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Is Prefinished Hardwood the Same as Engineered Hardwood?

The short answer is “no.” Prefinished hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring might seem like the same thing but they’re actually very different. The names refer to two different steps in the process. Put simply, prefinished hardwood can be engineered or solid hardwood, but it typically refers to solid hardwood. Engineered hardwood is wood that is produced in a laboratory. The name refers to the process of creating the planks themselves. Prefinished wood is wood that has the surface treated in a factory before it is ever applied to your floor.

Prefinished Hardwood

Hardwood floors can be finished on the job site, or they can be prefinished. A site-finished hardwood floor is finished by the crafter. The floor is laid and affixed to the subfloor. It is then stained and sealed with polyurethane, oil, or varnish. That’s a site-finished floor. A prefinished floor is stained the desired color in the manufacturer’s factory. It is then sealed with an aluminum and polyurethane mixture that is baked onto the surface.

Site-finished hardwood has many benefits because you can customize it to your home or office. However, it takes longer to apply and can be more difficult to repair, especially if you chose an unconventional stain. Prefinished hardwood that is finished in the factory is quicker to install. The wood has already been stained and sealed; that means you just need to lay it. You don’t have to wait for it to dry or set at all. The finish on prefinished hardwood floors will last for decades without much effort. That’s because it is aluminum and polyurethane that is heat-treated. A site-finished floor is typically just polyurethane that’s allowed to dry at room temperature.

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood is hardwood that is made of multiple layers. The base of the plank is made of plywood. The top is a veneer of hardwood. The hardwood is typically prefinished in the factory but it doesn’t have to be. You can find some rare cases of unfinished engineered hardwood.

So, in conclusion, prefinished hardwood refers to hardwood that has been finished at the factory of the manufacturer. The stain is applied and the wood is sealed. Engineered hardwood refers to an entirely different aspect of the process. The engineering refers to the creation of the planks themselves. Engineered hardwood is typically prefinished but prefinished hardwood does not have to be engineered. You can find solid plank hardwood floors that are prefinished as well.

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