What does it cost? From $3 to $20 per square foot, depending on species and grade. That's about 30 to 50 percent more than unfinished strips, but you'll save on installation because you won't need to sand and finish the floor.
How to care for it? Sweep regularly to remove grit that can abrade the finish, or vacuum with a soft brush attachment. Mop with a microfiber cloth and a cleaner specified by the manufacturer. Skip oil soaps, which break down the finish and leave a residue that attracts dirt.
Does it hold up? Warranties range from 10 to 100 years and cover only wearing through the finish, not dents; surface scratches; and gapping or warping. With proper care, a prefinished wood floor can last the life of the house.
DIY or hire a pro? A handy homeowner can install prefinished wood flooring in a medium-size room over a weekend. For installation by a certified pro, tack on an additional $3 per square foot, minimum, to the cost.