This type of hardwood flooring is solid wood flooring. It’s also known as manufacturer-finished, solid hardwood flooring. Prefinished floors are milled, then texturized or sanded flat, colored, and finished at the factory. Manufacturers prefinish a variety of wood species, from Red Oak to Maple to Brazilian Cherry and everything between.
There are a few reasons why manufacturers offer prefinished hardwood flooring to their customers.
- First, convenience.
It’s quicker to simply install a prefinished product than it is to install raw materials and then sand and finish the floor. The important thing to keep in mind is that when a product is prefinished, the installer must take great care with assembly. Think of someone asking to build a table out of raw wood vs. already finished material. The carpenter is going to be much more careful while finishing the product, because touch-ups with custom colors and finishes can be very challenging.
- Second, durability.
Manufacturers contend that their hardwood flooring materials are coated with more layers of finish and that many have additives such as aluminum oxide or ceramic to increase the durability of the finished product. Here again, be cautious: those layers of finish are spread much more thin than a site-finished wood floor finish would be applied. In reality, according to National Wood Flooring Association’s finish training, a wood floor prefinished by a manufacturer and a wood floor finished with three coats of polyurethane by a contractor have approximately the same wear layer of finish: a 3 mm build.
Things to be aware of with a prefinished hardwood floor:
- First, proper subfloor preparation must still be followed. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s installation instructions and warranty for the floor.
- Second, if you’re interested in hardwood stair treads, manufacturers do not create those for the prefinished floor you’re considering purchasing. You’ll have to get them customized by a wood floor contractor to match.
- Third, sanding and finishing a prefinished solid hardwood floor is typically more expensive and labor-intensive than refinishing a site finished wood floor. Why? Because of the beveled edges that must be sanded flat between each board so that the new stain and/or finish will adhere to the sanded product. Also, the aluminum oxide and other finish additives are more challenging to remove.
- Fourth, those beveled edges are dirt, dust, debris, and pet hair traps! Even micro-beveled edges can be a cleaning nightmare.While prefinished floors are a great hardwood flooring option to consider, it definitely helps to get the opinion of an expert. Scheduling a discovery call with our Nationally Certified Wood Floor Sales Advisor can help you make the best decision for your lifestyle and design aesthetics.