Engineered hardwood flooring is nearly always pre-finished. The hardwood is pre-finished with a color and either a polyurethane or oiled surface at the factory. They do not require sanding or finishing. Many of these can be glued down or floated to go over slab or basement floors as opposed to solid hardwood. Engineered floors are more dimensionally stable. They have a real hardwood veneer plus a sealer – oil or urethane. This is usually attached to a plywood or MDF core. It makes it more dimensionally stable which means it is less susceptible to gaps, cupping, or splitting caused by swings in humidity levels. If you like wider plank boards- greater than 5″, like our Mountain Lodge White Oak Tree Line 7″- you will want to look at engineered products. While engineered floors can be sanded and refinished, the process cannot be done as many times as it can with solid wood flooring. The number of times it can be sanded and refinished depends on the thickness of the top wear layer. Some of our most popular brands of pre-finished floors are Mohawk, Mullican, Shaw, SLCC Flooring, Aurora, Bella Cera, Provenza, Hallmark Floors, and the Kentucky made Somerset. For direction on which samples to choose for your In Home Shopping experience, we suggest: classic smooth looks, choose from Mullican’s colors; for wide plank options choose from Chateau colors or Wire Brushed and Distressed Oak; for handscraped looks choose from Everton, Vintage View, Duval, or Weathered Portrait options. Vintage View and Weathered Portrait are very popular due to the unique multiple width character of these floors. Everyone also loves the engineered acacia, (especially Bronze!)
Unfinished floors are sanded and finished on-site following installation. They are most often solid wood. If you have solid hardwood and want to add other areas, you will likely want to purchase unfinished wood, install it next to the area being added to and sand and finish the whole area for a seamless finish. To learn more about the sanding and finishing process visit our sand and finish page.