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Aug 10, 2022

Is Unfinished Wood Flooring Right for You?

Tags: Flooring

If you've recently been in the market for wood flooring, you may have been surprised by just how many options are available. From various textures and colors to the different recommended installation methods, you may start to feel overwhelmed with all the decisions you're required to make.

One of the most basic yet most critical of these decisions is whether prefinished or unfinished wood flooring is the best option for you. While you may assume that prefinished wood flooring is the ideal choice, there are many great advantages to choosing unfinished wood flooring. Here are the pros and cons of unfinished flooring to help you determine whether or not it is the right choice for you.

Pros of Unfinished Flooring:

Color Options

When you choose unfinished flooring, you're picking a flooring that gives you endless color options. Have fun testing out different shades or creating your own unique blend. There's truly no limit to what you can do when purchasing unfinished wood flooring for your home.


Along those same lines, unfinished flooring gives you more options for finishes. Choose a high gloss, or go with something a little more subdued, like a satin finish. Despite what you may think, the finish of your flooring really does affect the overall look and feel. Do your research and find a good brand that will help preserve the quality of your floors. At Marks Lumber, we recommend Bona finishing systems to help you feel confident in the lasting power of your floors.

A Real, Authentic Look

Some experts say unfinished wood flooring tends to look more like real hardwood floors than other prefinished options. This boils down to two main features: the center-matched edge and less finishing.

Many prefinished flooring options tend to have a beveled or a V-Groove look to the edges, which is typically something you would see in engineered flooring. Unfinished wood flooring is often center-matched, where each plank comes together at a square, tight edge. This lends itself to more of an authentic wood flooring look than some of the prefinished floorings you'll find.

Additionally, prefinished wood flooring is finished in-house, meaning each board has multiple coats of polyurethane. They are then heated with aluminum oxide, creating a tough, durable finish. While this is great for durability, it tends to look more like plastic and less like natural wood.


No matter what kind of wood flooring you choose, eventually, it will need refinishing. Because unfinished wood flooring is often finished with water or oil-based polyurethane, you can easily give it a light sanding and another coat of finish to remove scratches and dings.

Due to the high number of polyurethane coats applied to prefinished flooring, the wood must be sanded down even further to refinish. By going deeper into the wood each time your floors need a facelift, you won't be able to refinish prefinished floors as many times as you could with unfinished flooring.

Cons of Unfinished Wood Flooring:

Total Price Point

While unfinished hardwood flooring may be more affordable straight from the retailer, the overall price can vary. When comparing price points, you will need to consider the added expense of the stains, sealants, and finishes. Additionally, the labor charges to finish your unfinished wood floors will start to add up. While there are ways you can save on the total cost of unfinished floors – such as installing and finishing them yourself – hiring a professional is a safe bet to ensure proper installation that will last for many years to come.


If you choose unfinished wood flooring and plan to install it yourself, it's important to know what you're getting into. While installing unfinished flooring yourself is feasible, it can be a labor-intensive process. We recommend looking over the installation instruction provided by your chosen supplier before deciding whether or not it is something you want to tackle on your own.

Unfinished wood flooring offers many advantages you just can't get with prefinished flooring options. At Marks Lumber, we specialize in unfinished Douglas fir flooring that boasts a unique circle sawn texture. Contact our qualified sales team to learn more about the benefits of our unfinished circle sawn flooring today.

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