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What is unfinished hardwood?

Unfinished hardwood has not gone through any finishing processes, so there are no lacquers, coloring stains, or a protective layer on them. These products come in various species, widths, and grades. When you order unfinished hardwood, you will receive the raw material. Unfinished flooring is the canvas that allows full customization down to each individual plank.

Types of unfinished hardwood

Unfinished hardwood comes with a lot of possibilities because you are free to choose your stains, coloring treatments, lacquers, as well as the protective layer that you want on your floor. You are also able to mix grades and widths before applying the finish.Finishes applied to hardwood protect them from stains, wear and tear, as well as moisture. While it takes a bit more effort and time to finish the hardwood, the customized results that perfectly match your interior will be rewarding. Thanks to the sanding process, the floors are highly uniform and stable. Another key benefit of unfinished hardwood is that it allows for better uniformity of seal and finish by filling in the empty spaces and cracks formed due to minutely uneven flooring planks.

White Oak Unfinished Hardwood Flooring

Oak - in particular white oak - is a popular unfinished hardwood flooring option. The natural color is inviting and appealing, but many people choose this option because it is easy to stain and color. If you are looking to stain the floor, this is a good option because it can absorb virtually any color. Oak is also a good investment as hardwood floors will add to your home’s resale value.

However, this type of wood can be prone to scrapes, so make sure to place pads on the bottoms of any chairs or furniture that you may move across the floor. Also, oak doesn’t hold mold, which can be beneficial for allergy sufferers. White oak’s Janka rating is 1350.

Red Oak Unfinished Hardwood Flooring

Red oak unfinished hardwood offers a more rustic look and feel. The Janka scale, which is from 0 to 4,000, rates red oak at 1,290, which makes it an easily workable flooring that is ideal for being treated with stains, lacquers, and protective sealants.

Hard Maple Unfinished Hardwood Flooring

Maple has a light tan color that can blend seamlessly with many interior spaces. With the various types of maple, including silver maple and hard maple, you will be able to find the perfect species for your space. Maple is a great option for high traffic areas because it is one of the strongest woods available. This hardwood option also requires minimal maintenance and will last for many years. After you have colored and/or sealed your floors, all you need to do to keep them clean is weekly sweeping and annual applications of wood soap to prolong the floor’s life. Maple’s Janka rating is 1450.

Hickory Unfinished Hardwood Flooring

With a Janka rating of 1820, hickory is a very hard residential wood. While hickory is often chosen for its aesthetic appeal and strength, it can be harder to work with due to its density. When opting for hickory, be prepared to spend a bit of extra time on the cutting, sanding, and finishing efforts. However, the pros of hickory unfinished hardwood outweigh the cons, with many professional installers choosing this option for their installations.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How to install unfinished hardwood

Opting for unfinished hardwood can save you money - if you know what you are doing. Finishes applied to hardwood protect them from stains, wear and tear, as well as moisture, so be sure to purchase the correct finishes before you get started. Improper finishing and installation can lead to buckling and warping, which will shorten the lifespan of your floors. The most important thing to do is make sure that you properly prepare the floors before you install them. Here are some articles to help you:

Finished vs Unfinished hardwood

There are a few key differences to keep in mind when deciding between finished and unfinished hardwood floors:

  • Can you sand and finish the flooring yourself? Remember that unfinished hardwood isn’t pretreated, so you will need to do the finishing yourself.
  • Do you need to use the floors immediately? With prefinished hardwood, you can walk on the floors immediately. Unfinished hardwood, however, may require a waiting period depending on the finishes you use. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s specifications before you get started.
  • Will people be using the space shortly after the installation? After applying oil-based polyurethane, there will be vapors from the resins and solvents. With prefinished floors, there will be fewer Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which have been shown to be carcinogenic. If you are treating your floors, it is best to keep people out of the space for a few days following the installation.
  • Do you want to save on costs? Treating your floors yourself can save you money. Compare the cost of the pretreated hardwood floor that you want with the unfinished flooring to see how much you will save.
  • Do you want a customizable option? The main benefit of unfinished flooring is that you can choose your own finishes. If you want a specific color, stain, or finish, this is a great option for a truly unique finish.