Monday, November 17, 2008

Differences between Engineered, Pre-finished, and Unfinished Hardwood Flooring

Traditionally Hardwood flooring has been viewed as the crème de la crème of flooring. Until the 1980’s if you had hardwood flooring, to a certain extent you were considered wealthy. Times change as does technology and this either brings prices down or up depending on the supply and demand of a product. In todays times, hardwood flooring can be found almost in every retail flooring store around.

Hardwood flooring is generally sold in only a couple varieties. Unfinished Hardwood, Pre-finished Hardwood, Engineered Hardwood.

Unfinished is the traditional product which was bought in a couple different woods, widths, and lengths. The tongue and groove design was laid and then sanded to get a smooth and even texture on the surface of the wood. Once the wood was sanded, it was then stained and lacquered which traditionally consumed a lot of labor. Time equals money and in the pre 80’s this was a very expensive process.

Pre finished has been on the market for many years now and is the most commonly used hardwood in homes. This flooring is unique where right after the manufacture cuts the tongue and groove, it sends the wood through the finishing sander and then to the spray booth where all pieces are finished. The time consuming labor processes involved in the sanding and staining/lacquered unfinished hardwood have bee replaced by machines which can produce at a higher level of efficiency than the human hand. The installation of the pre-finished hardwood flooring is a 1-2-3 step process. This flooring makes prices competitive with other flooring alternatives.

Engineered Hardwood is the newest product on the market and is becoming more popular. This product is unique where it is made from a new form of particle board with a veneer layer of your choice of hardwood on the top. This is then pre-finished and sold in stores. The unique aspect of this engineered hardwood is that it can be installed in basements and cooler/more moist environments where the pre-finished and unfinished hardwood cannot. Prices are slightly higher on the engineered hardwood but may come down as supply rises.

In conclusion, choosing which of the three to put on your floor depends on the look you are going for. Each product will give you a slightly different look in your home. If you needs are driven by economy, there is a lot of pre-finished hardwood flooring options on the market. If you are driven by the traditional look, unfinished hardwood flooring is a good option. But if you are driven by technology and flexibility, then Engineered hardwood is your best choice.

Ryan Neumann has online information and buyers guide websites that help consumers make wiser choices when shoping online. This particular website can be visited at

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