Unfinished Hardwood Flooring VS. Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

Have you been walking around your local home improvement store or flooring store looking for your next hardwood floors? While perusing through the aisles, you may come across pre-finished and unfinished floors. But aren’t they both hardwood? What is the difference between the two? Which one is better? Get all your answers here. 

What’s the Difference Between Pre-finished & Unfinished?

As you may have guessed from the name, that pre-finished floors are floors that come finished, while unfinished floors have no finishing. Prefinished floors are finished before installation. They are sanded, stained, and coated with polyurethane in a factory. Unfinished floors are raw hardwood that has been cut into planks, but must first be installed and then sanded and refinished on site

What are the Pre-Finished Pros & Cons?

Here are the pros and cons of pre-finished floors:


  • Ready for Immediate Use
  • Fewer VOCs
  • No Dust
  • Quick Installation
  • Nearly Flawless Finish
  • Lower Cost After Installation
  • Walk on Floors Immediately After Installation


  • Higher Manufacturer Costs
  • Limitation of Widths, Lengths, Colors, Grain, and Other Common Customer Preferences
  • Durability of the Finish Makes It Difficult to Remove These Surface Layers If You Ever Want to Refinish in the Future
  • Have Bevels

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What are the Unfinished Pros & Cons?

Here are the pros and cons of unfinished floors:


  • No Bevels
  • Offers Great Choices for Stains
  • Great for Spaces Under Construction or Renovation
  • Easier Ability to Resand and Refinish
  • Add Inlays Making Them Perfectly Flush with the Rest of the Floor
  • Ultimate Customization
  • Lower Manufacturer Costs
  • Easier to Clean
  • Retains Natural Characteristics


  • Long Installation Times
  • Higher After Installation Costs
  • Cannot Walk or Move Furniture After Installation
  • Dust

What Should I Go With?

The option you go with truly depends on what you want and what you need. If you want something fast, easy and cheap, then go with pre-finished floors. If you desire customizable floors that are easy to clean, then go with unfinished floors. There are no right or wrong answers. For even further help, Valor Home Services has your back. We have been in the flooring industry for over 25 years. Let’s get the floors of your dreams — all you need to do is call