Q: What's the difference between prefinished hardwood flooring and unfinished hardwood flooring?
A. Prefinished hardwood flooring is end- and edge-matched with a small micro-beveled edge and has up to 8 coats of finish, including several coats which contain aluminum oxide. The aluminum oxide in the finish is what gives the factory finish its hardness. Prefinished flooring typically has a 25 year finish warranty.
Unfinished flooring is also end- and edge-matched with a tongue and groove pattern but features a square upper edge rather than a microbevel. Unfinished flooring must be sanded and finished on site, after installation. After sanding and finishing, a site-finished floor will be completely flat. One can use either an oil-based or water-based finish when installing unfinished flooring. Oil-based products typically have a darker initial appearance and show more depth of grain;. Water-based finishes are safer for the environment and have been improved recently to offer similar durability as oil-based finishes.