Is it time to replace your wood flooring?

Hardwood flooring is durable, beautiful, and can be refinished to make it like new again.  Sometimes, however, it makes sense to replace the flooring rather than refinish it.

When possible, refinish your floors. It’s significantly less expensive. You may even choose to refinish most and replace only certain areas.

How much does replacing hardwood flooring cost? The cost varies depending on the type of wood. The lower end can be $1 – $6 per square foot. Mid-grade ranges from $5 to $10. And exotic flooring can cost $15+ per square foot.

So, when does it make sense to replace wood flooring vs. refinish wood flooring?

  • Water Damage

Certain types of damage to the flooring make it difficult and sometimes impossible to refinish.  If the flooring has water or moisture damage, this can often prevent it from being refinished.  Moisture and water both can cause floors to buckle, bend, peel or create gaps between planks. You can sometimes replace certain areas rather than all the flooring.  But it just depends on the severity of the damage and the area damaged.

  • Over sanding

While flooring can be refinished to remove small damages and bring your wood to life, you can over sand.  Every time you sand your floors, they become thinner.

What constitutes over sanding?  It depends on the quality and kind of wood.  Most manufacturers recommend you refinish no more than 3-5 times.  You can also measure thickness after each sanding.

  • Sounds

Is your floor creaking? Refinishing the floors can help your floors look great.  But if the problem is in the noise they make, this will not help. You may need to replace to avoid the sounds of old floors.

  • Age

Hardwood floors are durable and can last for a long time.  But they don’t last forever. The amount of time they will last will depend on how well they are maintained, foot traffic as well as the quality and type of wood. After a while, hardwood floors may begin to decay making them softer and bouncier.

Aged flooring can lose its shine and color. Exposure to sunlight, dirt, and grime all contribute to floors losing their beauty. You may not be able to get the floors looking the way you want if they are too old.

  • You want to change the look

If you want to change the type of wood, you may consider replacing the hardwood. Many homes in the US have oak flooring. While oak has a grainy look, some people prefer a smoother finish. Staining the floor can give you a different look. But it may not be as dramatic as you want.

If you want to change the width of the planks or the direction, again you will need to replace. Planks range in size. Common sizes include 2 ¼”, 3 ¼”, 4”, or 5” planks. People that are trying to make rooms look larger sometimes prefer to lay the planks diagonally.  This makes your eye look along the longest length of the room.

  • Faster turnaround

Are you ready to have new floors now? Replacing floors will generally take less time. Refinishing your hardwood floors can take 4-5 days. During that time, you cannot have furniture on them nor walk on them. For people with kids and animals, this may not be an option. If you replace the floors it’s faster, a little less messy and you can still live in the home.