PRE-FINISHED VS. UNFINISHED HARDWOOD FLOORS

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Hardwood floors are almost requisite in Fairfield County, CT luxury homes. With so many different wood species and finish choices to choose from, wood flooring offers a wealth of high-quality options. When building a new home or renovation, you’ll have the option of pre-finished or unfinished hardwood. Making the choice will come down to convenience, durability needs, and style preferences. What look do you want? How should it hold up? And how soon must the floor be ready to use?

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If you’re planning a home construction project, then here’s what you need to know about pre-finished and unfinished wood flooring, and what styles are appropriate for typical luxury homes built in Fairfield County.

The Main Difference Between Pre-Finished and Unfinished
Pre-finished hardwood flooring is sanded, sealed, and finished by the manufacturer. When delivered, the flooring is cured and ready for your contractor to install. Unfinished hardwood is bare, natural wood that is partially sanded. Further sanding is required by your home builder after installation, and before sealant and finish.

When homeowners choose pre-finished hardwood floors, they’re often seeking the convenience of flooring that’s complete just after it’s laid down. Aside from the installation process, there’s no wait time, and no risk of someone accidentally stepping on a finish that hasn’t cured.

Pre-Finished Hardwood Floors Reduce Finish Imperfections
Pre-finished flooring is more flawless than unfinished. Some luxury homeowners want that pristine look, and some prefer a warmer, more natural appearance. Pre-finished wood is sanded and finished under controlled conditions using machines. There’s a lower chance of dust and debris landing on wet sealant or finish. As a result, the finish will look perfectly uniform.

There was a time when factory finishes could be tougher than site-finished floors. Advanced technology, however, makes both choices equally durable. For unfinished options, on-site UV curing will help set the finish fast and provide a highly durable end result. For added protection, your contractor can apply advanced, durable, zero-VOC floor finish for a no-fume floor on the first day.

Unfinished Hardwood Has More Flexibility and Natural Beauty
An unfinished floor usually results in a more natural look with all of the wood’s warmth and character shining through. The process will be a bit messier and require more steps; however, it also gives you more design options, such as special inlay patterns. Site-finished floors also provide a flatter, smoother appearance and can be sealed. Pre-finished flooring has beveled edges. So even though the finish might look perfect, the whole floor will have pronounced seams.

With the majority of site-finished floors, the entire floor, seams and all, is sanded flat and sealed as a whole. Many of the common finishes on the market today form an interlocking sheet of protection as they cure. This process can offer better protection for a busy home with children and pets.

Unfinished Hardwood for Kitchens
Moisture is the enemy of a hardwood floor. If water comes into contact with wood fibers, the natural reaction is swelling. Water often causes dark stains on bare wood, too. That’s why unfinished hardwoods have a slight advantage for use in kitchens.

Hardwood floors are a perennial choice for new construction, additions, and any renovation project. Wood is easy to maintain, lasts for generations, and provides numerous choices. There’s really no such thing as an ordinary hardwood floor, at least not anymore.

In summary, pre-finished hardwood floors are ready to use immediately, they wear tough, and they have some seam imperfection and water infiltration issues. Installing unfinished flooring can be a messier job that requires more time to install. The positives, however, are a more natural look and a better sealant ability to protect against ordinary home hazards.