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Which floor?

Posted by tomh on March 1st, 2003 12:09 PM
In reply to hardwood flooring by Tom on March 1st, 2003 11:52 AM [Go to top of thread]

I have installed a number of hardwood floors. The choice between prefinished and unfinished strip flooring comes down to a few issues. Actually for me it comes down to dog hair. I can't finish a floor before it decends on my project. As a result, I have gone to prefinished in all my recent projects.

Prefinished floors do not finish as flatt as a sanded floor. The manufacturer's put in microbevel so minor imperfections are not visible. Because prefinished floors have this microbevel, and the boards are not sealed where they join, dirt can get between the boards. This has not been a big problem on a 3/4" cherry floor I recently put down, but was a problem on a prefinished engineered maple floor. The biggest advantage to the prefinished floor is that after 1 or 2 days of installation (nail-down) they are completely done. The finishes are probably more durable and smoother than anything you can put down yourself because they are often metal filled and catalyzed.

I did a number of oak strip floors that were sanded. They came out beautiful, but once every thing is nailed the real work starts. Filling sanding, cleaning sanding, staining, finish, finish, sand, finish. Assuming you want 3-coats. The commercial floors come with 8 coats.

If your concern is durability, prefinished is going to be at least equivalent to something you will do yourself. Dog claws are the biggest nemisis, followed closely by yourself when you move appliances, heavy furniture or drop a tool.

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