unfinished hardwood floors Raleigh, NCHardwood has long held its place as a favorite flooring option in homes across the Cary and Raleigh area. Its classic beauty and warmth brings a look and feel to a home that’s hard to achieve with other types of flooring. When choosing a hardwood floor, one option you’ll have is whether you want prefinished or unfinished wood. Here we’ll focus on unfinished hardwood flooring and how it compares to its alternative, prefinished hardwood.

What Does “Unfinished” Mean?

If you opt for unfinished wood floors, that means the wood will be sanded and stained on-site at your home. Alternatively, prefinished wood is finished by the manufacturer in the factory setting and comes ready to install. Like with anything, there are both benefits and drawbacks to using unfinished hardwood for your floors, which we will explore below.


One of the most attractive things about unfinished hardwood flooring is the flexibility it allows for aesthetic customization. The contractor can work with you to achieve a specific look of the wood, which is why unfinished wood is preferred if you are trying to match the new floors to existing ones. Another benefit is that you can achieve a more even surface and smaller gaps between planks because they won’t have factory-made bevels on the sides. However, they are generally very small and often unnoticeable. This type of hardwood is made available in many different wood species, including the popular red oak unfinished hardwood flooring.


When it comes to the drawbacks of unfinished hardwood flooring, inconvenience might be the number one thing people mention. The process takes much longer than it would if you installed prefinished wood because the final steps of sanding and staining are done on-site. You also have to wait for the floors to fully dry and cure before you can walk on them or put furniture on them, which can take days to weeks. Although unfinished wood allows for more customization, prefinished wood generally results in more uniformity between planks because it eliminates the possibility of human error. This can be a benefit or a drawback depending on the look you prefer.

When it comes to choosing whether unfinished or prefinished wood is best for your Cary or Raleigh area home, it really comes down to personal preference and your specific needs. If you want to achieve a specific look and can spare having the process take longer, unfinished hardwood might be your best choice. If you value convenience and a quick installation process, prefinished wood might be better. Whatever you choose, Floor Coverings International of Raleigh is here to help. Call us today to schedule your free in-home consultation!


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Photo: © Carlos andre Santos