Unfinished Oak hardwood flooring versus prefinished Oak is a choice that consumers deal with when considering hardwood floors in their new or existing home.
More often than not, the appeal of having a custom floor is alluring to the consumer. If you’re adamant about having the floor a perfect match to your custom stained cabinets, and you can’t find a prefinished floor that goes with them, then looking at unfinished is probably an option for you. However, that’s about the only reason an unfinished floor should be considered, when color is the only factor.
A few things to note when deciding between prefinished and unfinished wood floors:
1. A prefinished wood floor will have a higher quality finish than an unfinished, custom stained version. Prefinished wood floors will usually have between 4-7 coats of Aluminum Oxide and or Polyurethane applied at the factory using several treatments that include pressure and heating. Not only will the finish be incomparably better on a prefinished wood, but the factory process also rids the wood of any excess moisture. There are great custom wood flooring installers out there. Don’t misunderstand me! They just can’t give you them same finish quality because of limitations in the field, plain old physics, temperature, physics and chemistry.
2. Manufacturers give between a 5 and 25 year wear warranty and 5 and 15 years on the finish itself. If you go with a custom stained unfinished floor you will get a 1 year warranty at best.
3. A custom prefinished floor will take a lot longer to install. The floor has the be “aired out” longer before the job, it has to be nailed down, then sanded, then stained, then finished, and then sometimes another finish is applied. It can be a week long process sometimes. Installation of a prefinished wood floor takes about half the time versus unfinished.
4. A prefinished hardwood floor produces less off gassing and VOC’s than a custom unfinished version during and after installation.
5. Unfinished hardwood will have to be refinished much quicker than factory prefinished versions. Refinishing a floor can be an expensive project.
Don’t get me wrong on this! It may seem like I’m knocking unfinished, custom wood flooring. If you want to have a custom floor, that’s great. However, you need to be armed with the right knowledge so you can decide if it’s really the right choice for you.