pre-finished vs site-finished floor

lexmomof3November 2, 2012

What are the pros and cons of pre-finished vs site-finished floors? Our last house had site finished red oak but builder suggests pre-finished floors in the new house. I assume oak is the least expensive. Is that correct? I liked our oak floors but would like a medium brown color floor and I'm not sure I like the way oak looks when stained. Any suggestions for a medium brown floor and what are your thoughts on pre-finished vs site-finished?

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Prefinished in my opinion has only one pro. Install it then your done. You can move back in right away.

List of cons is vastly larger.
- If your sub floor is un even it can translate into the wood unless you properly prep the sub floor
-doing a buff n coat is difficult(adhesion problems)
-the finish is not any better
-micro bevels(not really a con if you like the look. I dont)
-a pain to sand down if you decide.
-damage a board and you need to replace the board cant sand it unless you get a pro but that can be tricky to match stain and finish

Site finished can dirty and the wait time inbetween coats but all the pre finished cons could be site finished pros

Your builder doesnt offer site finished for two reasons.
Either he hasnt found a decent company to do it. Or he doesnt want to deal with it.

Oak generally is cheapest. But some times you can find deals on maple.
Maple stained if done properly looks really cool. But if you want a dark natural colored wood walnut works although its softer than oak or maple. Or for more money you could go exotic and get cumuru or Ipe or many others.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 12:14AM
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Generally pre-finished floors finish is much superior to site finished. There are drawbacks such as refinishing and replacing sections do to accidents but it sure is more convenient to install..

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 3:40PM
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Pre finished floors finish is more superior??? You havent seen too many floors then. This past year alone ive dealt with over 75 people complain that the finish isnt what they expected. It scratches it dents it wears just like any other finish. It is not a superior finish. It about even with your average site finishes.
The 30 year garuntee you see on the boxes at the store or in advertisements are misleading.

Im all for prefinished floors if you decide having the sanding and finishing is too big of a hassel but you shouldnt decide prefinished based on lies or misleading information.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 3:52PM
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Gregmills, How about maintaining a modicum of decency on this forum. Calling people liars and Assuming they don't know what their talking about should be left at the bar where you may have just come from.
I have laid hundreds of floors and have some idea of what I'm talking about. Pre-finished floors have dozens of coats put on in ideal situations with Aluminum oxide added for a superior, yes, superior finish. Disagree if you wish but don't be disagreeable

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 4:28PM
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"Aluminum oxide added for a superior, yes, superior finish."

The aluminum oxide loaded finishes are not going to perform any better than the binder they are using to glue the material together and down with.

It is advertising puffery.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 5:12PM
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A factory finish, with a dozen coats under superb conditions with Aluminum oxide and UV hardened is a superior finish to site finished floors. Don't take my word for it, do your homework. You will find most people in the trade agree.
I've been a remodeler for 35 years and I know what holds up and what doesn't. I've sanded down pre finished and it is twice the work of site finished.
People in the trade have no advantage in using "advertising puffery"

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 5:34PM
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Dozens of coats? The standard is around 7. For someone whos laid "hundreds" of floors maybe you should take a monent and read the box. And have you ever read the warranty info? Essentially once you walk on it the warranty is void. (Exageration yes but not by far)

Theres nothing wrong with prefinished wood. Just its for people who dont want the sanding and on site finishing or for those who dont have the skill to sand and finish correctly.

People who dont do their homework and see big words in big letters saying "50 YEAR" , "ALUMINUM OXIDE" they get stooped into believing its superior to everything else.

If it was as superior as you claim every flooring contractor would be using it instead of water bourne and poly urethanes.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 11:28PM
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I just caught that. So because I called you out on your ill informed opinion you resort to calling me an alcoholic?

Not everyone in the trade is a drinker or drug addict. Most us are hard working folk who take pride in the skill of sanding and finishing.

And you say you have been remodeling for 35 yrs? Great! I would never think that because you have a bad opinion that you must be an alcoholic. I wouldnt stoop so low as to assume anything about you.

You have done hundreds of floors. Ive done 3000+ floors.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 12:03AM
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Uh...he also called you a liar.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 1:23AM
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We sell sand and finish solutions and prefinished products and lots of wood in general. I will not get into the emotionally charged disputes on this thread as its just not proper. I will say, that if you ask anyone that sands and finishes you will get a biased opinion and rightfully so. If you ask a retailer that only sells prefinished, you will also get a biased opinion. There are many pros for both sides and some cons for both also. We at times give demonstrations that are amazing. If a consumer wants pros and me with concerns and expectations and I will gladly give an unbiased opinion as to the directions they should explore. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 2:15AM
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Gregmills, If you had started out decent you would have been treated decently.

Most installers and most websites that deal with flooring and websites like "This Old House" will all concur with what I said. There are pros and cons for both but for durability pre-finished is best.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 7:19AM
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