Hardwood flooring creates a warm, inviting home. Whether you choose traditional hardwood or engineered flooring, you have an option for prefinished flooring styles that offer a variety of advantages for your home.
Hardwood flooring is usually installed as planks that are unfinished. After the flooring is installed, the planks are stained with the chosen color and finished with a protective sealer. Over the past few years, flooring manufacturers have introduced a variety of prefinished hardwood flooring styles that come completely finished prior to installation. Unfinished and prefinished hardwood floors offer a stylish appearance that adds beauty to any space, but there are significant differences between them. Before purchasing a new floor, you should understand the pros and cons of each type.
Solid Hardwood Flooring
Solid hardwood planks are fairly easy to install, but they will require an adequate plywood subfloor rather than a concrete base. Since solid planks are thicker and heavier, their weight must be sufficiently supported. Because of the natural expansion and contraction of hardwood, a plywood subfloor allows the wood to move and breath without damage.
* Durability – Solid hardwood floors are extremely durable. With proper maintenance they will last a lifetime without replacement.
* Strength – Solid wood floors are very strong, so they stand up to normal wear-and-tear in any home environment.
* Refinishing – Because solid wood flooring is much thicker than prefinished flooring, it can easily be sanded and refinished if damaged.
Prefinished Wood Flooring
Prefinished wood flooring comes in both hardwood and engineered styles, but engineered flooring lacks some of the advantages of solid hardwood. Since engineered planks are significantly thinner, they are not as durable over time.
* Durability – When stains and finishes are applied at the factory, finished treatments are much stronger than on-site treatments. Most site-applied finishes have three to five year warranties, while factory-applied treatments often have warranties up to 25 years.
* Strength – Although prefinished floors lack the strength of solid hardwood floors, they hold up well under normal household conditions.
* Refinishing – Due to a strong chemical topcoat, refinishing prefinished floors requires heavy sanding. This reduces the thickness of the planks and limits the number of times the floor can be refinished.