In a nutshell: prefinished hardwood floors are hardwood planks that have been stained and top-coated by the manufacturer. Because of that, the installation of prefinished hardwood planks is much quicker, easier, and affordable.
However, there’s a lot more to prefinished flooring than that.
If you’re interested in prefinished floors but you’re not sure if it’s the right choice for your home and needs, keep reading and discover everything you need to know about prefinished hardwood floors.
Prefinished Hardwood Floors
Despite it being slightly more expensive than unfinished hardwood planks or other materials that try to resemble the natural look of wood (like laminate or vinyl), prefinished hardwood floors are slowly starting to gain more and more ground.
And the reasoning behind it is simple. Homeowners are looking to get their installation faster and to pay less for the installation costs.
To better understand what solid prefinished hardwood flooring is, let’s talk about unfinished hardwood and engineered hardwood.
Unfinished Hardwood Planks
The unfinished hardwood planks are the traditional choice for homeowners looking to get wood flooring installed in their homes.
These are hardwood boards that come unfinished, and all the work is done on-site – in your home. This means a professional will install your hardwood planks, they’ll stain them, and then finish them once in place.
The unfinished hardwood planks are more authentic and they allow you to be in full control of their finish. The biggest advantage: it looks more like real wood flooring than the prefinished planks.
Engineered Hardwood Planks
While both unfinished and prefinished planks are 100% hardwood, engineered hardwood planks are a bit different.
They contain a part plywood or medium-density fiberboard, and only the top part is real hardwood. They’re glued together and have an interlock system that ensures a quick and effortless installation.
Engineered hardwood flooring is a common flooring option for DIYers, as its installation is super easy.
Generalities Of Prefinished Hardwood Flooring
Cost Of Prefinished Hardwood Floor
The average cost of prefinished hardwood planks is between $6 and $12 per square foot, and the installation cost can be anywhere from $5 to $19 per square foot.
Of course, these numbers will vary depending on your materials and what each contractor is worth. As long as a professional installs your prefinished hardwood planks, you won’t have to worry too much about squeaking or large gaps between your planks.
Prefinished hardwood floors are said to require less maintenance, but you can never be too sure. It’s best to stain and reseal your flooring at least once every few years.
Prefinished wood flooring planks have fewer design options.
When you’re buying unfinished hardwood planks, you get the “naked” version of them at virtually any size and thickness you want them. That leaves you in full control of your hardwood planks’ design and finish, so you can get something uniquely yours.
With prefinished hardwood flooring, however, you’re limited at the finishes and sizes the manufacturer established. And although you can get some popular and common finishes, maybe you want to match a more unique hardwood furniture, or you have a specific color in mind that you think would look great.
The installation of a prefinished wood flooring is much easier and faster than installing unfinished hardwood planks.
Because these planks come with an interlock system, it allows you to install these boards without needing too many tools or too much effort.
However, there are a couple of things to consider when installing prefinished hardwood flooring.
Any hardwood floor, be it unfinished, prefinished, or engineered, will require regular maintenance if you want it to look great for many years.
Stain and seal your solid wood flooring whenever it starts showing wear and tear, and clean it regularly to maintain its aesthetics.
Another upkeeping technique of prefinished wood floors is to stop the wood from contracting in the cold months, and to stop it from swelling in the warm months. Constant changes like these will cause your wood floor finish to fade and lose shine.
To do that, get a humidifier in the winter and a dehumidifier in the hot summer. Keep the humidity in your home between 30% and 50%, and the temperature between 68 and 72 degrees.
So, prefinished hardwood flooring or unfinished hardwood flooring?
Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages.
If you want a quicker installation and you don’t care so much about finishes and sizes, prefinished wood floor planks could be the way to go.
If, instead, you want your hardwood floor to match a specific element in your house, unfinished planks that can take any finish you want them to is a much better choice.
If you can’t yet decide and would love to hear an expert’s opinion on it, get in touch with us at (843) 900-4880 . We’d love to guide you through your options and help you make the best choice for your floors.