinished flooring and site-finished flooring differ in several aspects, the deciding factor for you may be the specifics of your project situation. The extent of your flooring needs, your timeline expectations, and your desire to complete the work yourself are all crucial factors for you to consider when choosing between prefinished hardwood flooring and site finished wood floors.

 

About the Author
Michael Hilton was the original creator of Carpet Buyers Handbook. Having owned and operated a carpet wholesale company, Hilton has a vast knowledge about all-things carpet related as well as other types of flooring.

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