Hardwood flooring is an extraordinarily popular choice among homeowners in Hillsborough, Flemington, Princeton who are looking for a luxurious, versatile, and durable type of flooring. If you’re considering upgrading to a hardwood floor in your home, one of the many choices you get to make is between pre-finished and unfinished hardwood. To help get you started, our experts at Floor Coverings International® of Hillsborough have put together a short guide comparing some of the differences.

Unfinished hardwood in Hillsborough.

Style Options

In addition to offering a choice of seemingly every species of wood, one of the biggest advantages of unfinished hardwood flooring is that the stain can be mixed to match your existing décor. This is a definite plus for homeowners who want to seamlessly blend the color of their new floor with their current one or those who are simply committed to landing a very specific look.

If you’re looking for a textured floor, though, you may want to go with a pre-finished hardwood. Both solid and engineered varieties are offered with hand-scraped, distressed, and wire-brushed textures, saving you time and money during installation.


As you might expect, the most significant difference between pre-finished and unfinished hardwood is the installation process.

Finishing a hardwood floor in Hillsborough. While unfinished hardwood floors are gorgeous when they’re completely finished, there are some potential inconveniences along the way. One is that it’s a messy and smelly process. Even though every effort is made to reduce the mess, some dust from sanding is inevitable, as is the chemical smell from the stain and polyurethane top-coat. Of course, our team of experts at Floor Coverings International® of Hillsborough will take care of all of this for you.

Another thing to consider is the installation time. While it typically takes a few days from when the first plank is nailed or stapled to when the last layer of top-coat is applied, the floor still needs to cure for several days after the process is complete before it’s safe to move furniture into the floor.

Pre-finished hardwood flooring is made specifically to reduce the level of inconvenience by doing the majority of the “dirty” work off-site. Engineered hardwood is particularly quick to install, and can go below-grade and over concrete subfloors.

All that being said, unfinished hardwood does have one advantage as a result of the way it is installed. Because it’s sanded after all the planks are in place, adjoining planks tend to sit more level than pre-finished planks. While this may seem like a relatively small detail, it could potentially make a big difference in homes with high levels of foot traffic or on floors with a high-gloss finish.

Get Help from Your Hardwood Flooring Experts!

Selecting the perfect hardwood floor can be challenging. Our staff at Floor Coverings International® of Hillsborough are hardwood flooring experts, proudly serving Hillsborough, Flemington, Princeton, and the surrounding areas. We would love the chance to save you a little time and effort. Call or schedule a free, in-home design consultation today!

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