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Unfinished flooring is that which is only treated after it has been installed on site, whereas prefinished flooring is pre-coated in the factory. While both of these products can provide attractive and durable finishes, there are some differences between them that should be noted.
If property owners have existing wooden flooring in some parts of their homes and they would like new wooden flooring to be the closest match possible, they would do well to make use of unfinished flooring. The unfinished flooring can then be stained and treated in such a way that the end result would match existing floors in the house. There are also more options available in hardwood flooring, such as the length of floorboards, various wood species or wider than average boards.
One of the main disadvantages of unfinished flooring is that its finishing process can take days or even weeks, leaving a home under layers of dust during this time. Many polyurethane products that are used to finish flooring contain high levels of VOCs, which can be harmful when inhaled. Once treated, it can take a few days for unfinished flooring to dry to the point where it can be walked on, which can be inconvenient. The end result of unfinished floors may not always look as perfect as that of finished flooring and it can be more expensive than prefinished floors.
When convenience and the cost of installation are among the main motivating factors, prefinished flooring can be the best option. There is a lot less mess to content with when having this type of flooring installed because the coating has been applied to the flooring at the factory. This provides you with a more uniform and smooth finish on your floors and you are able to walk on them immediately after installation is completed. In many cases, prefinished floors are the more durable option, with some companies offering up to 40 year warranties on their products.
In some cases, seams on prefinished floors can be more vulnerable to water diffusion and having dirt caught between the seams or joints, which can make them more difficult to clean. Although the coatings applied to prefinished floors are more durable than that which is used on unfinished flooring, they will require refinishing after a few years. This will be a more labor intensive task than that of re-sealing standard flooring because a deeper level of sanding will be required to get down to the bare surface, which will result in higher labor costs being incurred.
With each of these flooring types having advantages and drawbacks, it is difficult to determine whether one is better than the other. As a result, your end choice can simply be based on personal preference as well as your budget. This will ensure that you are able to get the right flooring for your home at the best possible prices.