When I entered the wood floor business I was often asked if factory finished floors were better than job finished floors. The answer 25 Years ago would have been no, job finishes are always better. Over the years factory finished floors have improved and should now be considered a quality product. Better machinery for milling of pre finished floors as well as the improvement in finishes, this product is now an alternative to job site finished floors. Most engineered products now have square edges that have been milled within a very close tolerance. The visual effect is a product that is very flat with a uniform finish. Upon closer inspection, rubbing the palm of your hand across the floor, will give an overall flat product with minor imperfections in height tolerance between some boards. If these products are glued to an existing slab there will be some cracks between some of the boards. Finishes for these products have changed drastically since mills started producing factory finished floors. Aluminum oxide or ceramic-type finishes are the products most mills use for coating. Depending on the pre finished floor, there will be between 3 - 7 coats of finish. Finish warranties vary from 2 years to limited lifetime. The following is a link to Robbins warranty page, it is similar to warranties offered in the industry. After viewing this warranty use your browser back button to return to this page. www.armstrong.com/resrobbinsna/article4958.asp Factories have also started offering a wider color selection and more species from which to choose. Even though you choose a pre finished floor, the existing subfloor must be sanded to glue these products down. Dust will be created. Keep in mind the overall appearance of a factory finished floor is different from a job site finished floor.
Job finished floors offer wider selection of woods, patterns, and finishes from which to choose. This allows the floor to complement the underlying theme of your decor. Job finished floors generally take longer to complete and prices are generally higher than a factory finished floor. Most surface finishes should last between 10 - 30 years. The maintenance is the same for the factory finished floor and the surface coated job finished floor.
1. If this is an existing home and you are moving out of that area during construction, factory finish is faster and may be easier
2. If trying to match existing cabinets and floors, job finish is easier to match colors.
3. Factory finish works well in kitchens and entries.
4. If you have children, the fumes from job finish should be avoided during coating.
5. Budget should be taken into account when comparing products.
6. Below grade (basement) should be an engineered product.
7. If your home has historical significance you should only consider job finish products.