+Pluses

  • Most durable finish coat
  • No Odor
  • No sanding or finishing required
  • Immediate use

-Minuses

  • Limitations on customization
  • Typically has a small bevel/reveal on all four sides of each plank
  • Fewer range of colors and species
  • Typically available in only a few sheen options

Prefinished, or factory-finished wood flooring, rising greatly in popularity here in Chicago, can come in strip, plank or parquet squares that are 5/16” to ¾” in thickness. As the name implies, the finish is applied at the factory, which translates into no sanding dust, no fumes from the finish, and immediate use. With these benefits, it’s no wonder that prefinished flooring has become increasingly popular.

Most durable finish coat

The aluminum oxide coating applied at the factory is more durable than polyurethane applied on site. The factory allows a precise control of the environment that not only insures consistency, but also controls the potential health hazards associated with the application of a metal oxide finish.

The result is a floor with a finish coat likely to last up to two times longer than a floor finished on site.

Like all solid wood flooring, prefinished wood can be refinished. What many won’t tell you, however, is that rejuvenating a factory-finished floor can be tricky and more expensive. The same super-tough coat that protected the flooring during its useful life suddenly becomes a barrier to a flawless refinish. To prepare the surface for a new coat of polyurethane will often take additional sanding and preparation steps.  Mr. Floor has developed specialized sanding and finishing techniques to deal handle these types of floors.

Prefinished flooring installation

Prefinished hardwood flooring is fast, but not always easy to install. Obviously, the time required for installation is greatly reduced by the elimination of onsite sanding, staining and coating. Once prefinished flooring is installed, furniture can be moved back into the room immediately and there is virtually no dust to clean up.

Dust notwithstanding, sanding an unfinished floor does have unique benefits. Any small bumps or imperfections in the subfloor can be masked or eliminated during the floor sanding process. With prefinished flooring these imperfections might be noticeable in the form of slight differences in the height or fit of the slats.

To mask this possibility, manufacturers of prefinished floors often cut the edges of the slats and planks with a slight bevel. These “eased edges” as there are known in the industry create a small groove that hides minute differences in the height of each board. (photo)

Installers also have to be very careful how they work with prefinished wood flooring.  Working at half the speed to line up the planks as carefully as possible makes a Prefinished floor installation a bit more tedious than that of an unfinished floor.

Prefinished floor species, color and design options

Today, there are hundreds of different species and color combinations available for prefinished wood flooring. As long as you’re not trying to perfectly match the grain and hue of an existing floor, you’re likely going to find the aesthetic you want in a prefinished floor.  Mr. Floor now even has the ability to offer a custom stained prefinished floor option.  Let us show you how we do this.

 
By Igor Murokh

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