Because prefinished hardwood floors come from the factory after they have been sanded and sealed, the entire process of installation takes a little time. Apart from being ready to walk on immediately after installation, there are no odors and volatile organic compounds from finishing prefinished hardwood floors on-site.
Unfinished hardwood flooring makes an excellent option if you would like to match the color of your existing flooring or apply a custom stain before the final finish. After installing and staining hardwood floors, the surface is covered with several coats of protective finish. Unfinished flooring is also a good choice if you want to add wood flooring in your kitchen since the finish penetrates and seals the seams between boards, working to prevent water from seeping into the space between boards.
Engineered or solid wood floors?
Engineered wood flooring is actually a veneer of real wood glued to a few layers of wood underneath such as like plywood. This construction gives engineered wood an excellent level of stability over time, making it an ideal choice for any area of a home including below-grade basements. You can only sand and refinish engineered hardwood flooring either once or twice during its lifetime depending on the thickness of the wood veneer.
Solid wood flooring is all wood and available in two options, 5/8 and 3/4 inches in thickness. Being solid wood, you can sand and refinish this type of floor over and over. Unfortunately, solid wood flooring is susceptible to changes in humidity. As such, this option is not recommended for below-grade basements.
What hardwood species is best?
Readily available and very hard species of wood such as oak, maple, and cherry make the best hardwood floors. Walnut, ash, mahogany and bamboo are some of the other wood species that make good floors. While you will most likely pay a premium price for the more exotic species such as Jarrah, mesquite, and teak, checking to ensure the type you opt for comes from sustainably harvested forests is important.
Reclaimed hardwood flooring is another option, and you can find this kind at salvage yards. Although reclaimed wood usually has signs of wear and age, you will most likely pay about half the price a new floor would cost. As such, reclaimed hardwood floor is an excellent choice if you are renovating an older house. If you would like to learn more, visit Fuse Flooring for additional resources.