Wood Flooring Installation - Prefinished vs Unfinished Hardwood


Prefinished vs. unfinished hardwood flooring installation

Choosing the right hardwood flooring for your home can be an exciting yet daunting task. One of the most important decisions you'll make is whether to go with prefinished or unfinished hardwood. Both offer distinct advantages, depending on your needs and preferences. In this guide, we'll delve into the differences between prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring installations to help you make an informed choice.

Benefits of prefinished wood flooring

  • Time-saving: One of the most significant advantages of prefinished hardwood flooring is that it's ready to be installed right out of the box. Since the finishing process is done at the factory, you won't have to wait for the finish to dry on-site, which can speed up the installation process.
  • Consistency in finish: Prefinished wood floors offer a consistent finish throughout the entire floor. Manufacturers apply the finish under controlled conditions, ensuring uniformity and perfection.
  • Durability: The factory-applied finishes on prefinished hardwood are often tougher and more durable than site-applied finishes, offering better protection against spills, stains, and scratches.



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Benefits of unfinished wood flooring

  • Customization: The primary advantage of unfinished hardwood flooring is its customization level. You can choose the exact stain color and finish to match your decor, ensuring a truly personalized touch.
  • Smooth and even finish: Since unfinished flooring is sanded and finished after installation, you can achieve a smooth and even surface across the entire floor. This is particularly beneficial for matching existing floors or dealing with irregular subfloors.
  • On-site corrections: Any imperfections or damages can be addressed immediately during the finishing process, ensuring the result is up to your standards.

Differences in installing prefinished vs. unfinished wood flooring

  • Installation time: Prefinished hardwood flooring tends to have a quicker installation time. As mentioned, there's no need to wait for finishes to dry, which can take several days with unfinished wood. This means rooms can be back in use faster.
  • Site conditions: Unfinished wood flooring installation requires a clean environment free of dust and debris during the finishing process. This can sometimes mean vacating the premises or sectioning off areas of the home. With prefinished flooring, these concerns are minimized.
  • Skill level: While both types of installations require skilled professionals for the best outcome, unfinished wood flooring might demand a higher level of expertise during the finishing process to ensure an even and smooth result.
  • Cost: Prefinished hardwood often comes at a higher initial cost due to the factory finishing. However, when you factor in the on-site finishing costs (materials, labor, time) of unfinished wood, they can sometimes end up being quite comparable.
Wood Flooring Installation - Prefinished vs Unfinished Hardwood in Southbury, CT from Dilley's Wood Flooring and Supplies

Your experts on installing wood flooring

Your choice between prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring will largely depend on your priorities. If you're looking for a quicker, less messy hardwood installation with a durable finish, prefinished might be the way to go. However, if customization and a seamless finish are top priorities, unfinished wood flooring could be your best bet.

When in doubt, visit Dilley's Wood Flooring and Supplies to see samples and discuss your needs with our experienced professionals. We're here to help you make the best choice for your home. Our showroom in Southbury, CT, serves Litchfield County, CT, Fairfield County, CT, Middlesex County, CT, New Haven County, CT, and Hartford County, CT.