Choosing the perfect flooring for your home can be a complex task, with a plethora of options available on the market. Among the variety of choices, real wood flooring stands out for its timeless elegance and lasting durability. However, another decision awaits you in this category – should you opt for prefinished or unfinished wood flooring? This blog post will delve into the world of unfinished wood flooring, elucidating its potential benefits and pitfalls.
What is Unfinished Wood Flooring?
Unfinished wood flooring, as the name suggests, is a type of wood flooring that is sold without a final topcoat finish. It is raw wood that allows you to apply your own finish post-installation or leave raw. This option provides flexibility in customisation onsite or anytime in the future and offers a unique opportunity to create a bespoke finish that perfectly suits your home decor.
Benefits of Unfinished Wood Flooring
There are several benefits of choosing unfinished wood flooring over prefinished options.
One of the greatest advantages of unfinished wood flooring is the freedom it offers in terms of finish. You might have a specific vision for your floors that a seller might not offer. In this case, the unfinished variety allows you to bring your ideas to fruition. Opting for this option means you are not limited to the seller’s choice.
Unfinished wood flooring is often available at a lower price point than its prefinished counterpart. If you’re willing to put in a little extra work later on, you can save a considerable sum. of course, if you decide to keep the floors bare, you have saved even more.
Uncertainty of Choice
If you are still uncertain about the finish that best suits your style, choosing unfinished wood flooring allows you the flexibility to decide at a later stage.
Protection During Building Work
For those still undergoing building work and concerned about potential damage to newly installed flooring, unfinished wood is a smart choice. Any scrapes or damages incurred can be addressed when you apply the final finish.
If you’re seeking a rustic, natural aesthetic, the raw, unfinished look of the wood can be a design feature in itself. This is perfect for spaces where showcasing the real look and feel of the wood is preferred.
Prefinished vs Unfinished Wood Flooring
While unfinished wood flooring does offer a wealth of benefits, it’s essential to consider its counterpart – prefinished wood flooring.
Prefinished floors are faster to install as they come already sanded, stained, and coated with protective layers. This means you can immediately enjoy your new floor once it’s installed, without waiting for finishes to cure. Moreover, prefinished floors often come with factory-applied finishes that are stronger and more durable than finishes applied on-site.
Comparison of Prefinished and Unfinished Wood Flooring
|Cost||Often higher||Often lower|
|Durability of Finish||High (factory applied)||Varies (site applied)|
|On-Site Work||Minimal||More involved|
Your Choice of Finish
If you’ve chosen to take delivery of unfinished wood flooring, you have a number of finishes at your disposal. Here’s a look at some popular options.
An oiled finish penetrates the wood and hardens to form a protective and decorative surface. This type of finish enhances the natural beauty of the wood.
Lacquer provides a solid, hard finish that forms a protective coat on the surface of the wood. It is often more resistant to wear and tear as it sits on the surface and does not penetrate like oil and wax finishes.
Varnish forms a hard, transparent film on the surface of the wood. It provides a glossy look and enhances the grain of the wood.
Wax finishes penetrate the wood, providing a softer, satin finish. This finish brings out the character of the wood and offers a vintage look.
How to Care For Unfinished Wood Flooring
Even though it might be tempting to leave your wood flooring unfinished to enjoy its natural aesthetics, it requires a different care regimen compared to prefinished wood flooring. Unfinished wood can be more susceptible to stains, scratches, and water damage. Hence, regular sweeping and immediate cleaning of spills is critical. Avoid using water or steam mops as they can damage the wood. Instead, use specific wood cleaning products for best results.
The decision between unfinished and prefinished wood flooring is subjective and largely depends on individual circumstances, aesthetic preferences, and practical considerations. While there’s no definitive right or wrong, it’s essential to understand that prefinished floors tend to be easier to care for. However, if customisation and uniqueness are your primary concerns, unfinished wood flooring may be your ideal choice.
What is the primary difference between prefinished and unfinished wood flooring?
Prefinished wood flooring comes already sanded, stained, and coated with protective layers, offering quicker installation and immediate use. Unfinished wood flooring, on the other hand, is raw wood sold without a final topcoat finish. It offers you the freedom to apply your chosen finish after installation, providing customization opportunities.
What are the benefits of unfinished wood flooring?
Unfinished wood flooring offers several benefits such as cost-effectiveness, the ability to apply a bespoke finish post-installation, flexibility for those still undecided about their desired finish, and the provision to address potential damage incurred during ongoing building work.
What are the differences in durability between factory-applied and site-applied wood flooring finishes?
Factory-applied finishes, as used in prefinished wood flooring, are often stronger and more durable than finishes applied on-site, such as those used in unfinished wood flooring. The controlled factory conditions allow for a more durable application, which could result in a longer-lasting finish.
How should I care for my unfinished wood flooring?
Unfinished wood flooring requires regular sweeping and immediate cleaning of spills to prevent damage. Avoid using water or steam mops, which can damage the wood. Instead, use specific wood cleaning products.
Why is unfinished wood flooring a good choice during ongoing building work?
Unfinished wood flooring is a good choice during ongoing building work because it allows for potential damages that may occur during the work to be addressed when applying the final finish. This means that any scrapes, scratches, or other minor damages can be repaired or concealed with the finishing process, maintaining the aesthetic quality of your floor.