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What’s The Difference between Finished and Unfinished Flooring?

Hardwood flooring is a substantial investment; it is the type of flooring you can live to appreciate every day.
Hardwood flooring enhances the view of your home & adds the touch of elegance. It's also strong and durable, eye-catching in all decor themes & the color doesn't fade.
The two most popular types of hardwood flooring include engineered flooring and solid hardwood flooring. While solid hardwood flooring is made of hardwood types such as walnut, maple, or oak.
Engineered flooring is made of a thin layer of hardwood merged over a substrate of plywood and is relatively less expensive compared to solid hardwood.
While the choice of material is important, choosing between the two is an integral part of your internal design.
This also means the material has been processed—sanded and coated with polyurethane and stained —in the factory. All that is left is the installation.
On the other hand, unfinished flooring means installing a raw hardwood material & nailing it into the floor, sanding, and refinishing on-site.
Deciding between the two can be a daunting task for any person looking to own a home. Indeed, there are pros and cons for each installation. You may find it challenging to analyze the pros and cons for each installation option. It is recommended that you take your time to select the best choice for your flooring project. Why? Because it will help you avoid future problems.
If you are deciding between the two, here are the key differences that will help you make an informed decision.
In relation to time, PF is relatively faster to install compared to unfinished flooring. This style allows you to walk on it immediately and even put furniture as soon as the installation is complete. However, with unfinished flooring, the sanding process often takes several days and up to months depending on the size of the house, and then you will have to wait days before putting furniture on the floor. For instance, if the floor was installed using oil-based polyurethane for unfinished flooring, you must wait even close to a month before moving furniture into the house. Why? Because the floor will be vulnerable to scrapping—the finish has to cure completely.
With PF, the material is already treated - no chemical is applied during installation. On the other hand, unfinished flooring requires treatment with either oil-based or water-based polyurethane. If the oil-based polyurethane is applied, the homeowner and those around will smell and breathe in particles from polyurethane resins. This smell is intense. Moreover, some waterborne polyurethane is known to produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that have been found to be carcinogenic.
In relation to appearance, unfinished hardwood flooring resembles real wood. Although the other type is made of hardwood material, the processing it undergoes includes staining and coating with polyurethane, gives it a plastic-like or factory-made appearance with less obvious grain pattern. Unfinished hardwood flooring installed by an experienced crafts person is a work of art and compares to nothing in terms of the beauty and natural warmth of a hardwood floor.
Creative possibilities
Unfinished floors provide multiple creative possibilities from countless stain colors, to the wide variety of species of hardwood available. Also, providing a wide-ranging finish options: there are no limits with unfinished flooring.
Other notable finish options for unfinished flooring worth mentioning include hardwax oils like WOCA and Monocoat and many others that cannot be found in the other type flooring. For instance, A green floor, French Bleed, hand scraped, or wire-brushed floor can be created to the homeowner’s liking. On the other hand, both have a narrower scope of color finish options and wood species.
In relation to repairs, this type is relatively quite expensive. For instance, if this floor type becomes scratched, the entire section of the floor with the scratch mark may need to be replaced. Alternatively, the whole floor may need to be sandpapered to correct the problem. However, if unfinished flooring is scratched, the individual boards can be sanded down to raw hardwoods and refinished. Alternatively, if the unfinished flooring is made of hardwax oil finishes such as WOCA and Rubio Monocoat, all which is required is rubbing new products on the scratches.
Unfinished flooring is relatively messier than the other type, and unfinished flooring must undergo the sanding process. Sanding hardwoods is a messy business yet nonetheless important. Also, this type does not require sanding.
Over time, all type of floors usually gets surface scratches from wear and tear process. Unfinished hardwood flooring that has been treated with oil-based polyurethane can be re coated and buffed after many years to remove the scratches on the surface and revitalize the surface coat of poly.
Prefinished floors does not have an option for buff and coat finishing procedure. For instance, because of multiple polyurethane coats, Also, this type may need to be sanded deeper than the unfinished material, meaning that if it is sanded too often, it will become too thin quickly.
In relation to cost, this flooring relatively cost less generally as compared to unfinished. It cost more for the flooring material, but because of the reduced cost of installation, it also often ends up being relatively less expensive as compared to unfinished flooring. For unfinished hardwood flooring, you are paying less for the wood and more for the labor. However, its unfinished flooring would only be cheaper if you own the wood.
This article has outlined the difference between finished and unfinished flooring to help you make an informed decision, but in the end, it is up to you to decide the options that appeal to your needs. The choice has its pros and cons; from time, smell aesthetic, creative possibilities, repairs and the mess created. Before you decide, consider exploring the differences between the two presented in this blog and choose the one that aligns with your needs: it is about choosing what is best for you.


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