For years, if you wanted to install wood floors, you didn’t have too many options to choose from, so making the decision to put in wood floors used to be much easier. Now, there are more options to consider than ever before, from the variety of grains, colors, and textures of wood, the length and width of individual planks, not to mention the number of manufacturing and installation options now available. With all of these options available, selecting your wood flooring can be just as overwhelming as it is exciting. A major factor you should consider when making your final decisions is whether to go with a pre-finished wood or a site-finished wood flooring. Here is a rundown of the pros and cons of each.

Pre-finished Wood

Pre-finished wood, as the name suggests, is flooring that has the finish applied to it before it reaches the supplier. This type of flooring has become popular in recent years because of its many pros.

The Good

  • First, and foremost, the boards are already finished, so as soon as they are installed, you can walk on them and move your furniture into the room right away.
  • Installation is much faster than site-finished wood flooring. This is beneficial because not only does it save you time, it can potentially save you money that would be spent on labor costs.
  • Pre-finished boards are finished in a factory under ideal environmental conditions. Typically, a number of coats of urethane are applied, and many pre-finished wood floor finishes contain aluminum oxide, resulting in a very smooth and durable floor.
  • Manufacturers often offer warranties on the finish wear.

The Bad

  • Because the installer does not sand and finish the floor at the time of installation, borders, inlays, and other cosmetic techniques are nearly impossible or at best very difficult to do.
  • Milling inconsistencies are more noticeable in pre-finished boards. To avoid sharp edges, pre-finished boards have beveled sides which create “micro-grooves” between boards, accentuating the seams. While some people do not consider this to be aesthetically pleasing, others don’t mind.
  • Pre-finished wood tends to be more expensive. However, since you save money on labor, your total cost is usually very similar to that of a site-finished floor.

Site-finished Wood

Site-finished wood is sanded, stained, and finished at the time the floor is installed. While the results can be stunning, when you choose a site-finished wood floor, there are a few pros and cons to consider.

The Good

  • The end result of a site-finished floor is smooth with no detectable high or low points between the boards when you run your hand across the surface. Unlike pre-finished wood floors, there are no grooves.
  • All the fancy techniques you could not do with pre-finished wood, such as customized inlays and borders, can be used with site-finished wood.
  • The cost of the wood itself is typically much less expensive than pre-finished wood, but keep in mind that the money saved is often put toward labor costs.

The Bad

  • The process of finishing a floor on-site can take several days. Equipment is brought to the site to sand the flooring smooth, the flooring is stained, and a polyurethane finish is applied to the prepared floor. This process involves a lot of patience while waiting for the stain and the subsequent topcoat(s) to dry before walking on the floor or moving furniture back into the room.
  • The stain and polyurethane both produce strong odors and can make homeowners nauseous or even sick if exposed to it for too long within the first few days. Also, the odor is frequently trapped in the dryer vent which results in a burning smell coming from your dryer for a few days until those fumes are completely gone.
  • The process can also be very messy. Professional installers do their best to minimize the mess, but anytime an entire floor is sanded, you can expect to find some residual sawdust lingering after installation is complete.
  • The finish is not quite as hard or smooth as that of a pre-finished floor, and it can contain imperfections. A common example of this is of airborne dust that settles on the floor while the finish is drying which can leave tiny, mildly abrasive spots. However, these spots should disappear within a few months as the floor is walked on.

Style Flooring, Cabinets, & Countertops can help you decide on the best pre-finished and site-finished wood flooring for your project!

Contact us (859-279-3421) for a complimentary in home estimate and design consultation
-OR- stop by our showroom!

About Style Flooring, Cabinets, & Countertops

Style Flooring, Cabinets, and Countertops offers a level of attention and knowledge to our customers that big box stores just can’t! Our focus is to provide every client with outstanding service, high quality products, and competitive prices. We ask questions to get an accurate understanding of our clients wants and needs. Our extensive knowledge and product offerings allows us to help our clients find the best possible option for their lifestyle, look, and budget.
>> Learn More