CONCORD – Host, Sarah Rutan: When selecting hardwood flooring, you’ll need to decide between a pre-finished product and one that’s finished after installation. Today we’re in Concord with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Reggie Keding of Floor Coverings International to learn more.

Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, Reggie Keding: Okay. So, today we want to talk about: Do I go with sand and finish in place? Or do I buy prefinished hardwood and have that installed? So, I want to explain the pros and cons of each. Now, we do both. So, I’m not going to give you a biased opinion on either one. I’m just going to explain the pros and cons of why you would go with one versus the other.

So, let’s talk about sand and finish in place. So, the first thing you’re going to do is have the raw wood installed. Then it’s going to be puttied and sanded smooth. And so, what you’re going to get on the finished look is a perfectly smooth finish, with no micro bevels that catch it. So, one solid floor. Another advantage is you get to pick any color you want. The third advantage would be if you think you want to change the color later in the future to something else, you can always have that floor sanded down and changed to a new color.

Let’s talk about the disadvantages. So, a disadvantage of going with a sand and finish would be the finish on top is polyurethane. So, that lasts about 7 to 10 years on average, depending on the wearability and how much foot traffic the floor’s getting. So, about 7 to 10 years later you’d have to have it sand and finished again, which means all your furniture comes out. We’d start the whole process over. It’s about a 3- to 4-day process. Then your floors will look brand new again. And usually most clients that have that don’t change the color. So, the disadvantage, overall, is your long-term cost is going to be higher because you’re creating future maintenance for yourself, as polyurethane finishes only last about 7 to 10 years in the average household.

So, now let’s talk about prefinished hardwood. Prefinished means it’s done at the factory. And at the factory they have better opportunities to put a stronger finish on the top. Most of them today are using aluminum oxide. Aluminum oxide is extremely hard. It’s going to be, like, a 9 or 10, where a 10 would be a diamond. So, it’s going to be hard to scratch. It’s not scratch-proof, but definitely a lot harder to scratch than a polyurethane finish. So, the other advantage is you install it and you’re done. There’s no sanding, there’s no finishing, there’s no coats and cure time. So, the installation’s faster and it’s generally less expensive to do a prefinished floor than a sand and finish floor.

The last advantage is you don’t have any future maintenance. So, once it’s installed, you’re done. You’re not going to be sanding and finishing this floor. That’s why aluminum oxide is such an awesome finish is it doesn’t need any future work. It’s kind of a once and done. So, if you’re looking for low maintenance, low cost, you’d go with prefinished.

So, with those on the scale, most of our clients, I’d say 9 out of 10, elect to go with prefinished floors because they want to get as much as they can for their budget and keep the workload in their house to a minimum.

Host, Sarah Rutan: To learn more from local, top rated companies, visit our Diamond Certified Expert Reports at experts.diamondcertified.org.

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