Choosing Hardwood Flooring - Pre-Finished and Site Finished

Rod Lorenz

When looking at hardwood floors for your next renovation project you can start the process with one big decision  -- Pre-finished or Site-finished hardwood. To help you come to a decision, let us take a closer look at both and assess customization, time, budget and appearance.


There are many possibilities with unfinished wood. The floor is delivered to you in it's raw plank state so it can be tailored to your taste and room decor. You can choose a soft subtle effect to a more dramatic one highlighting the knots and mineral streaks. The planks are then sanded, stained, and finished in your home to give your floor a completely customized look.

Pre-finished hardwood flooring arrives at your home with the process of sanding, staining, and finishing already complete. All that is needed is the installation. You get to choose from a variety of factory finished products but don’t get to modify them once you've made your selection.

When it comes to personal, customized looks unfinished hardwood gets the nod over pre-finished.


Pre-finished hardwood flooring installation is quick once you have chosen the style, texture and finish - a professional installer can complete the floor installation in less time than a site finished floor. Pre-finished floors also provide the advantage of allowing you to walk on them immediately after installation because no additional time is needed to allow the floor finish to dry.

Site-finished flooring takes longer and, as its name says, the finishing is done on site. Its advantage is that it offers full control over what the final product will look like.

However, pre-finished hardwood flooring can be a good option for homeowners who find that they don’t need to have a custom finish. It certainly is easier and faster to install.


Site-finished floors are about the same price as good quality pre-finished floors, but they offer the most extensive customization possibilities, which many homeowners appreciate. 


The biggest appearance difference is unfinished boards have no bevels. Pre-finished floorboards usually have micro-bevels on all edges that hide slight discrepancies between board depths and widths. Some homeowners really prefer the flush look of site-finished floors, as they feature no such grooves and can be finished to any shine level.

Winner? It's you!

There really isn't a "better" choice. It entirely depends on your project and your preferences. The best thing to do it take a look at some different floors and find some you like. Then speak with us to get some advice about how you can achieve the exact floor you want. 

Would you like to talk with us about hardwood floors? We're here to help. Contact us at 920-984-3383, 800-354-9902 or Showroom appointments are available.

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