What is Prefinished Hardwood Flooring? 6 Things to Know

Hardwood Flooring

Prefinished hardwood flooring was developed as a way to use wood left over from building Navy boats during World War II. Technology has improved significantly since the 1940s, but the fundamentals are the same.

As the name suggests, prefinished flooring is finished before installation. Sanding, staining, and sealing take place in a factory. This differs from conventional hardwood floors, which are finished on-site.

The first prefinished hardwood floors used a protective wax coating. Wax isn’t very durable, though. The invention of polyurethane in the 1950s made prefinished floors much more robust.

UV technology for curing the wood is more environmentally-friendly. It makes the wood more durable. Prefinished hardwood flooring has many advantages over other types of flooring.

Learn more about six reasons a prefinished hardwood floor is a good investment for your home.

1. Prefinished Floors Give You a Wide Range of Choices

In the past, choosing a prefinished hardwood floor limited your choices. Modern prefinished flooring comes in a variety of styles.

You have several options for species of wood, including:

  • Red oak
  • White oak
  • Hickory
  • Walnut
  • Pine
  • Maple

You can choose from different widths and colors.

Most prefinished flooring has beveled edges. This protects the finish from chipping during installation. If you don’t like the look of grooves between the boards, you can choose square-edge flooring without bevels.

The finish can range from high gloss to satin or matte. A higher gloss finish highlights the color and grain of the wood. It also makes scratches and dents more visible.

Satin or matte finishes create a look very similar to a site-applied finish.

Prefinished hardwood flooring gives you the option of traditional or engineered hardwood. Premium brands like Anderson Tuftex Hardwood and Shaw Floorte Hardwood give you convenience and durable beauty.

2. You Know Exactly What You’re Getting

With a traditional hardwood floor, you don’t know exactly how it will look until the installation is complete. The stain may be darker or lighter. A glossy finish may be shinier than you expected.

With a prefinished floor, you know exactly what you’re getting. The flooring already has its finished look. You can choose the color and style more confidently.

3. Prefinished Hardwood Flooring is Faster to Install

Installing prefinished hardwood flooring is faster than unfinished flooring. After installation, unfinished flooring requires:

  • Sanding
  • Stain
  • Sealant

You have to wait for the finish to fully cure, which can take weeks.

A prefinished floor doesn’t need the additional stages. A professional crew can finish the installation in a few hours. You can walk on the floor right away.

4. Installation of Prefinished Hardwood Floors Is Cleaner

The simpler installation process for prefinished hardwood floors has another advantage. It produces less dust and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Too much exposure to wood dust and VOCs can pose a health risk.

Avoid Problems With Wood Dust

Sanding unfinished floors creates a large amount of dust that spreads to other parts of your home. Wood dust is not only messy but also an irritant to the eyes, nose, and throat. It can even cause cancer.

Prefinished hardwood flooring doesn’t require sanding. You avoid problems with wood dust.

Avoid Problems With VOCs

VOCs are chemicals found in many products you may use during a hardwood floor installation, such as:

  • Paint
  • Stain
  • Solvent
  • Cleaning products
  • Plastic

These products release VOCs into the air through outgassing. Breathing a high concentration of VOCs can cause health effects like eye irritation, nausea, headaches, and liver damage, just to name a few. 

Some VOCs cause cancer. Installing a conventional hardwood floor can leave odors from VOCs in the air for weeks.

With prefinished hardwood flooring, the outgassing takes place at the factory. You don’t create a high concentration of VOCs in your home.

5. A Prefinished Hardwood Floor Is Cost-Effective

A quality prefinished hardwood floor is well worth the price. The upfront cost of prefinished hardwood flooring is typically higher than unfinished flooring. However, the total cost of ownership can be lower.

You’ll pay less for installation because the flooring doesn’t need finishing.

Prefinished hardwood is very durable. The finish from the factory lasts longer than a finish applied on-site.

Prefinished hardwood finish has powerful chemical sealers and processes. These processes aren’t available for on-site applications. The finish contains aluminum oxide crystals embedded in a UV-cured urethane coat.

This hard coating resists scratches and dents better than conventional hardwood flooring. The manufacturer’s warranty usually lasts 25 years or more.

6. You Can Refinish Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

Many people assume that a prefinished hardwood floor can’t be refinished. In fact, you can sand and refinish it multiple times. You don’t need to refinish the floor as often as site-finished wood, though.

To refinish hardwood floors, you need at least 1/8 inch left between the top of the board and the tongue. You can use a drum or orbital sander as long as the boards are solid wood. With engineered wood, you need a top panel at least 1.5 millimeters thick.

You can re-stain the wood after sanding. You can change the color of the stain to change the look of your room. The final step in the process is applying a protective topcoat.

Enjoy the Beauty of Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

Prefinished hardwood flooring is a beautiful addition to your home. It offers many advantages. You can choose from a variety of types of wood, stains, and finishes.

A prefinished hardwood floor is faster and cleaner to install than a traditional hardwood floor. It’s cost-effective and durable. You can refinish it to extend the life of your flooring.

You can start enjoying a prefinished hardwood floor in your home and experience the difference. Find more useful guides like this in our other lifestyle articles.

Salina is a professional blogger and marketer. She has an excellent talent for writing. She is very much passionate about contributing her ideas on online platforms. Generally, she shared her thoughts on trendy topics such as health, beauty, travel, food, fashion, technology, business, finance, and so on.