When it comes to making a house feel like home, few interior surfaces compare to the look of hardwood flooring. Whereas its inclusion in a house design was a sign of luxury before the 1980s, today one can find this type of floor in homes at various price points thanks to technology and available supply. Wood flooring is available in various configurations, styles and prices in most flooring retailers. It is generally sold as either unfinished, pre-finished or engineered. It’s important to understand the difference between each type and see which one works best for your situation.
The Old Faithful
Before the 80’s, unfinished was the type of hardwood flooring available for residential use. It was sold in various woods and dimensions. Typically, this flooring was offered in a tongue and groove design. It was installed first and then sanded, stained and lacquered. This was a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that came at a high premium.
A New Hope
Pre-finished hardwood floors are the type found in most homes with wood flooring. Instead of finishing the wood after installation, these floors are sanded and finished by machinery after being cut into tongue and groove. The finishing process is faster and more efficient being completed by machines instead of human hands. Pre-finished wood floors are less expensive than unfinished floors, making them a competitive alternative to other interior flooring.
The Latest Groove
Engineered hardwood refers to particle board covered with a veneer made from your preferred hardwood. It is pre-finished and usually available in flooring stores. The unique advantage of engineered hardwood flooring is that it can withstand environments that are generally cooler and more moist than unfinished and pre-finished options. Engineered hardwood is a great choice for basements, bathrooms and kitchens. Prices fluctuate based on supply and demand.
Your particular situation will determine the type of floor you should choose. If cost is the biggest factor, pre-finished hardwood may be the best choice. If you’re a fan of the classic look, unfinished hardwood flooring will fit the bill. If you want the look of wood floors in rooms where moisture can accumulate, consider engineered hardwood floors.