Hardwood Flooring - Prefinished or Site Finished
Tuesday, August 21, 2018 10:18 PM
Hardwood Flooring: Pre-Finished or Site Finished?
There are some distinct advantages that both prefinished and site finished hardwood flooring offer consumers looking to install new flooring. And if you’re going to make an investment in a beautiful floor that could last a lifetime and more, you’ll want to know the differences before you buy.
Here’s what you should keep in mind when it comes to choosing between the two.
By far, the finishes on prefinished floors are superior to those that are applied on site. There’s simply no way a site finished floor can compete when it comes to performance and quality of finishes with one that is applied in the controlled environment of a factory, that is light cured and completely ready to install right out of the box.
Many prefinished floors also offer special treatments – like water resistance – that cannot be found on site finished hardwood flooring. There are surfaces water resistant treatments that can be applied, but they’re not as effective as those infused directly into the product’s core. Engineered wood floors can mitigate some of the effects of moisture on flooring, but only if spills remain on the surface and are not allowed to sit too long.
When it comes to styling, prefinished hardwood also has some advantages. Hand scraping and distressing when done on site is an expensive, messy and lengthy process that will depend on the skill level of your flooring contractor. In a factory setting, not only do you find operators more experienced at this type of labor-intensive work, but you have a quality control process in place to inspect each board that cannot be replicated so easily or cost effectively when done onsite.
All that said, there are times when a site finished floor is the right answer.
Site Finished Hardwood
The main advantage of a site finished floor is the design flexibility it offers. You can choose the stain, the hardwood grade, and the best customized designs are most often site finished.
The best flooring contractors often specialize in site finished flooring and are often the most skilled ones. A master mechanic, as they are called, has years of training, a variety of techniques and a deep understanding of specialized projects to make a site finished floor something truly special and unique.
But onsite finishing is messy and disruptive and will require several days before you can get back to normal living. While installation times are comparable between site and prefinished flooring, you have to account for all the additional steps that an onsite finished floor requires – staining, the application of several coats of the wear layer (and the extended drying times between each), and any additional customization required.
Prefinished flooring is ready to walk on once it is fully installed – no waiting time required.
The MyBeautifulFloor choice: Unless you’re installing an intricate custom designed floor involving laser or water jet cuts with different stains and species, prefinished is definitely the way to go.