If your home currently has hardwood floors, they should stand up well for quite some time while providing your home with both beauty and durability. At some point, however, they will need to be refinished and, in some cases, replaced completely. Before deciding, you need to do a little homework to find out which process is best for you.
After a few decades, it’s very common for hardwood floors to have scratches and some discolored areas. When your floors start to look worn and old, options include refinishing the wood to make it look new again, or replacing entirely. Most hardwood floors can be re-sanded up to eight times before they need to be replaced.
Things to Check Before Refinishing
Before you begin the refinishing process, check that you have at least 1/32” of wood remaining of floor surface. If not you will need to consider replacing instead. An easy way to determine the thickness is by removing a floor heat register and looking at the surrounding boards. If your home doesn’t have floor registers, you can remove a flooring board from somewhere where it isn’t noticeable.
Hire a Professional Flooring Contractor
You should consider hiring a professional flooring company for your refinishing job. If you’ve never done refinishing before, the risk is greater in causing damage (beyond repair) with the sander, an expensive and sometimes irreparable mistake.
The flooring professional will properly sand the floor, and then apply several coats of polyurethane finish. Understand that if your floors were originally stained, this sanding will remove the color. If you want to retain the original color or change to a new one, you can have the floor re-stained to your choice. A second option – keep the floor unstained, which will lighten the overall look of a room.
For floors that are looking worn but don’t have severe damage, a flooring professional may sand the top layer of the floor and put a new polyurethane finish over the top. Called screening, this process doesn’t remove the wood, so it can be repeated when needed.
In some instances floors can’t be refinished because of structural issues, water damage, boards that move or are warped or extremely stained, have termite damage, or are simply too thin. This is why it’s best to contact a professional who can guide you through the process – including determining the condition of your floors and what the options are.