Hardwood flooring is undeniably attractive and is a very desirable material when buying, appraising, or selling a property. Those looking to upgrade their existing floors to hardwood will find that there are many options to consider in their purchase. Pre-finished hardwood flooring is one of the newer trends. Its unique characteristics make it a perfect fit for some and a tight squeeze for others.
The Pre-Finished Hardwood Flooring Difference
Pre-finished hardwood flooring is much like any other hardwood with a few exceptions. Each pre-finished board comes finished from the factory; they also are generally beveled on either two or all sides. They are available in many of the same widths and lengths as traditional hardwood, though longer boards are harder to find and more expensive.
Traditional vs. Pre-Finished Flooring
The biggest difference between traditional and pre-finished hardwood flooring is in the purchase and installation. Once the floor is done, the two are very similar in appearance and maintenance.
The purchase price of pre-finished flooring is higher than that of traditional hardwood. On the other hand, labor costs will be much lower when using pre-finished boards, as they can be installed very quickly. Since they come sealed straight from the manufacturer, the floor is ready to go right after it is put in; after conventional hardwood is installed, it still needs to be sealed (which takes time and labor).
Those looking to match an existing hardwood floor should definitely use traditional hardwood. It can be very difficult to match pre-finished wood with wood that is already present. If you are trying to replace part of a floor or if you want cohesion between a new floor and an old one, traditional hardwood is the way to go.
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Species and Grades of Pre-finished Hardwood Flooring
Like conventional hardwood, pre-finished boards are available made from different species of tree and come in different grades, as well. Price plays an important role here; those looking for exotic wood for their floors will find that it is cheaper and easier to find these rare species unfinished.
The available grades of pre-finished flooring are the same as those that apply to traditional hardwood. Lower grades will have more color variation; higher grades will look more uniform and contain fewer knots. Higher grade boards are also generally accompanied by a longer warranty. Once again, however, there is likely to be a noticeable price difference between pre-finished and traditional boards of the same grade.
Hardwood Floor Cleaners
If a hardwood floor cleaner is made for polyurethane finished floors, it can be used on pre-finished hardwood flooring. Not every hardwood floor cleaner is made for this sealant, however, as older wood floors were sealed with wax. These waxed floors require a significant amount of attention and are cleaned and polished using different techniques and chemicals.
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