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When to Refinish or Replace Hardwood Floors

Refinish or replace hardwood floors? You may find yourself asking this question as you’re peering down at your old and possibly damaged hardwood floors. Obviously refinishing will be the easier and cheaper way out in almost all cases. However, how do you know if you should? Have you already refinished your floors? It may be time for a fresh start. What many may not be aware of is hardwood floors can’t handle being refinished often.

When to Refinish or Replace Hardwood Floors

Refinishing Your Floors

When it comes to refinishing, you have the freedom to change the color, replace stained planks, fix squeaky boards, fill in gaps, and erase scratches and dents. Refinishing your floors with new stain has the potential to make a floor appear brand new. If you haven’t already refinished it several times and the damage appears to be only superficial, this may be your best bet.
Maybe you sense that your floors have reached the end of their “refinishing” rope. What flooring just simply can’t be refinished?

First and foremost, we have structural damage. If the frame of your floor is damaged, you simply won’t be able to sand, stain, or refinish. Or, if you’re dealing with floorboards that have any kind of movement, refinishing is only going to exacerbate that. Finally, if you’re starting to see grooves in the planks, it means you’ve refinished one too many times. Again, refinishing will only make matters worse. Are there nails peeking through? Not only is this not aesthetically pleasing, but it’s a safety hazard (especially for kiddos). It may be time to consider a new floor.

Reasons to Replace Your Hardwood Floors

Maybe you’re still able to refinish your floors if you’re not dealing with the issues mentioned above. However, if you do fall under the category of not being able to refinish one more time, let’s discuss the benefits of replacing your floors altogether. If you have a busy schedule and you’re looking for a quick project, replacing your floors will take significantly less time. Refinishing is messy and incredibly time-consuming.

Replacing your floors will be a much quicker and cleaner process overall. If you want to change the species of your wood entirely, you may want to replace them. For example, if you want to change the width of the wood or the direction of the wood, there will be no other option than to replace it.

Floor Replacement Options

Wider planks look more modern and importantly make the room look larger. Another design trick to make the rooms look larger is to lay the planks on a diagonal – that way, it carries your eye along the longest length of the room. Or, you can even get fancy and add borders or do a herringbone pattern. Additionally, if you have parquet floors, you may feel out of the loop. This type of style is no longer desirable and makes the room appear smaller. Having longer strips will make the room seem more spacious. Like many other renovations and home remodeling practices, designs, and patterns evolve over time. If you feel that your floors are simply outdated and unsalvageable, it’s probably time to rip them out.

Additional Reading: 4 Hardwood Flooring Trends You Should Know About

What’s the verdict?

As you can see, choosing between refinishing or replacing is entirely dependent on your specific situation. Do you want to get it over with as quickly as possible? You’ll most likely want to replace. Are you only concerned about the cost? Go ahead and refinish it. If you’re still not entirely sure about the condition of your floors, you may want to consult with a professional. They should get you on your way to some shiny new floors in no time.

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