Site Finished or Pre-finished?

ShangeAugust 5, 2013

Due to a recent water damage incident in our home, we're about to choose new flooring for our main level. This will be the third floor we've had to pick.

The first, prefinished solid Brazillian Teak, didn't like our house and came a loose. The second was an engineered prefinished floor. It felt thin under foot. It never came apart, but because the previous floor had been thicker solid wood, the thinnish engineered floor made all the door jambs "high waters." With every doorway 1/2 inch above the floor. Gag!

So now, we have to begin again. Which is best? Pre-finished solid or site finished? Site finished is the only flavor we've never had. Every flooring retailer I interview says pre-finished solid can be refinished, and that there's not much difference between site-finished and pre-finished. But I can't afford to make a mistake...again.

Can pre-finished really be refinished someday? Will potential buyers run away if they know the floor is pre-finished? I know laminate is a bad word, but is the "p" work bad as well?

I do not plan to stay in this Monster House much longer (max 5 years)...the money-sucking Headquarters of Hell that it is. But I do need to make a decision soon.

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You are using two terms which have widely varying material/installations procedures.

Site finished is only done with conventional solid wood flooring---tongue and groove, at least 3/4" thick, and installed by nailing/stapling. Then the entire surface is sanded, dust removed, stain(if desired) applied, and at least three coats of finish applied. The entire process takes at least 5 days and can take a couple weeks. The surface is one solid covering, but has to cure for several days to a month or more for normal use.

Prefinished is just as it sounds, finish applied at the factory. It is thinner, is installed as a floating slab(some varieties can be nailed/stapled or glued in place) and is ready to use (unless glued) as soon as it is installed. But, there are seams that have no finish, allowing moisture/dirt access.

The finish on prefinished flooring is usually more durable and harder than site finished.

Costs depend of labor(the extra for sanding/etc) versus the cost of material(prefinished is usually much more expensive) and the time to use factors.

Since I installed my own site finished flooring(bought a repossession) and had a month to fix/remodel before moving in, I wanted the security of a floor that would not be damaged by moisture---we have dogs and grandchildren---and be easily cleaned.

To install site finished flooring in an entire house being occupied would be very interrupting. The rooms have to be completely clear and cannot be used during the finishing process and for at least a day or two afterwards. Then most finishes require a curing time to safely install furniture.

You could do a room or two at a time---but that would add to labor/installation charges(unless you DIY)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 11:43AM
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