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Wood is a porous material that absorbs heat, moisture, and dirt. Therefore, it has to be sealed against all of that; this process is called finishing. There are several different finishes that can be applied to a hardwood floor. Varnish and polyurethane sit on top of the wood to seal it against any damage. Oil penetrates the pores and protects the wood from moisture that way. There are many options for what finish to use but only two options for when to finish a hardwood floor; the floor can be prefinished or site-finished.

Prefinished or Site-Finished

Site-finished hardwood floors are the traditional method and still remain very popular, but prefinished floors are trending right now. Why is that?

Prefinished floors are those that are finished by the manufacturer. They are finished with a blend of chemicals that is unique to each manufacturer but is generally some combination of polyurethane and aluminum oxide. It’s treated with a UV-curing process that bakes the finish. A site-finished hardwood floor is finished once the wood has been laid. It can be a varnish, oil, polyurethane, or some other finish.

Why Prefinished?

Prefinished floors are trending for a few reasons. For short-term interests, they’re much quicker to install. A prefinished floor is also already stained. It arrives at your house ready to be installed; you just need to let it sit and acclimate to your home’s humidity for five to ten days. Once you’ve done that, you can lay the floor and be walking on it the same day. A site-finished floor will need hours for the stain to dry, and then possibly days for the polyurethane to fully cure.

Prefinished floors are also trending because many homeowners are thinking long-term. They might want to sell their house in the future, or they might just not want to have to sand and refinish their floors. A site-finished floor typically has a warranty for three to five years. A prefinished floor can have a warranty anywhere from five to 25 years.

How Long Will It Trend?

Prefinished hardwood does not seem like it will stop trending. That’s because prefinished hardwood floors can be in basically any style and kind of wood. Different trends ebb and flow, but the trend towards prefinished hardwood floor is just a trend towards being practical. That will never go out of style. Your hardwood floor will last for decades if you care for it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Questions about either of these flooring types? Need hardwood flooring installed in Roswell or Alpharetta? Call Ridgeline Floors today to schedule an in-home consultation!

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