Wood floors have been around for hundreds of years. In the 1600s they really started to gain popularity. Since then, the wood floor industry has tried to make them as easy to install as possible. Interestingly, before wood floors were mass produced, they needed to be finished after installation.
In the late 1850s, wood floors began being sold as prefinished. They made the task of hardwood floor installation much simpler and user-friendly.
The hardwood floor industry wondered if unfinished floors had become passé. However, the divide between purchasing unfinished floors and prefinished floors became quite pronounced. Even today, years later, there is a battle between the two types of flooring.
The main benefit of purchasing prefinished hardwood floors over unfinished floors is clearly efficiency.
Installation of prefinished floors is much faster and easier than unfinished floors. This is because unfinished floors require the same amount of installation time, but have a couple of additional steps; sanding and finishing. These steps take quite a bit of time and can create a huge mess.
Installation of wood floors is relatively simple. But, the sanding, buffing, and finishing is the more difficult part. It takes a lot of equipment and may even require you to vacate your home for some time.
The benefit of choosing unfinished wood flooring is increased stability. However, this benefit cannot be felt in most homes.
For homeowners, prefinished wood flooring seems like the obvious choice. This is because there is no marked advantage for unfinished wood flooring in the typical home. You will, however, experience the benefits of prefinished flooring such as the time to install and the mess that accompanies unfinished wood floors.
The only reason unfinished wood flooring makes more sense is if you have to match an existing wood floor and you cannot find the right finish on the prefinished floor. Or, if you are absolutely set on getting unfinished flooring for an increased stability.
Even the new DIYer has the ability to install prefinished wood floors. It requires no experience or know-how.
On the other hand, unfinished wood flooring takes a lot more skill. It also requires many more tools and a preciseness that makes it difficult to do for the average person. It is definitely possible to install unfinished floors yourself, however, it is not for the faint of heart.
Both prefinished and unfinished wood flooring wear great and have are a low maintenance flooring. Prefinished wood floors do have a slightly shorter lifespan because of the lack of sanding. But they can easily be refinished with a pigment and polish that will make them look as good as new.
Prefinished wood flooring is an excellent choice for the average homeowner. It is a beautiful, comfortable, and stable option for any home. However, if you are more interested in lifespan and stability, you may be better off going with unfinished.