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.
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.
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.
It’s good to know that refinishing hardwood floors takes around five days and you shouldn’t walk on them during that time. We’ve had our current hardwood floors for a long time and I’ve been wanting to refinish it this spring so it’s protected. I’ll be sure to find a good company that can repair and refinish my floor.
Thanks for telling me that there are times when refinishing can be an option instead of a total replacement. Our hardwood flooring still looks nice with a little bit of age and we’re hoping that there’s a process we can do to make it new again. It might be a good idea to consult flooring contractors and see if it should be refinished or replaced.
A quality hardwood floor can be sanded down and refinished at least six times, and up to ten times before you need to replace it. You can change the color, closely match and replace warped, stained, or termite ingested planks, silence squeaky boards, and fill gaps or patch knots.
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Thank you for the great list of talking points for replacement. Many people underestimate the time it takes to refinish and how long it takes to dry. I’ve had customers think they could walk across the floor right after it was finished. Very informative. I will definitely share!
Thanks for this great information. I’ll use it when talking to customers about replacement. I’ve found quite a few customers that think we can eliminate squeaks with refinishing or that we can refinshed repeatedly and don’t realize that we can only sand off so many layers. Thanks!
Awesome post! It was really informative and interesting. Maybe we can make use of this soon for our homes. Thank you for sharing. Keep posting for more.
Recently, my parent’s house suffered from a plumbing emergency that lead to water damage, so they’re considering replacing their floorings. I’m glad you explained how sometimes floors could be refinished, but due to major damage, they might need replacement, so I’ll suggest to my parents that they talk to a specialist. Thanks for the advice on changing your floorings if they’re in poor shape.
I’m glad you suggested refinishing our floors instead of replacing them entirely since hardwood allows this and it is significantly less expensive to do so. I’m renovating my house next month since its age is already beginning to show, so I’m considering doing something for our hardwood floors as well. I’ll take note of this while I look for hardwood flooring refinishing services to hire for the renovation work soon.