Unfinished or Prefinished: What Should I Choose?

The options before your customers when they go to choose a new hardwood floor are overwhelming. What species, what finish, what color? But perhaps the most daunting question is whether to choose unfinished wood or prefinished flooring.

Unfinished Wood Flooring

Many contractors prefer to wait until the end of the job to finish the floor. This eliminates the possibility of a dropped tool or other minor incident marring the finish of the floor during construction. This alone is often all the reason somebody needs to choose on-site finishing.

When you finish the floor after it’s installed, you have many more choices. The customer is able to choose every aspect of their floor, from the species, to the grade, to the color and texture. Only a floor that is finished on-site can give your customer a fully custom look and finish.

Unfinished floors that are sanded and finished on-site also have a slightly different look and feel than factory finish flooring. They fit more flush, as prefinished floorboards usually have bevels on the edges to hide slight discrepancies between boards. But site-sanded floors are more flush with no grooves, so they can be finished to a smooth mirror surface. Some homeowners prefer this look.

Some customers may express concern about the mess of sanding a floor in their home. But today’s sanding equipment is virtually dust-free.

Finally, unfinished flooring is generally a more affordable option than more expensive prefinished floorboards.

Prefinished Wood Flooring

For some clients, prefinished wood flooring is attractive. It’s quicker to install, since the finishing has already been done. But it can also be more expensive, and doesn’t offer all the options for customization and creativity that many clients value so highly.

Both unfinished and prefinished hardwoods have their benefits, and either choice will result in a beautiful, durable hardwood floor. Keep your clients’ needs and wants in mind when advising them on flooring options, and help them choose the path that’s right for them.