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Pre-Finished vs Unfinished Flooring - Texture
by Olde Wood

Pre-Finished vs Unfinished Flooring - Texture

What does pre-finishing mean for the texture of your floor?

If you're installing wood plank flooring, there are many factors to consider when deciding whether to finish your hardwood floor on-site or order it pre-finished. there are many factors to consider. One of the tricky factors that plays into the decision is texture. Sometimes it doesn't matter at all. Sometimes it matters a lot. Let's take a look.

When It Doesn't Matter

If you want your floor to have a smooth surface, or to have a mild texture such as wire-brushing or hand-scraping, then you will be able to order your floor prefinished or have it finished on-site and achieve similar textures. This makes texture a non-factor in the decision making process.

When It Does Matter

Texture becomes a deciding factor for your floor if you are trying to achieve a rustic texture with your floor. If you want a floor with a rough-sawn texture or original face texture then you absolutely should not order a prefinished floor. Prefinishing a floor that you want to have an aggressive texture will eliminate almost all of the desired texture.

Take a look at these photos. Both of these floors are Antique Hit Skip Oak. The floor on the right was ordered unfinished, and finished on site. The floor on the left was pre-finished. Quite a difference.

Why Is This?

The hardwood refinishing process is a very streamlined and mechanized operation. Because of this, a very constant and uniform surface is required for the pre-finish to adhere properly. This means that any aggressive texture in the floor must be planed down almost completely. This can drastically change the look and feel of what would otherwise have been a floor with substantial texture.

The Takeway

If you're after a smooth floor, then texture isn't going to determine whether or not you should order pre-finished or unfinished.

If you're after a floor with a mild texture, then you probably can go either way, but be sure to double check with your design specialist.

If you're after a floor with an aggressive texture, then steer clear of pre-finishing.