There are two basic kinds of hardwood flooring planks that you can buy: solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. Solid hardwood is exactly what it suggests; it is a solid piece of hardwood. An engineered hardwood plank is a layer of hardwood over several plies of a different wood. The plies are glued together to form a plank that is visually indistinguishable from solid hardwood. It tends to resist cupping a little bit better than solid hardwood. Many say that solid hardwood feels better underfoot. Whatever the case may be, those are the major distinctions. The other distinction is that solid hardwood can be found prefinished or unfinished. Engineered hardwood is almost always prefinished.

Prefinished vs Unfinished vs Site-Finished

When you buy your hardwood flooring planks, you can buy them prefinished or unfinished. Prefinished means that the wood has been stained and sealed at the factory. The factory finish is baked onto the surface of the plank. The other option is unfinished or site-finished hardwood flooring. Site-finished and unfinished are the same thing; they both mean that the wood is delivered un-stained and unfinished. It is then stained and finished after it has been installed on-site.

Prefinished hardwood has some advantages because it is faster to install. You don’t have to wait for stain and finish to dry before you can walk on it.Furthermore, the finish on prefinished hardwood tends to be harder than finish installed on site. That means it will likely last longer before you have to repair it. You’ll have fewer options, though.

If you want a unique shade of stain, a different type of finish, or mixed finishes, you probably won’t want a prefinished hardwood. You’ll want to be able to customize it yourself. That means you need site-finished hardwood. However, if you also want engineered hardwood, can you even find site-finished engineered hardwood?

Site-Finished Engineered Hardwood

Site-finished engineered hardwood is not the most common type of engineered hardwood by a long shot; however, there are manufacturers that offer it. Site-finished engineered hardwood offers you the advantages of engineered hardwood and the versatility of site finishing. Engineered hardwood can be installed over a concrete floor; it can also be installed in a basement. It’s less susceptible to moisture damage. If you choose site-finished engineered hardwood, you’ll also be able to customize it however you want. One caveat is that the veneer on engineered hardwood is pretty thin. That means that you’ll only be able to sand and refinish it a few times.

Interested in new hardwood floors in San Mateo or Redwood City? Call the pros at Peninsula Hardwood Floors to schedule an in-home consultation!