Is pre-finished hardwood flooring or non-pre-finished hardwood flooring preferable?

Q: Is pre-finished hardwood flooring or non-pre-finished hardwood flooring preferable? Is one better than the other is some way, if a person has the choice? I know one needs a lot of prep work and finish work… but other than the ease of installment.. if that were not a problem, or if price were not a problem.. which would be the best: prefinished vs unfinished hardwood floors?

A: I prefer site finished which has square edges rather than beveled, with several coats of finish over the entire floor rather than just on each individual plank. The beveled edges exist on pre-finished because the floor is not flat. These edges, along with the lack of flatness and the abrasion resistant aluminum oxide coatings make this a difficult floor to buff and re-coat down the road. It would probably mean a complete sanding, which will be more expensive since the bevels will now have to be sanded off. With site finished your choice of color is almost unlimited, which isn’t the case for pre-finished. I get into this more here.

Away from the factory finished floors to site finished

Q: What are your impressions of the D***** hardwood flooring products at **** *****?

A: I like that it isn’t from China. I haven’t used their product and in general, try to direct people away from the factory finished floors to site finished. As small as the bevels are now, I still don’t like the bevels, which will become an issue eventually regardless of whose product you install.

I prefer to buy my hardwood from hardwood dealerships that specialize in just that.

Follow-up Q: Why are bevels a concern? I have been seriously considering Mirage and Gaylord from Tweed Ontario. This is becoming a confusing process.

A: Bevels become an issue eventually because every floor, sooner or later will require another coat of finish from surface wear. Not only are aluminum oxide coatings abrasion resistant (making it near impossible to abrade the coating sufficiently to gain adhesion, but what do you do with the bevels? Buff each one individually? A micro bevel floor which requires sanding would have to be sanded 6 times which is twice the work and near twice the cost of a square edge, site finished floor. Mirage is one of the better prefinished as far as milling is concerned but I have noticed in recent years they are including a lot more short boards in their boxes. The bevel issue applies to their product also.

Follow-up Q: We are having an unbelievable time trying to figure out this whole hardwood situation. Would a Gaylord (from Tweed Ontario) prefinished product be a good bet? They are quite popular down this way.

A: What exactly is it you are having a hard time with? I personally don’t like pre-finished flooring although they do offer convenience and in some cases could last years before they need any serious attention. I think you need to deal more directly with the manufacturer or the distributor you are thinking of purchasing from. Have a list of questions about the product. Do some research. Request a few sample boards.