Unfinished VS Prefinished: Which Flooring Is Best for Your Customers?

By Ben Nystrom, 05/25/12

If every job were the same, it would be easy to answer this question once and for all. Unfortunately, every installation has its individual quirks. For some, prefinished hardwood flooring will be the answer, while for others, unfinished exotic hardwood flooring will be best for the job.

That said, since each product has its pros and cons, we can look at the job and figure out which style is going to be the best fit based on a few basic criteria. They are:

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If the clients are on a tight budget, the higher labor costs associated with finishing an unfinished floor on-site may give them pause. Choose prefinished flooring for these situations; any extra cost for the prefinished hardwood flooring will be more than offset by the savings in on-site labor.


If the client wants a very specific look and finish, or if the job requires matching the look and feel of existing wood finishes, it’s likely that unfinished flooring product will better suit the job. Unfinished flooring is available in more sizes and varieties, and can be custom-stained and finished to almost any imaginable specification.


Because it won’t be sanded level, prefinished hardwood flooring requires a subfloor that’s perfectly flat to avoid unevenness in the final floor surface. In a situation where that perfect subfloor can’t be achieved, choose an unfinished solution — you can sand it level after it’s installed.


Prefinished hardwood flooring tends to resist variations in temperature and humidity better than its unfinished exotic hardwood flooring counterparts. If extremes in weather are going to be part of the floor’s life, a prefinished product may fill the bill.

Of course, a single blog post can only scratch the surface of this age-old question. Contact Nova USA today speak with a flooring representative that can delve more deeply into the details and help you make the right choice.

By Ben Nystrom, 05/25/12


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