The installation, sanding and finishing of unfinished wood flooring is an art form. Craftsmen can turn your floors into something extra special you will want to show off to guests. This post highlights reasons you might want to invest in custom site-finished hardwood floors.
In “Advantages of Prefinished,” we described the basic differences between prefinished and site-finished. Both offer a list of positives. Like with buying anything significant, it’s about deciding on what matters most to you and going for it.
Reclaimed, site-finished hardwood floors | Artistic Floors by Design
Consistency. While unfinished wood flooring naturally will have slight over- and under-wood when installed (the uneven edges and ends from board to board), quality sanding work will flatten and smooth those variations. Prefinished, or factory-finished, wood flooring removes them by beveling the edges and ends.
Those bevels create grooves in your prefinished floor. Site-finished wood floors have a flatter, more consistent surface without a bevel – unless you customize them. (Exception described below.)
Site-finished wood flooring also enables the most consistent finish for cleanliness and protecting against moisture from the top side of the floor. Where prefinished wood floor boards are individually coated, the beveled grooves can collect dirt and debris, and there inherently is space between boards that is not sealed. With site-finished floors, the finish is rolled across the boards. That seals those hairline spaces with uniform protection that covers the whole floor.
Creativity. Customization can be maximized with unfinished wood flooring. The limits only are imagination, the skills of the contractor you hire, and, of course, budget.
Customizations are made with unfinished wood, so they require sanding and finishing on site. That rules them out for prefinished flooring projects. With site-finished floors, you can add inlays of wood, metal and stone. Add special borders and ornate medallions. Add texture by hand scraping or wire brushing the wood. The options for colors are infinite.
And, contrary to what was said in the section above about there not being bevels with site-finished hardwood floors, if you want the edges of your site-finished floor to have beveled or hand-scraped scalloped edges and ends, a craftsman can make that happen.
Choices. You can choose colors that fit your overall interior design. Do you have wall paint, rug, artwork or furniture upholstery samples you would like the flooring to complement? A craftsman can mix and match as needed to produce a wood floor stain color that is unique to your home.
You also have a choice of wood floor finishes and sheens with site-finished flooring. These options can be tailored to your needs and overall desired appearance, such as a natural finish that enhances the look of the wood’s grain and character.
Matching. If you already have wood flooring in your house and need to replace some of it, or if you want to install wood flooring to match in an adjacent space, unfinished wood offers your best chance to match color just right.
It’s nearly impossible to match colors of prefinished wood flooring with existing wood flooring. Even if you can buy the same product as what is already installed in your home, the flooring will have been produced as part of a different batch at a different time. It’s reasonable to expect slight variations between the “then” and “now” batches.
Finish and stain colors can be matched on site to the existing floor.
Find a Qualified Craftsmen
It’s probably clear by now that we recommend you invest in a highly skilled flooring professional for your site-finished wood flooring project. Site-finished wood floors usually are a high-end investment in your home, one that will last for many, many years and add value to your property.
One way to identify top-quality wood flooring installers and sand-and-finishers is to use the “Find a Professional” tool of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). With that online search tool, you can search by location to find NWFA Certified Installers and NWFA Certified Sand + Finishers.
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