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Home / Renovation Tips / Should You Replace or Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Should You Replace or Refinish Hardwood Floors?

wooden floor sanding

Source: nikkytok/Shutterstock.com

One of the main reasons homeowners prefer hardwood floors is their classic look and ability to withstand years of wear. A timeless design to any home, hardwood flooring can last a lifetime and longer, with the ability to be refinished to restore them to their original glory. But sometimes, refinishing is just not a viable option. 

If you find yourself wishing for updated hardwood but are indecisive when it comes to replacing or refinishing, Twenty & Oak is here to steer you in the right direction. So, should you replace or refinish your hardwood floors? Let’s explore your options. 

Replace or Refinish: Factors to Consider

Should you replace or refinish hardwood floors? That depends on a few factors and some personal variables. It could simply come down to the condition and age of your hardwood (like if it’s cupping or buckling). It may also depend on your personal budget and even taste in style. Let’s take a look at these factors and considerations in closer detail. 

Budget 

Whether you choose to replace or refinish hardwood floors might just come down to sheer budget. Replacing hardwood floors can be expensive. It requires ripping out and hauling away the old hardwood–not to mention the cost of the new planks and installation. So, when all is said and done, refinishing hardwood is definitely the more affordable option. Even if it requires removing a few severely damaged planks here and there, refinishing will generally always be less costly than tearing out the entire floor. Plus, if you paid top dollar for quality hardwood, you expect your floors to last for many years. 

Time

Time is another critical factor. How much time do you have to complete the project? Believe it or not, replacing hardwood floors can be a much quicker and a more straightforward way to achieve new floors. Refinishing wood floors is a significant process and can take a week or more, in which time you will not be able to use the space and be subject to unbearable dust that tends to find its way everywhere. However, when you choose to replace hardwood flooring, your time and trouble are reduced and installers can get the job done rather swiftly in comparison. 


 

Pametto Road Hardwood, Davenport Collection in Haven

Style and Function

Style and function are also factors in choosing whether to replace or refinish hardwood floors. If you hope to achieve a more functional flooring, engineered hardwood or waterproof hardwood can hold up better than solid hardwood, especially in homes that reside in high humidity regions or have high humidity, moisture-prone areas. When using solid hardwood, humidity and water will cause warping issues, and it might be worth replacing older hardwood with a modern alternative.    

Durability aside, another main reason homeowners choose to replace hardwood is to give their home an updated look. Whether you want to replace plain oak planks with a more visual interest, such as high character, distressed or wider planks, refinishing will only do so much. Sometimes, replacing your hardwood is the only option when you desire a certain aesthetic. 

staining wood

Source: zheka0210/Shutterstock.com

Refinishing Hardwood Floors

As mentioned, refinishing floors has its advantages. In most cases, hardwood floors can be saved. So how do you know when your hardwood floors are worth saving? Here are a few solvable issues that can be easily fixed with a new sanding and refinish. 

  • Surface problems such as scratches and even minor dents and gouges.

  • If you rather enjoy the look of your floors, but you prefer a new stain color or texture.

  • Blending and refinishing a section of damaged planks to match the rest of the flooring. 

It’s important to note that engineered hardwood can be refinished, but only if there is a substantial wear layer. A thinner wear layer cannot be sanded and refinished. Consider Veranda or Somerset engineered collections for a hefty wear layer that can be fully refinished, similarly to a solid hardwood option.

If you enjoy a stylized stain or textured flooring, sanding and refinishing may remove these features, like those in Palmetto Road’s Riviera or Chalmers collection, and the features cannot be replicated.

When Hardwood Floors Truly Need Replacing

ruined wooden floor

Source: Paradise On Earth/Shutterstock.com

Clearly, given a choice, refinishing is a preferred option for many homeowners. Generally, it does the trick and restores floors to their original glory. However, there are times when refinishing is simply not an option and your floors are beyond repair. 

  • Split or buckling planks with severe water damage that require a closer inspection of underlying frames and subfloors.

  • Wiggly planks that can cause gaps between floorboards. 

  • Engineered floors with deep gouges across the wear layer. 

  • Termite infestations that require urgent pest control and flooring replacement. 

Shop New Hardwood Flooring

Refinishing or Replacing Your Hardwood Floors

 

It’s easy to learn how to refinish hardwood floors. However, you’re much better off finding a reputable local flooring pro who can sand and refinish floors. They can complete the job quickly and professionally.  

However, if you do like the idea of changing your home's design aesthetic or adding more character to your modern farmhouse kitchen, look no further! Find your perfect floor and check out our virtual flooring showroom to discover the best flooring for your space.

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Twenty & Oak Experts 
Twenty & Oak Experts are a team of flooring professionals with over 150 years of combined experience in the industry. They have hands-on experience with all flooring types and bring inside industry know-how to homeowners in the Southeast.