While unfinished wood floors have been around for over 100 years, their popularity waned a bit due to the emergence of prefinished floors. However, unfinished floors still have a place in the wood floor market and are definitely the right choice for certain people.
Unfinished wood flooring has not gone through any sanding, staining, buffing, or coating.
This means that unfinished wood flooring takes a lot more time to install than prefinished floors. You will have to finished the installation process by sanding the floors, staining the floors, buffing the floors, and finally coating the floors. This is true for both residential and commercial jobs. Anyone who has participated in these steps knows just how much work they are.
This is definitely the biggest drawback of hardwood flooring when comparing it to is prefinished wood flooring counterpart.
But, there are many advantages to choosing unfinished hardwood floors. There is definitely a sense of pride and satisfaction for many installers after they finish the unfinished flooring. They made the floors look beautiful, all by themselves.
If you are into DIY projects and can commit the time to learn about unfinished floors and how to best install and finish them, they be a great choice for your flooring project.
One of the greatest advantages of choosing unfinished wood flooring is it gives you complete control of the color and shine your floors have. You can decide exactly how dark you want them. You can decide if you want a more matte or a shinier finish. The bottom line is you are in control of how your floors look when you choose unfinished flooring.
There are instances where you have to choose unfinished flooring. A reason for this may include matching an existing floor with a new floor.
Trying to find a prefinished hardwood floor that exactly matches what you already have may be an impossible task. The grain or the finish or even the color can be downright difficult to get close to. Unfinished wood flooring allows you to perfectly mirror the colors, grain, and the finish to perfectly match what you already have.
The last marked benefit of unfinished wood flooring is their inherent stability. They will be more stable than prefinished wood floors because of the sanding that takes place on site rather than in a factory.
While this is not a huge factor in most residential projects, it is definitely something to consider if you are choosing the flooring for a larger commercial space. Especially one that has to accommodate a lot of foot traffic. Unfinished wood flooring has the ability to handle this type of traffic better than prefinished wood floors, something you will definitely notice over time.
A lot of unfinished wood flooring has been made from trees that are domesticated such as oak. If you are looking for flooring that needs a little shine, red and white oak are a great choice due to their grain and vibrant color.
But, you do not have to be limited by choosing oak. Interestingly, unfinished hardwood flooring actually has a very wide variety of tree species, much more than prefinished flooring. This is another pro for unfinished flooring versus prefinished.
The bottom line is if you want floors that can be completely customizable with increased stability, and are willing to sacrifice installation time, then unfinished wood flooring may be your best option.
It is worth noting that the installation process of unfinished wood flooring is a more expensive option due to the increased time, cleanup, and necessity of specific tools.