WOOD FLOORS :: the great debate

I feel like more and more of our clients are choosing wood floors for their remodels/new home.  I thought I would start working on a few 'resource' posts.  One place were you can find resources, tips and ideas for your home!

The biggest question we get asked {regarding wood floors}.....Are pre-finished floors right for us?


Pre-finished floors, like any product, have PROS and CONS.  Let's start with the PROS!



It's easy to install.  There are not numerous steps involved with pre-finished floors like there are with unfinished wood floors.

It's lasts, and looks great for a long time.  Most pre-finished floors have factory applied UV-cured finishes and can be sanded and refinished multiple times.  To refinish an older floor, there must be at least 1/8 inch left between the top of the boards and the tongue.

dark hardwoods


It can still scratch and dent.  You can conceal most minor scratches with a manufacture's touch up kit, but for major scratches/dents/issues, you will need to refinish.

It's more expensive than carpet, most vinyls, laminate and most ceramic tiles.  However, it is an easier DIY project than installing tile tile or carpet!

It's affected by weather.  All wood expands and contracts with changes in moisture.  Boards may cup in high humidity and gap during dry weather.  Solid wood shouldn't be installed below grade, and you really want to think twice before installing it in bathrooms or laundry areas.


What's the difference between unfinished hard wood, engineered wood and laminate?


It's looks like solid wood, but it is made up of wood veneers glued together and topped with a factory finish.  Engineered wood is great for DIYers, but the durabiltiy can vary depending on how thick the top veneer is.  Typcially, engirneered wood can withstand 2-3 sandings, where hard wood floors can be refinished many times.  The cost ranges from $2-$12 per square foot.


It's solid wood.  Bare wood strips and planks are sanded, usually stained and topped with protective coasts after they have been installed.   The entire process takes several days and is best handled by a professional.  The great thing about hardwood floors is that when it's time to refinish, the floors can be refinished many times.  Bare wood typically ranges from $2-$12 per square foot, plus installation/labor.


It's made of a sheet of fiberboard topped with a high resolution wood grain image on paper and coated with melamine.  It typically has a texture to help achieve a 'wood floor' look.  The clear top coat resists scratches and stains, but this type of floor can not be refinished.  You may also notice a hollow sound when you walk on the floor, laminate is a 'floating floor' and it's also thin.  Laminate is very DIY friendly.  It's also about half the cost of wood, ranging from $1-$6 per square foot.


To estimate the cost of a new pre-finished wood floor, measure the room's square footage and add a percentage for cuts and waste {typically 5% for strip and 7% for planks}. Multiply that by the price per square foot.

dark hardwood floors ellen grasso and sons

Hope this helps some of you who are thinking of different flooring options!  I will be sure to do a few follow up posts soon!


Image Sources :: , 2, 3, 4, 5, 6