Is a Prefinished Wood Floor Right for You?
It's easy to install. Instead of the multiple-day process of sanding, staining, and then applying three polyurethane top coats to unfinished wood, these DIY-friendly floors can be put down in a single day.
It looks good for a long time. The tough, UV-cured, factory-applied top coat lasts longer than a typical one applied on-site. With normal wear, you can expect the finsih to last 30 percent longer before you need to screen-and-poly.
It lasts for centuries. Like all solid-wood flooring, it can be sanded and refinished multiple times. To refinish an older floor, there must be at least ⅛ inch left between the top of the boards and the tongue. Check by sliding a piece of paper between two boards and marking the distance or by removing a floor vent to see a side profile of the floorboards.
It's pricey. The cost is steep compared with other DIY options, such as vinyl, laminate, carpet, and ceramic tile, some of which can go for as little as 50 cents per square foot.
It doesn't weather all weather. All wood expands and contracts with changes in moisture, so boards may cup in high humidity and gap during dry spells. This is why solid wood can't be installed below grade and isn't a good idea in baths or laundry areas.
It can still scratch and dent. Dog toenails, unprotected furniture feet, a dropped cast-iron pan—all can do a number on prefinished wood. You can conceal scratches with a manufacturer's touch-up kit, but you'll need to refinish if the damage is extensive.