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  • Ellie Keller

The Difference Between Site Finished and Prefinished Hardwood Floors

An important thing to consider when purchasing hardwood flooring is if you want a site finished or a prefinished floor. In this post we’ll talk about the pros and cons of each to help you make your decision.

Site finished floors involve a longer and more intensive process. Raw wood (wood with no sealer or finish on it) is delivered and installed on top of your subfloor. The wood is then sanded and coated with the finish of your choosing inside of your home. Depending on the type of finish you choose, you’ll have to wait up to 24 hours before walking on your floor or moving furniture back into the space. The biggest benefit of a site finished floor is that it creates a completely smooth floor with no micro bevels for dirt to get into. These floors also tend to last the longest, are easier to refinish in the future, and offer nearly unlimited options on wood species, grade, board width, stain colors, and sheens.

Prefinished hardwood floors are sanded and finished in a factory before being shipped to your home. These floors require no sanding inside of the home and can be walked on immediately after installation. These floors also tend to be a less expensive option. There are a few cons to consider before making your final decision, though. The first is that prefinished floors are not completely smooth after installation. There will be micro-bevels along every plank that have the potential to trap grime and dirt. Another is that prefinished floors tend to be more difficult to refinish in the future. You may be charged more per square foot for your refinishing job since sanders will need to cut through the hard factory finish and level out those micro-bevels between planks.  The last potential con to consider is that there is no customization to prefinished flooring. Your choices are limited to the colors and finishes provided by the factory.

To sum up, site-finished flooring is highly customizable but is a more time consuming and invasive process. Prefinished flooring is convenient and less expensive but has limited options and more potential for grime build up between planks. Both types of hardwood floors are beautiful and can last for many years with proper care.

Still unsure which type of flooring you’d prefer? Call our office at 360-671-9663 for more information or stop by our showroom at 2100 Grant St to see the difference in person!

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