The term “unfinished floor” is used to describe the raw hardwood brought to the customer’s house and stained and finished at the job-site, as opposed to a pre-finished product, stained and coated in the factory and delivered ready to be installed. Both types are in demand.
Unfinished hardwood flooring is forgiving of imperfectly leveled subfloors and allows for custom colour selection, does not have grooves (bevels) between the boards, and can be finished gradually as the renovation progresses. This eliminates risk of potential damage or scratches that may happen during renovation. In addition to a custom stain, various varnishes (lacquers) can be used to cover various levels of gloss and chemical content (oil or water based).
Unfinished hardwood flooring is installed in large, new construction projects as well as on projects where matching existing stain colour requires custom effort.
When purchasing unfinished flooring, you may see the wood listed as Plain sawn, Quarter sawn or Rift sawn. Theses are simply different methods for extracting boards from a log.