Wood Flooring – Pre-finished Versus Unfinished

Up until recently, the majority of wood flooring sales were unfinished. But now, more pre-finished is sold. This is partly due to the fact that pre-finished is cheaper because it does not require as much labor during installation. Also, the pre-finished has a more durable finish than the unfinished, so it is better for high traffic areas.

Pre-finished flooring has several coats of a protective surface finish, which is applied at the factory. Because you do not have to sand and finish the flooring once it goes down, you do not have the dust, noise or fumes.

Unfinished flooring is put down and finished on site. You do have the advantages of choosing a larger range of colors, stains and finishes. Also, unfinished is available in more widths and wood types and it can be matched very easily to existing wood floors. You will, however, have dust from the sanding, fumes of the staining and a big mess.

Personally, when we put hardwood floors in our home, we opted for the pre-finished. We already had wood in the foyer and the diningroom. The picture below was taken while the pre-finished wood was being installed.

The wood that is horizontal at the top of the picture was already in the house. It was unfinished when it was installed and finished at the site. I think even though we put down pre-finished, they match up well.

The Jenka Hardness Scale for Hardwood Flooring

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The hardness scale is important because the hardness of the wood is an important aspect when shopping for hardwood floors for your home. One way to determine the hardness of the different types of wood is by using this.

This scale has been around for a long time and was designed to measure the hardness of any wood. This helps you to determine the durability and quality of the wood, which in turn helps you make the best possible choice of hardwood flooring for your home.

Here is how the hardness test works. It measures the force needed for a .444-inch steel ball to embed itself to half its diameter in the hardwood. The hardness of the wood species is conveyed numerically as the pounds per square inch (PSI) of pressure required to put the ball into the hardwood. So, the higher the number, the harder the wood.

It is the industry standard for judging the ability of various hardwood flooring to withstand denting and wear. It also determines the effort required to either nail or saw that particular wood, so it also helps determine whether the hardwood is suitable for flooring.

It is interesting that the hardness of the wood is not just checked on the topside of the wood. It is checked on the bottom side and the ends as well. The reason for this is the wood species with grain will vary in thickness.

The benchmark, or the reference the industry uses for hardness, is the Red Oak flooring. It has a Janka rating of 1290.

Dave Altman

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