Prefinished hardwood flooring is a modern invention. Traditionally, hardwood flooring was always created using unfinished planks that were finished on the worksite. However, to keep up with changing times, faster installation times were demanded. Thus emerged prefinished hardwood flooring in the 1940s.
Today, prefinished hardwood flooring is everywhere and offers many benefits. But, like any flooring material, it also has its limitations.
To that end, consumers should understand both sides of the product before they buy. That way, they can make the best decision for their project.
So, if you are wondering if prefinished hardwood flooring is the right choice for your project, The Reno Superstore presents this handy overview.
Let’s get started.
Pros & Cons of Prefinished Hardwood Flooring
Prefinished hardwood flooring is a popular choice for both homes and businesses. It is important to note that most solid hardwood products, as well as engineered hardwood flooring, are sold prefinished. However, let’s get a few things straight before we examine the benefits and drawbacks of prefinished hardwood flooring.
What is prefinished hardwood flooring?
Prefinished hardwood flooring is factory finished. This means each plank is individually sprayed with a multi-layer coating of polyurethane and aluminum oxide and processed at high temperatures. This process helps create a long-lasting and extremely hard acrylic finish that offers improved durability, protection against UV rays, and scratch resistance.
On the other hand, site-finished hardwood flooring has no coating; raw wood is brought to the worksite and finished there.
A Few Important Questions Answered About Prefinished Hardwood Flooring
1. How Much Does It Cost?
Refinished hardwood flooring can cost anywhere between $3 and $20 per square foot, depending on the hardwood species and its grade. Compared to unfinished strips, this can add 30% to 50% to your upfront costs. However, you can save on installation costs because you will not need to sand or finish this type of flooring.
We highly recommend using pro installation services from The Reno Superstore for your prefinished hardwood planks for the best results.
2. How Do You Maintain It?
Like any other hardwood, prefinished hardwood should not be cleaned using water or harsh products like vinegar or bleach. Simple sweeping or vacuuming with a soft brush attachment is enough to get rid of grit and dust. Avoid oil soaps as they break down the finish of these planks and the oil residue attracts dirt.
3. What Does ‘Grade’ Mean?
Prefinished hardwood is available in various grades. This refers to the number of surface defects such as knots and colour variations. Higher grades indicate longer boards, fewer surface defects, and higher costs.
Please note: lower grade flooring does not mean worse durability and higher grades do not indicate better durability. All grades offer structurally-sound flooring; this is more associated with appearance than strength or durability. Please choose flooring that aligns with your lifestyle for the best results.
The Pros of Prefinished Hardwood Flooring
What are the advantages of prefinished hardwood flooring? Let’s find out.
1. It offers faster installation.
Installing a new floor takes time, especially if you choose site-finished hardwood flooring. There are several necessary processes involved prior to installation that are common to both types of flooring. These include levelling the subfloor, laying the underlayment, and acclimatization – all of which add to the installation time. After installation, the sanding process will also take a lot of time.
Prefinished flooring cuts down on installation time, including staining, curing, and sanding.
2. It releases fewer VOCs.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) refer to gases emitted during the refinishing process. This happens when you select hardwood flooring that needs to be finished on the job site. The solvents, as well as vapours from polyurethane resins, hang in the air for days.
The mess involved is another story, but the odour from these products is not good for your health. Especially if you live where the installation is taking place, you and your family will be exposed to VOCs, which can reduce indoor air quality.
With prefinished flooring, this risk is significantly reduced because the finishing process is mostly done in the factory. There is only a small risk of VOC exposure during the glue-down process.
3. It requires zero sanding.
The sanding process is an important part of hardwood installation, as it creates a smooth, even surface that helps the wood hold stain better. However, this necessary process is both time-consuming and releases a lot of dust, which is not good for anyone with allergies. This step is unavoidable with unfinished planks, so choose accordingly.
4. It offers a flawless finish.
Who doesn’t want flawless flooring? When you purchase your prefinished hardwood flooring from reputable manufacturers, they will ensure that each plank is properly finished to meet industry standards. These floors also come with a manufacturer warranty, making them a smart investment for your property.
5. It is cost-effective in the long run.
Budget is an important consideration. Prefinished hardwood flooring seems expensive but is a cost-effective solution in the long run. Remember that for unfinished hardwood flooring, you need to factor in the finishing costs which are often higher than for prefinished hardwood flooring.
6. It is very durable.
Any new flooring must be durable. Like all hardwood flooring, prefinished hardwood is a durable flooring choice that can last for centuries and be refinished multiple times.
Please note: if you are refinishing an older floor, make sure there are at least 0.125 inches (⅛ inch) left between the top of the board and the tongue. If you aren’t sure, consult a Reno Superstore expert.
The Other Side of Prefinished Hardwood Flooring
Now that you are acquainted with the pros, let’s take a look at the limitations of prefinished hardwood flooring.
1. It is not temperature-resistant.
Like all other hardwood flooring, prefinished hardwood flooring is not temperature resistant. This means it will contract and expand with changes in temperature and humidity. If not installed properly, these changes may lead to flooring issues such as cupping and gaps, which is why it is best to have The Reno Superstore take care of its installation.
Avoid installing it in areas where there is a lot of moisture, such as basements and bathrooms. Explore waterproof flooring options for such areas instead.
2. Its seams are noticeable.
Seams are more obvious in prefinished flooring, which makes them more prone to damage when not installed or maintained properly. Because each flooring plank is already sealed, a second layer of the seal is frequently omitted, leaving seams exposed and vulnerable to spills and damage.
Is Prefinished Hardwood Flooring the Right Choice for You?
Many factors must be considered before deciding whether prefinished hardwood flooring is the best option for your home. Since prefinished hardwood is already finished and ready for installation, it is convenient and saves time. With a variety of styles and finishes to choose from, it is a strong and long-lasting flooring option. However, it is crucial to take into account your individual needs and preferences, your budget, and the current conditions in your home. Talk to the experts at The Reno Superstore for helpful advice. Have questions? Get in touch with us today.