Prefinished Floor Finishes vs. Site-Finishes Floor Finishes

We want to hear from you. What are your opinions on the different floor finish options? Do you have advice to share or insight that might be helpful to others? Any pros and cons you think need to be highlighted about the different methods? Leave your opinions or recommendations in the comment section below.


The finish is a protective top coat that seals a hardwood floor against damage from everyday wear-and-tear, moisture, and stains. Prefinished floors have the finish applied during manufacturing. Unfinished floors have the finish applied on-site – at the customer’s home.

Prefinished Floor Finishes:

UV-cured – these floors are finished at the factory and the polyurethane finish are cured with Ultra Violet lights instead of using heat.

Polyurethane – A clear, tough and durable finish that is applied as a wear layer.

Perma Finish- a water based polyurethane which is very eco-friendly because it is low VOC. VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds which when released into the air often leave a toxic odor which can cause various health problems, including nausea, tremors, and headaches. This finish is water based which is known for its durability.

Acrylic-urethane – Has a slightly different chemical make up than polyurethane, but with similar benefits.

Ceramic – Advanced finish technology that allows the use of space-age ceramics to increase the abrasion resistance of the wear layer.

Aluminum Oxide – particles added to the polyurethane finish to increase the abrasion resistance of the wear layer.

Acrylic Impregnated – Acrylic monomers are injected into the cell structure of the wood to give increased hardness and then finished with a wear layer over the wood.

Site–Finished Finishes:

Water Based Urethane – Water is used as part of the chemical make up of the polyurethane finish.
Pros: Fast drying time, low odor, low VOCs, easy to apply, good for DIYers
Cons: More expensive than oil poly, less touch than oil poly

Solvent Based Urethane – Oil is used as part of the chemical make up of the polyurethane finish.
Pros: Easy to apply, less expensive than water based poly, extremely tough
Cons: Longer drying time, higher odor, higher VOCs, yellows with age

Moisture Cured Urethane – A similar chemical make up as solvent based urethanes but, this finish needs the humidity (moisture) in the air to cure.
Pros: Extremely durable, fast drying time
Cons: High VOCs, pro-only application

A Little About Gloss Levels

Whether a finish is satin, semi-gloss, or gloss it does not have any effect on the overall performance of the floor. The choice about which gloss level to go with is a matter of personal taste. However, keep in mind, that lower sheen floors will hide scratches and dings better.

Tell us what you think!

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