All the years of overuse take an incredible toll on hardwood floors and the damage often results in warping, stains, chipping, dulling, and all kinds of damages. When the damage gets visually bad, it’s time to take corrective action. You have two options: refinish it or tear out the hardwood and completely replace it.
There are pros and cons to both choices. We’ve broken down the pros and cons of choosing between refinishing and replacing hardwood floors in terms of several important factors....
For obvious reasons, it is more affordable to refinish your hardwood floor than to replace it. A full replacement will include the price of the new wood, installation, as well as labor costs. You can minimize the cost of labor by doing the installation yourself, but this is not advised since it requires access to hardware and specialized knowledge. Refinishing can be done yourself, using a few DIY solutions.
If your only priority is to restore the original shine of the hardwood floor, your best option is to refinish it. However, if you want to make major modifications to the floor itself, such as the style of wood used, the consistency of the material, or plank direction, you’ll have to opt for a full replacement. Refinishing is recommended if you want to restore the original visuals of your room, while replacement is recommended if you want to go for a completely new look.
Replacement is less-time consuming than refinishing. For starters, refinishing is a very labor-intensive process involving preparation and planning. Prepping can take as many as 5 days during which the floor must not be touched at all. Far too many processes go into refinishing, including buffers, sanders, scrapers, brushes, paint, and a lot more depending on the type of wood. Replacement is usually done much quicker because it only requires the wood material and a few tools to help with the replacement.
Quality of Finish
Refinishing won’t do a 100% perfect job. You can’t do much about structural damage such as warping and chipping – these boards will have to be replaced, this often means replacing the entire floor. Worse still, refinishing an already damaged wood floor will bring out the visual oddity.
If you prefer to opt for quality and long-lasting results, you’re better off replacing the entire floor. This will be a little costly but the end results will be worth it.
Age of the Floor
If your wood floor has not been replaced in decades, it’s probably past the point of repair and refinishing. This is true if the floors have been refinished before or if the wood has become too damaged. In these situations, refinishing your floor won’t show any noticeable improvements. The best course of action in the case of older floors is to replace them entirely
Managing Expectations: Your House Will be Unavailable During This Time
It is worth noting that both projects will likely displace you from your home temporarily. Refinishing projects take around 5 days to complete. The layers of varnish may take a few more days to dry and seal, during which time the house will be unlivable.
Expect to be out of your house for around 10 days or more. It is highly recommended to make accommodation arrangements with a friend or book a hotel well in advance of your hardwood refinishing and/or replacement projects. Whatever route you take, it is best to get an expert’s opinion first before you proceed.