Prefinished Hardwood Floors: The Pros and Cons

If you've decided to deck your floors out in hardwood, you'll need to decide whether or not to install unfinished or prefinished hardwood floors. Prefinished floors may take some of the initial work out of the project, but they have their own set of pros and cons.


Prefinished hardwood floors have numerous advantages. One advantage is the hard, durable finish. Several coats of sealant make these floors harder and more resilient to scratches, according to SFGate. On the contrary, when an unfinished floor is laid, typically just two or three coats of sealer are applied. Prefinished hardwood floors are also very versatile and can be placed over a wide range of subfloors.

Prefinished flooring also implies a dust-free installation. When an unfinished wood floor is installed, it has to be sanded down, leaving dust in the house. Although most of the dust can be vacuumed up, your nose can still pick up lingering particles. For this reason, a prefinished wood floor can be installed much more quickly, with minimal interruption to your day. If you opt for unfinished floors, you'll need to allow extra time for finishing and drying before being able to walk on it.

Cleaning is just as easy. Prefinished wood comes already sanded, stained and finished. Once installed, prefinished floors are a breeze to keep neat. Routine sweeping with a soft-bristled broom and a weekly dose of an All-Natural Mopping Solution will make your finished floors sparkle.


Alongside the advantages of prefinished wood floors are the disadvantages especially when it comes to designing a floor or remodeling in the future. This includes difficulty in refinishing. If you think you'd like to refinish your floors down the line, you'll have a much harder time with prefinished wood floors. This occurs because the strength of the sealant actually makes them much more difficult to sand. It can be done, but it may end up costing you quite a bit more than finishing floors that originally had no finish.

Prefinished wood also brings limitations within its borders and inlays. If you're envisioning a floor with elaborate designs with borders and inlays, prefinished floors might not be the best fit for you. You'll be extremely limited by what can actually be executed.

Prefinished floors can also create height variations that pose problems during installation. When wood flooring is finished on-site, it is sanded evenly first before it is sealed. If you opt for prefinished wood flooring, however, there will be a bit of a height difference between the planks, right at the joints. It isn't often visible, but if you run your fingers across, you can feel this contrast.

Whether you decide on prefinished wood flooring or opt for finishing the wood yourself, it's important to place area rugs in high-traffic areas. You can also prevent scratches by not wearing athletic cleats or high heels in the house.

This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Murphy® Oil Soap. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.