When to Refinish or Replace Your Wood Floors

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There’s nothing quite like the beauty, warmth and style of hardwood floors. However, they’re a floor that needs a little TLC every once in a while. Maybe your floors are worn from years of life lived on them. Maybe they’re damaged. Maybe you’ve peeled back the carpet in your new home, to discover hardwoods. How do you determine whether refinishing or replacing is the right choice?

Deciding whether it’s best to refinish or replace your wood floors isn’t as hard as it may seem. And while most people believe that cost is the only determining factor, there are actually a number of reasons to consider one over the other. 

Qualifying Factors

The first step in determining whether your floors are eligible for refinishing is ensuring they are hardwood, not an engineered lumber product. The easiest way to determine this is by lifting a floor register to get a side view of your floors. Can you see sandwich-like layers? If so, this is an engineered product that may not be able to be refinished. 

There are other considerations in determining your floor’s eligibility for refinishing. For example, if they’ve been refinished a number of times, there may not be enough ‘meat’, or refinishable surface left. Also, if your floors have been treated with aluminum oxide, the process is more laborious.

Another thing you will want to look at is damage and stains. In some cases, planks can be replaced individually or in sections, allowing you to keep the majority of your original floors intact. While there may be enough integrity to the stained floors, the depth the stain penetrated into the wood can leave signs of damage, even after refinishing. Maybe those stains bring your floor character, which is something you desire… that choice is entirely yours to make.

Perhaps there’s a significant amount of squeak in your original hardwood floors. If you’re wanting to reduce or eliminate noise, refinishing may not be the right option. While some squeaks can be fixed, it may be that your subfloor needs repaired; something that warrants the replacement of your hardwoods.

Common Myths About Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Many people choose for or against refinishing floors based on common myths. You may have heard that refinishing is incredibly dusty. Or maybe you’ve heard that replacing your hardwood floors is far more expensive than refinishing. Both of these myths are not always true.

While there is some dust involved with refinishing your hardwood floors, our process is far cleaner than you would expect. Of course, we always take measures to protect your home as much as possible when refinishing the floors. The bigger concern when refinishing your hardwood floors is the drying time. During that period, you cannot use your floors. Displacing part or all of your life is a significant factor in determining whether or not you want your floors refinished. 

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While refinishing is usually more cost-effective, this is also a myth that needs to be dispelled. If there is significant labor involved in the refinishing process, you may find it more economical to replace your floors. Some expenses that are often overlooked in this decision-making process include: replacing damaged boards, extended labor costs and displacement from your home (if the entire home is being refinished). 

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While it’s intangible, time is a significant consideration when determining whether or not to refinish your hardwood floors. Refinishing your hardwood floors takes more time than replacing your floors. In the event of replacement, you are able to enjoy your floors immediately upon completion of the job.

Which is Right for You?

We want to make sure you are satisfied with your decision, which is why we take the time to listen to your wants and needs. Our FREE estimate process is not sales-driven. We’re here to offer you expert advice that leaves you confident in your decision. We want to earn your business and referrals. We will evaluate your hardwood floors and make recommendations that are right for your desires, budget and timeframe.

There’s nothing quite like the beauty, warmth and style of hardwood floors. However, when they need a little TLC, we can help you determine if refinishing or replacing is the right option for you.