Unfinished hardwood flooring is a popular choice in Canadian homes. But what does ‘unfinished’ mean?
In simple terms, the flooring is sanded, stained, and sealed after installation, although some homeowners prefer to keep it unfinished even then. Unfinished hardwood is distinguished from prefinished flooring.
Unfinished Hardwood Flooring vs. Prefinished Hardwood Flooring
There are many differences between unfinished and prefinished hardwood flooring.
Unfinished hardwood flooring has no finish while prefinished hardwood flooring comes with a factory-applied finish.
Unfinished hardwood boards are flat; hence, when joined, they create a flush and consistent-looking surface. On the other hand, prefinished hardwood has bevelled edges to hide the inconsistencies between boards
3) Use After Installation
After installing unfinished flooring, the planks should be sanded, stained, and sealed before being used. Prefinished flooring is ready for use after installation.
4) Cure Time
Unfinished hardwood flooring needs time to cure after it’s finished, so furniture can only be moved in after this cure time is done. Finished hardwood flooring can immediately handle your furniture.
5) Finishing Options
Unfinished flooring comes with endless finishing options.
What Are the Advantages of Unfinished Hardwood Flooring?
Unfinished hardwood flooring has many advantages over prefinished flooring.
1) Maximum Customization
Unfinished hardwood flooring allows you to customize your flooring. It is basically raw wood – like a clean slate – which makes it extremely flexible in terms of finishing.
If you have an idea how you want your floors to look, it may be almost impossible to find the exact look in prefinished hardwood. With unfinished hardwood flooring, you can match your floor to your existing interiors.
2) Less Complication
Unfinished floors remove the conflict between new and old finish layers since they are raw wood. You can apply any finish without having to worry about the new coat beading up and not adhering. However, you should still test any stains or finishes to check if they are to your liking.
3) Showcasing the Natural Look
Unfinished hardwood flooring showcases the wood’s natural look. For a rustic look, use wide planks of reclaimed wood. For a truly customized look, use site-sanded unfinished flooring with multiple edge profiles instead of prefinished flooring’s standard micro-bevelled edges. Bevelled edges are hard to keep clean since they catch more dirt than uniformly smooth site-sanded floors. With unfinished flooring, it is also easy to achieve minimalistic finishes using oils to show off the floor’s grains and natural beauty.
Installation of Unfinished Hardwood Flooring
Prefinished hardwood flooring is easier to install than unfinished flooring. The professional installer can simply cut the length of the prefinished flooring, nail it in place, and your floor is ready to be used.
Installing unfinished flooring is easy; it is what comes after that is not. Finishing unfinished flooring is a lengthy process as it has to be sanded down, stained, and sealed. And it is this extensive finishing process that makes homeowners lean more towards prefinished hardwood flooring.
Finishing Unfinished Hardwood Flooring
Once unfinished flooring is installed, the finish is applied. However, some homeowners keep it as it is to allow it to absorb oil and get its own texture. Although this gives unfinished hardwood flooring a nice patina, it can damage your flooring and show undesired stains. Also, unfinished hardwood flooring is difficult to clean and requires extensive maintenance.
Finishing unfinished flooring is time-consuming and labour intensive. The floor should be sanded until smooth with higher-grit paper and then thoroughly cleaned of all dust and debris. The floor should then be meticulously stained and treated to get the desired colour. Lastly, it should be allowed to dry completely before being sealed.
If you have the time and money to get unfinished hardwood flooring, there is no better option. But always request a quote before you set your mind on getting unfinished flooring. And learn how to keep it clean and maintained.