Due to its beauty, versatility, and durability, flooring has become a popular choice for the home. If you’re thinking about having hardwood floors installed in your home, you’ll discover two basic alternatives: finished and unfinished. While finished hardwood flooring is more common, there are some circumstances when unfinished hardwood floors are more desirable. Learn more about the advantages of unfinished hardwood flooring to see if it’s the right option for you.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of unfinished hardwood floors over the finished style is that unfinished wood offers many attractive ways you can customize your floors. Since working with unfinished flooring is basically like working with a piece of raw wood, it’s like having a clean slate, and you can do anything you want to it.
If you’re going for a certain style or look in your home, unfinished wood makes it easy to get exactly the appearance you want. When you select unfinished floors, you can customize them with colors and stains that perfectly suit your interior decor. Often, these colors aren’t available in finished floor products, so you’ll get to enjoy a unique look when you opt for unfinished hardwood floors and finish them yourself.
If you’re interested in a one-of-a-kind look for your floor, you can ask the installer about inlays, borders, and other custom features that simply aren’t possible with flooring that’s finished at the factory. Since unfinished hardwood floors are sanded on-site, it’s also possible to customize your floors with different edge profiles. For example, you can ask for a smoother edge that’s easier to keep clean than the micro-beveled edge that comes with most factory-finished floors.
Unfinished flooring also comes in a wider variety of wood species. This is ideal if you’re installing new floors in your dining room and either want something exotic or want them to match the existing floors in your living room. If you’re interested in an uncommon plank size, you might only be able to find it by selecting unfinished hardwood.
Unlike finished hardwood floors, unfinished hardwood floors offer outstanding flexibility during the installation process. You can install the floor at any time you want. You can even wait until everything else in the house is finished before installing the floors. Plus, if you’re trying to make your new floors match existing flooring or other features inside your home, selecting on-site hardwood finishing makes it easier to get that coordination.
If you want the most flexibility possible when installing floors in any area of your home, you need to turn to hardwood. For example, since solid hardwood isn’t recommended for below-grade applications, such as in basements, many homeowners turn to engineered hardwood floors instead. This is because hardwood can handle changes in moisture level and humidity. Of course, finished hardwood flooring only has select stains and colors available. To get the look you really want, you need to choose unfinished hardwood.
Unfinished hardwood has another advantage if keeping your floors clean is a top priority. Since traditional hardwood flooring is finished at the factory, installers don’t apply a sealing agent to the seams between the planks when they put in the floor.
This lack of sealing agent can make it easier for dirt and other debris to get caught in the seams. Open seams are also susceptible to water penetration, which can cause mold to grow beneath the surface and permanently damage your floor. However, when you finish your floors on-site, you can get this sealing agent applied to the entire floor.
The Color Options Are Endless
With unfinished hardwood, you can change the look of the floor by applying a stain finish before you seal the wood. This gives you the opportunity to use colors that you can’t find in finished wood products, and your color options are almost endless. Along with traditional stain colors, you can also combine stains to create a truly distinctive look. You’ll also find an impressive range of finishes available, including matte, semi-gloss, and high-gloss.
When you get finished wood directly from the manufacturer, the stain and finish are already applied, so you can’t change the color if it isn’t what you were expecting. However, since the staining on unfinished hardwood is happening in your home, you can adjust as you go. Did the stain look darker in the store but now that it’s in your home it’s too light? You can easily add another coat or go with an entirely different color on the same floor.
It’s Cheaper Than Finished Hardwood… Usually
Another advantage that unfinished hardwood floors have over finished floors is that they’re usually cheaper. If you’re working with a tight budget, you’ll appreciate these savings. Of course, you do have to keep in mind that while the product itself is typically cheaper, you’ll need to consider installation and finishing costs when you’re calculating your budget for flooring.
Natural Wood Look
Though you have a large choice of colors, you can also choose to go with no stain at all when you select unfinished hardwood floors. This is an ideal way to go if you’re trying to get a more natural look in your home. In this case, you simply leave the natural wood as it is and then finish it.
You then get to enjoy the simple and pure beauty of the wood without any unnatural colors or stains. When you install unfinished hardwood in your home and finish it after installation, you’ll help preserve the natural characteristics and elegance of the wood.
If you’re considering hardwood flooring for your home and can’t decide between a finished or unfinished style, you now know the several advantages that unfinished floors offer. To enjoy the most control over the appearance of your floors, you may want to select unfinished hardwood floors.