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Solid Hardwood Floors: Unfinished Vs. Pre-Finished

December 20, 2023

Solid Unfinished Hardwood Flooring:


  1. Customization: Unfinished hardwood allows for on-site finishing, giving you the flexibility to choose the stain and finish that best suits your preferences and existing decor.
  2. Seamless Appearance: Since the finishing process is done on-site, there is a better chance of achieving a more uniform and seamless appearance across the entire floor.
  3. Repairability: Unfinished floors can be sanded and refinished multiple times over the years, making it easier to repair scratches, dents, or other damage.
  4. Smooth Surface: Because the finishing is done on-site, there is the potential for a smoother and more even surface compared to prefinished flooring.


  1. Installation Time: Unfinished hardwood flooring requires sanding and finishing on-site, which can extend the installation time compared to prefinished flooring.
  2. Dust and Odor: Sanding on-site can produce dust and odors, requiring additional cleanup and potentially causing inconvenience during the installation process. (Lakeside Hardwood Floors has DUSTLESS Sanding Available!)
  3. Inconvenience: The finishing process means that you can’t use the floor immediately after installation, as the finish needs time to cure properly.
  4. Labor Costs: On-site finishing may result in higher labor costs compared to prefinished flooring, as it requires skilled professionals.

Prefinished Hardwood Flooring:


  1. Time-Saving Installation: Prefinished hardwood flooring comes already sanded and finished, significantly reducing the installation time compared to unfinished hardwood.
  2. Cleaner Installation: Since there is no on-site sanding and finishing, there is less dust, odor, and disruption during the installation process.
  3. Immediate Use: Prefinished floors are ready for use immediately after installation, as there is no need to wait for finishes to cure.
  4. Consistency: Prefinished floors often have a more consistent appearance across the entire floor since they are finished in a controlled factory environment.


  1. Limited Customization: The color and finish options are limited to what is available from the manufacturer. If you have a specific color or finish in mind, prefinished options may not provide the customization you desire.
  2. Less Repairability: Prefinished floors typically have a thinner wear layer, limiting the number of times they can be sanded and refinished over their lifespan.
  3. Micro Bevels: Some prefinished floors have micro-beveled edges, which can create slight grooves between planks. This may not be desirable for those seeking a completely smooth floor.
  4. Cost: While the upfront cost of prefinished flooring may be lower, it may not be the most cost-effective option in the long run if the floor needs to be replaced sooner due to limited refinishing capabilities.

Ultimately, the choice between solid unfinished and prefinished hardwood flooring depends on your preferences, timeline, and budget. If customization and the ability to refinish multiple times are priorities, unfinished hardwood might be the better choice. If you prioritize convenience and a quicker installation process, prefinished hardwood may be the way to go.