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Choosing Prefinished or Unfinished Hardwood Flooring

By Jill

Posted on Thursday, April 30, 2015 8:00 AM

Choosing Prefinished or Unfinished Hardwood Flooring

choosing-hardwood-floors Today’s prefinished hardwood flooring has come a long way from the old days when waxy-coated floors quickly showed scuffs, scratches, and white blotchy water spots. With advances in technology, hardwood flooring manufactures have perfected their finishing techniques, now producing floors that are not only more durable than ever before but also more beautiful. While unfinished woods will always be an available option, the increased durability and flawless appearance of prefinished woods has pretty much made prefinished hardwood flooring the norm in the flooring marketplace. So does this mean prefinished hardwoods are better than unfinished woods? Not necessarily. Deciding whether to go with prefinished or unfinished hardwood is largely an individual preference. Here’s some information to help you decide which finish option is right for you.

Prefinished Hardwoods

Prefinished hardwoods are available in varying gloss levels, ranging from high-gloss to matte. While gloss level will affect the overall look of the floor, it will not impact the finish’s durability.

Prefinished hardwood flooringReasons to Choose Prefinished Woods

  • Increased durability: Six layers or more of urethane combined with the superior curing ability of UV technology make factory-finished woods far more durable than woods that are finished on the job site.
  • Less mess: Prefinished flooring is all done at the factory, so no need to stain, sand, and apply several coats of urethane.
  • Less time consuming: Install the wood flooring and move furniture right back in the room. You won’t have to wait days (or weeks) for floors to dry.
  • No odor: The finish is completely dry, so there are no strong odors in your home.
  • Better finish warranties: Since the wood manufacturer does the finishing at the factory they give extended finish warranties that the installer doing a job-site finish can’t offer.

Unfinished Hardwoods

While on-site finish techniques and products have improved over the years, finishing a wood floor yourself is a messy, time-consuming process. But for some, the level of customization it can produce is far worth the added time and effort

Unfinished hardwood flooringReasons to Choose Unfinished Woods

  • Wider color range: Finishing the wood flooring at the job-site means you can select any stain color you want. Whereas, with a pre-finished floor, you are limited to the manufacturer’s available colors.
  • Increased moisture protection: When floors are finished on-site, the seams between the planks are also sealed, allowing for more moisture protection. Whereas with prefinished woods, only the individual planks are sealed.
  • Closer-matching wood trim: Unfinished woods can be stained to match the trims and moldings.

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To find the hardwood flooring that best meets your needs, contact us. We’d be happy to answer all of your hardwood flooring questions and show you the latest trend in hardwood flooring.  

Evaluating Eco-Friendly Carpet Options

By Jill

Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 6:07 PM

eco-friendly_carpetWhen we think of environmentally friendly flooring, what often comes to mind are naturally renewable flooring materials such as cork or bamboo (discussed in a previous green flooring options post). But in evaluating the impact a flooring material has on the environment, there are many other factors to consider.

For instance,

  • is the flooring able to be recycled, or is it made from recycled materials?
  • Does the manufacturer use environmentally responsible manufacturing practices?
  • How does the flooring and its finishes or pretreatments affect toxicity levels in the environment?

With these criteria in mind, here are a few more options to consider if you’re looking to go “green” with your next flooring purchase.

Eco-Friendly Carpet


When it comes to carpet, a big concern for eco-conscious consumers are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be found in the latex binders used to secure the "tufted" fibers to the carpet backing, as well as in some carpet cushions and adhesives used in installation. Fortunately, newer technologies have allowed carpet manufactures to significantly reduce VOCs in their products.

The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), an organization dedicated to educating consumers about carpets, has developed testing to help identify those products with very low VOC emissions. When choosing carpet, look for products that include CRI’s Green Label Plus icon, which signifies the product meets CRI’s established low-VOC standards.

Environmentally Friendly Carpet Fibers

In addition, following are some great environmentally friendly carpet fiber options to consider.

wool is an eco-friendly carpet choiceWool

When it comes to carpet fiber, you can’t get much more natural than wool. Typically sourced from the hairs of sheep, wool quickly regrows once shorn. This renewable resource is also 100% biodegradable, recyclable, and hypoallergenic. And wool’s natural built-in resistance to stains and soiling often makes pretreatment with stain protectors unnecessary, so there’s no need to worry about potentially harmful chemicals. This is another big plus if you have pets or small children who will be crawling around on this flooring.

Sisal is an eco-friendly carpet choiceSisal

Commonly used to make twine and rope, sisal is an extremely durable natural fiber harvested from the mature leaves of the agave sisalana plant in a process that uses no pesticides or chemical fertilizers.Sisal rugs have a rough, coarse surface that adds texture and visual interest to a room. If you prefer a less-rugged look and a more comfortable feel underfoot, consider sisals that are blended with softer fibers such as wool.

Seagrass is an eco-friendly carpet optionSeagrass

Naturally eco-friendly, seagrass is a plant fiber sourced from thick, rigid reeds that are non-porous and smooth to the touch. Once harvested, seagrass is dried and spun into yarns meticulously woven to create rugs known for their dense textured patterns. Soft underfoot, naturally stain-resistant, and hypoallergenic, seagrass rugs are not dyed but instead come in natural colors, which change as the carpets age.

Seagrass is an eco-friendly carpet optionPET fibers

For a truly recycled product, there’s polyester carpet made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) – the plastic material used in water and soda bottles. A big advantage of PET fibers over other synthetic carpet fibers such as nylon is that PET is naturally stain-resistant and does not require chemical pretreatments. Polyester also has fewer VOC emissions than nylon because it is made with fewer additives. PET carpets also retain their color longer and are extremely resistant to fading caused by sun exposure.

The Natural Choice for Your Home

Ask_An_Expert_logo_colorBarry Carpet carries many eco-friendly carpet & flooring options from some of the industry’s leading brands. Stop in our Barry Carpet showroom in West Los Angeles to see some samples. Or, give us a call or send an e-mail. We’d be glad to answer your questions and help you pick the natural choice that’s right for your home or office.

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Find Out More

To find the hardwood flooring that best meets your needs, contact us. We’d be happy to answer all of your hardwood flooring questions and show you the latest trend in hardwood flooring.