Historically, hardwood floors were finished on site after they were installed.  However with advances in the hardwood finishing process, it’s very common to come across prefinished hardwood planks these days.  Choosing between one or the other comes down to the pros & cons of prefinished hardwood flooring. To find out which might work better for you, check out this list.



Hardwood planks that are finished during the manufacturing phase are able to undergo a much more intense chemical sealant process than is available inside the home.  This results in a finish that lasts much longer than those applied on site. While a warranty for an on site applied finish may be as long as five years, prefinished planks can be covered by warranty for as long as 25 years.


The durability of the finish on a prefinished plank makes floor maintenance much easier.  Prefinished planks are less susceptible to water damage, stains and discolouration than on site finished floors.  Prefinished floors will also last much longer before the need for refinishing arises.


Because the finishing process is done off site, the time it takes from installation to ready-to-use is much shorter with prefinished planks.  Planks that are finished on site need to be sanded down and thoroughly cleaned before the finish can be applied. The finish will then need to dry after each coat is laid down before the floor can be used.  The on site finish may also leave a lingering chemical odour.



When a hardwood floor is finished on site, the seams are sealed which allows the planks to be much more water resistant.  Prefinished planks, on the other hand, will have a slight gap between each board which can allow moisture, dust and dirt to penetrate.  If the room in which you’re installing the floor is susceptible to water spillage, on site finishing may be a better option.

Floor Level

With on site finished floor boards, the planks are sanded down to level before being finished.  This step can hide any flaws in the levelness of the subfloor. If you subfloor suffers from irregularities in height, prefinished floor boards will reflect that problem.  If you want prefinished hardwood floor to be perfectly flat, you’ll need to ensure your subfloor is level beforehand.


Although they won’t need to be refinished for a long time, prefinished hardwood planks require much more sanding effort to prepare them for refinishing.  A consequence of this considerable sanding is that you won’t be able to refinish the planks as often as on site finished boards.