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There are several advantages to choosing unfinished hardwood floors:
Unfinished hardwood floors are boards that are installed in their raw state. After the installation, the floor is then sanded smooth on-site, stained (if desired), and finished with a protective sealant. This process is done within the specific environment of your home or business.
Some of the advantages of choosing unfinished hardwood floors include:
Customization: Unfinished hardwood floors offer unlimited customization options. Since the staining and finishing occur on-site, you have complete control over the color, finish, and even the level of glossiness. This allows for a greater range of design possibilities.
Uniform and Smooth Surface: Because unfinished hardwood floors are sanded after installation, the floor becomes perfectly flat and smooth. Any minor height differences between the boards are eliminated, creating a seamless, uniform surface.
Matching Existing Flooring: If you’re trying to match or extend existing hardwood flooring, unfinished hardwood allows for a better match. The new flooring can be sanded, stained, and finished to match the existing floor as closely as possible.
Easier to Refinish: When unfinished hardwood floors need to be refinished, the process can be simpler because you don’t have to deal with removing the factory-applied finish as with prefinished hardwood.
Better for Certain Installations: If you’re installing hardwood in a pattern (like a herringbone or parquet pattern), unfinished wood is often preferable because the sanding process will smooth out any differences in height after the complex installation.
Seamless Integration: When the floor is finished on site, the sealant goes into the seams between the boards, which can prevent water or spills from seeping into the cracks.
As always, the best choice depends on your particular needs and circumstances. Unfinished hardwood may require more time and effort to install, but it also offers a level of customization and flexibility that prefinished floors cannot match.
While unfinished hardwood floors come with many advantages, there are also a few potential disadvantages to consider:
Installation and Finishing Time: Unfinished hardwood floors require more time to install because the wood needs to be sanded, stained, and sealed on-site. Each of these steps involves waiting time for drying and curing.
Dust and Fumes: The process of sanding, staining, and sealing can generate dust and strong fumes, which might be inconvenient or even problematic for those with respiratory issues or allergies.
Inconvenience: Since the finishing process happens in your home, the room or area where the flooring is being installed will be off-limits until the finish is completely dry. This can be inconvenient, especially for larger or more disruptive projects.
Professional Assistance: While it’s possible to DIY install prefinished hardwood, the process of sanding and finishing unfinished hardwood is more complex and typically requires a professional, which can add to the cost.
Upfront Cost: While unfinished hardwood can be cheaper per square foot, the costs of sanding, finishing, and the potential need for professional installation can increase the overall price.