Is It Better to Get Prefinished Hardwood Floors?

Unfinished hardwood flooring was the most common type of hardwood for quite a long time. People used to buy unfinished hardwood and had it stained and finished at their home.  

Recently, this has changed because more and more people have come to like the idea of having ready-made prefinished hardwood rather than doing the hard job at home. All one has to do is have it installed, and that’s it! 

While this way sounds easier and quicker than the former, some people still feel skeptical about it, not knowing if it’s actually better. Continue reading for a comparison between the prefinished and unfinished hardwood floors. 

Prefinished Hardwood Flooring vs. Unfinished Hardwood Flooring 

Each of the prefinished and unfinished hardwood floorings has its pros and cons. And what’s a better way to make an informed decision on which one to buy than to learn all about their advantages and disadvantages? Here we go!

Advantages of Prefinished Hardwood Floor

Ease of installation 

Installing prefinished hardwood flooring is pretty straightforward and doesn’t require a skill. It’s also very quickly done since workers just install it. Unlike unfinished hardwood, this type is already coated in a factory and won’t be sanded at your home. As a result, you won’t be exposed to the toxic smells you would otherwise smell while installing unfinished wood. PS. Are wood floors easy to maintain?  Click here to read more about it.

More Healthy and Less Expensive 

As mentioned above, installing prefinished hardwood is healthier since it doesn’t cause any toxic smells, making it perfect for houses with children, pets, and people with allergies. Moreover, it costs less to install, which is a huge plus.  


It makes sense to say that the finishing that a factory applies is stronger and of higher quality than a finish that a contractor applies on site. Factories use a strengthener that they apply using a UV-curing technology, which makes the finish very durable. Further, you get a manufacturer warranty. 

What’s more, such finishing is abrasion-resistant and does not have any dust or brush hair. Plus, it will probably last for decades before it needs refinishing. On the other hand, unfinished hardwood will need refinishing after five years maximum. 

Natural Color and Texture 

In addition to all the above, prefinished hardwood is very transparent, which means that it preserves the natural color and look of wood. Moreover, it’s available in various colors and styles.

Ready Once Installed 

Once you have your prefinished hardwood flooring installed, you can walk on it all you want without any restrictions. This, of course, works well in household renovations. 

Disadvantages of Prefinished Hardwood Floor


While it’s true that prefinished hardwood is less likely to need any repair, you must know that it’s hard to repair it when it’s damaged. While you can easily sand down the damaged part with natural hardwood, you must sand off the whole section’s seal and have it refinished with a prefinished hardwood floor. 


When the hardwood is finished in the factory, the planks’ seams don’t have a sealing agent. As a result, they tend to collect dirt. Moreover, they provide room for water to slip into them and allow mold to grow. To prevent this from happening, make sure that they are installed correctly. 


While you won’t need to have your flooring refinished frequently, it’s essential to know that refinishing prefinished hardwood flooring is difficult. 

The sealant is very thick and penetrates deep down into the wood, so when you remove it, you’ll have to remove a huge layer of the wood as well. This means that the floor will get thinner every time you refinish it, which puts a limit to the number of times you can do this process.  

Advantages of Unfinished Hardwood Floor 

Even and Stable 

Having unfinished floors means that you get to have them finished on site. As a result, the seams will be filled, allowing for an even floor. Plus, there won’t be any cracks, so mold won’t be able to grow and accumulate between the seams. 

Freedom of Choice 

Unfinished floors give you the ability and freedom to create the color and look you want. It’s a better option if you’re still styling your home and want to give the floor a look of your choice. You can also stain the wood with any color you choose, giving it a natural look that goes with your home style. 

Disadvantages of Unfinished Hardwood Floor

Requires Time to Cure 

Unlike prefinished hardwood flooring, installing unfinished hardwood needs time to cure and dry before you can walk on it. This doesn’t make it very practical if you’re installing it in a house that you already live in. 

Smelly odors 

Unfinished hardwood flooring produces awful and toxic smells, which is not something you want to be exposed to. It’ll also be dangerous for your family and pets. 

Less Durable 

Having the wood finished at home makes it less durable than having it finished in a factory because hand-made finishes are undoubtedly less durable and lasts less than machine-made ones. 

Final Thoughts 

Now that you’ve read the article and know all about the cons and pros of prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring, we hope you’ve got the answer you were looking for.

There’s isn’t a right or wrong answer here because it’s all a matter of preference. For example, if you want to have the ability to choose the color, style, and color of wood’s stain, go for unfinished floors. 

However, you’ll have to wait for quite some time before you’re able to walk on it. Moreover, you’ll have to ensure that no one is in the house while it’s finished.

On the other hand, prefinished wood is more practical and less expensive, so it’s the easier choice to make. You can see it once installed, and you won’t have to smell any harmful odors. Moreover, it’s more durable and requires little maintenance every few decades.