You’re busy and want convenience. Apps for this and that. A car that tells you how to avoid traffic while on the go. A drive-thru pit stop for a family meal between karate lessons and ball team practices on a busy weeknight. We get it.
Now, you’re looking at a new wood flooring project at home and are weighing the tradeoffs of costs and time to get it done. One question that naturally comes up is: prefinished or site-finished?
One has a convenience benefit. The other has great positives, too, but takes a little longer to complete.
In separate blog posts, we’re helping you weigh the advantages of prefinished and the advantages of unfinished (site-finished) wood flooring.
"Peshtigo River" | Solid, prefinished hardwood flooring from Aacer Flooring's Heartland Collection
The Difference: Prefinished + Unfinished Wood Flooring
First. Finish is the top coat that protects wood flooring from daily wear and tear. It also affects the appearance of the wood. Learn more through our “Guide to Finishes and Sheens.” That applies whether we’re talking about prefinished or site-finished wood flooring.
Prefinished floors are sanded and finished during manufacturing. They are packaged and delivered ready for use as soon as the flooring is installed. For some context, in 2014, solid prefinished floors made up 31 percent of the wood flooring market in the United States. [Source: U.S. FLOOReport 2016] That is a growing number.
Unfinished floors require a skilled contractor to sand and finish them. Solid site-finished floor sales were 13 percent of the U.S. market, or less than half the amount of prefinished wood flooring sold. If you’re leaning toward the convenience of a prefinished floor, you’re in the majority of solid wood flooring owners.
A bonus fun fact to wow your friends, since that math – 31 and 13 – clearly doesn’t add up to the whole picture: Engineered wood floors are the majority segment of the wood flooring market, with 55 percent.
"Longs Peak" | Engineered, prefinished hardwood flooring from the Colorado Mountain Collection
The Pros for Prefinished Wood Flooring
Convenience. For any floor installation project, furniture, appliances … everything … needs to be moved out of the way. The family of the home, including pets, will live with disruption during the project. That’s a short-term pain that depends on the size of the project. Prefinished hardwood flooring means less of the temporary inconvenience to homeowners that comes with a wood floor installation project.
Design Selection. With prefinished wood flooring, it’s easy to take a short board to compare colors, graining and texture against other design elements you’re considering (e.g. paint colors, rugs, furniture styles and colors).
Time savings. Prefinished floor installation can be completed in less time than a floor that also requires on-site sanding and finishing. Prefinished flooring is ready to use as soon as it’s installed. Put the fridge and furniture right back in place and keep your busy schedule on track.
Minimal dust and odor. Even though dust from sanding can be heavily reduced on-site these days, nothing minimizes dust from work in the house like having that part of the process happen elsewhere. Floor finish, like wall paint, has an odor. Prefinished flooring means the finish is applied, dried and cured at the factory. No finish in the home, no finish odor.
Durability. Factory-finished wood flooring is finished with products that provide durability. But there can be a trade-off. If the finish includes aluminum oxide, is ceramic-fortified, or uses nano-technologies, it can make future sanding and refinishing projects more difficult.
"Caraway" | Solid, prefinished hardwood flooring from Hallmark Floors' Organic Collection
Search Palo Duro's Online Flooring Catalog
Enter “prefinished” in the search bar at the top of the page to see the prefinished solid and engineered wood flooring products Palo Duro offers.
Know more. Talk with your Palo Duro outside sales rep or call our inside sales team at 303-375-0280.
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