How to Decide Between Unfinished Hardwood Flooring and Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

hardwood flooring prefinished and unfinish

Few things are as exciting as installing new hardwood floors in a home. New floors help to create a crisp, fresh look that will be enjoyed for many years to come. Unfortunately, we can't just snap our fingers and wake up to new floors in our homes in an instant. The process of getting new floors actually takes quite a bit of planning, preparation and decision making. The style of flooring you choose is important. You will be walking on these floors and looking at them for a long time. Don't be hasty about choosing what you want just because you feel rushed or you want to cut costs. The reality is that there are good options for every taste and every budget if you know how to shop for new wood flooring. There is one big decision that you will need to make pretty early on in the process of shopping for new wood floors. You must choose between unfinished and prefinished hardwood floors. Which option is right for your home? Both styles come with their own perks. It all depends on what your goals are when it comes to your flooring project. Are you ready to finally make a decision between prefinished floors and unfinished floors and get the ball rolling on your renovation project? Take a few minutes to learn all about choosing between unfinished and prefinished wood floors. 

A Closer Look at Prefinished Wood Floors 
Prefinished floors are floors that come with a factory finish when you purchase them. This can be a great option if you're pressed for time or if you simply aren't all that handy. Prefinished floors definitely require less work during installation. What's more, you will know exactly what the final product will look like because you will be able to see how the finish looks when browsing samples of wood flooring. You will also get to see what the finish looks like once the wood arrives at your home and the installation process begins. 

Prefinished floors come with some serious perks. This option is actually more resistant to scratches than unfinished styles. What's more, the finish is going to last longer because it was applied using a factory process. Of course, most people appreciate the fact that prefinished floors are so much cleaner to install than unfinished options that will require quite a few extra steps. 

There really has never been a better time to choose prefinished flooring if you're about to install new floors in your home. There are endless colors to choose from when selecting new wood floors. It's easy to find rich, dark shades that will look striking against the lighter accents throughout your home. In addition, you will find pale and white woods that create an airy, modern look in any space. Many people are perfectly comfortable with the idea of adding new wood floors to a room that don't necessarily match the existing hardwood floors in other rooms of a house. In fact, this is actually becoming a trend as more and more designers use the technique of giving each room its own unique personality. That means that you can really have a lot of fun playing around with styles that stray from the norm. In addition to playing around with color, you can also experiment with wider widths if you're trying to create a space that stands apart from the rest of a home. 

A Closer Look at Unfinished Wood Floors 
Unfinished wood floors are ideal for people who don't mind getting their hands dirty and putting in the extra time to create a custom look. Just how much more work is truly required when purchasing unfinished hardwood floors? Unfinished floors do not come with the factory finish that prefinished floors come with. That means that there are several steps that must be taken before this style of flooring can be installed. These steps include nailing, sanding and refinishing. All of these steps must be done onsite after flooring has been delivered. It’s also important to keep in mind that you will need to live with the odor of wood stain and other finishing products if you choose to add color to your unfinished wood floors once they have been delivered to your home. Some people simply do not have an amount of space or a lifestyle that makes this option feasible. While unfinished flooring does come with some extra responsibility, it also delivers some great perks. 

Why do some people choose unfinished hardwood flooring? This option offers a chance to create a floor that is truly customized. Having raw wood delivered allows you to pick the finishing color that you want. You can even create a custom color. This can be useful if you're trying to match your new hardwood floors to existing wood that's already in your home. Unfinished flooring is also typically a lot less expensive to purchase than finished options. You could save quite a bit of money when choosing raw wood over finished wood. However, it is important to remember that you must factor in the cost of finish, the cost of any tools needed for the finishing process and the value of your time when it comes to getting a true cost estimate for unfinished wood. Be sure to add up all costs if you want to make a true apples-to-apples comparison between prefinished and unfinished wood floors. 

How to Choose Between Prefinished and Unfinished Wood 
Are you ready to make a decision between prefinished and unfinished wood? You might be leaning toward one or the other based on your level of handiness, your goals for your project and your budget. Here's a quick checklist of reasons why prefinished wood may be the ideal choice for you: 

  • You're on a tight deadline for a renovation project.
  • You don't need to match your new wood floors to existing wood inside your home.
  • You don't consider yourself to be handy.
  • You don't want to make a mess.
  • You value long-lasting, durable color.
  • You'd like to avoid fumes, nails and other elements of construction at your home.

You may find that the items on that checklist don't necessarily apply. That may mean that unfinished flooring is a better candidate for your needs. Here's a quick checklist of reasons why unfinished wood may be the ideal choice for you: 

  • You like to customize projects.
  • You're on a tight budget.
  • You have plenty of time to get a project done.
  • You need to match your new floors to existing wood in your home.
  • You consider yourself to be pretty handy.
  • You don't mind making a mess when needed.
  • You're having trouble finding a finished flooring product that's exactly the shade you want.


Pinning down exactly what your needs and preferences are can help to make the process of choosing the right type of flooring much easier. It's important to be honest with yourself regarding your true budget for both time and money before making a decision. Can you really handle the steps involved with finishing wood floors? Do you need your floors to be done in time before a move-in date or a special event that you plan to host? Knowing where you stand will ensure that you can properly plan your project and arrange a seamless, well-organized installation process. 

Why Quality Always Matters When Choosing New Hardwood Floors 
The bottom line is that quality is important regardless of which style of hardwood flooring you decide to go with. Your floors will help to define the look of your home and determine its value for many years to come. That's why you should never cut corners when it comes to sourcing high-quality, durable wood floors. You might see unfinished wood products offered for extremely low prices by some vendors. It's important to do your research about what is being sold. Some non-reputable vendors sell products that are of low quality and leave out key details about what exactly they are selling. Always do your research and ask questions before agreeing to purchase wood flooring. This also applies when buying finished wood flooring products. You need to make sure that the wood flooring you’re buying has been legally and ethically sourced. It should meet all compliance standards and regulations.