One of the most popular questions we get here at Ace Wood Flooring of Rhode Island is, “Should I get a prefinished wood floor or an unfinished wood floor?”

Many pros disagree over this, and it basically depends on your needs and preferences as a homeowner. Check out the pros and cons for each option and decide what is best for your family and your floors.

Unfinished Hardwood Floors Pros and Cons

Unfinished hardwood flooring is sanded, stained and finished on site in your house. It can be more expensive but many homeowners prefer the look.


    • Can create custom floor patterns to personalize your home (herringbone, borders etc.).
    • One solid surface—it is flatter, and may be slightly more waterproof.
  • Available in more widths and wood species than pre-finished flooring and can be matched to existing wood floors.


    • Installation is messier and longer. You may not be able to walk on recently finished floors for days or months!
    • More skill is needed for installation. It’s a tricky process, so you need to make sure your installer is a skilled pro.
  • More expensive. Because it’s a more difficult and longer process, it can be more expensive.

Prefinished Hardwood Floors Pros and Cons

Prefinished hardwood are planks of solid wood that are finished and cured under UV lights by the manufacturer.


    • Easier installation. Because you don’t need to sand or finish the floor, the installation is quick and simple.
    • Ready to be lived on once installed! No waiting time necessary.
    • No odor or dust during installation. Wet finishes can be smelly, and sanding kicks up a lot of dust. Pre-finished wood doesn’t have these issues.
    • Durable finish that is guaranteed by manufacturer.
  • If you want a colored floor, typically brown or black, a pre-finished floor would be recommended. It’s going to be more economical and perfect. If you have to sand and stain the floor, it will not be the equivalent of a pre-finished floor.

unfinished wood floor installation


    • Limited options on choices (colors, wood species and finishes).
  • Overall look isn’t as appealing to some. There can be bevels, micro-bevels, and gaps between boards. Only a floor that is sanded and finished in your home will have the perfectly flat, smooth appearance that many homeowners love.

Check out the pros and cons of each type and see what best works for your house and your lifestyle. And if you have any questions, make sure to call us at Ace Wood Flooring at 401-241-3966.