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Hardwood Floor Refinishing: Pros and Cons

hardwood floor refinishing tool

A Fresh Start: Hardwood Floor Refinishing

What is Refinishing?

Refinishing hardwood floors is a process where the top layer of finish and stain is completely removed. In the end, the floor is brought back to its natural, unfinished state. This process can happen several times depending on the thickness of the wood planks. Before starting, it is important to know if your hardwood floor can handle refinishing. This has a lot to do with the thickness of your wood floor.

The thicker the top layer of the wood planks, the more times the floors can be refinished. Typically, solid hardwood floors have a thicker top layer of wood than engineered wood floors. It is important to have professional hardwood floor refinishers inspect the floors prior to starting such a project. The inspection will determine the condition and thickness of your wood floor, and how many refinishings the floor can handle.

Refinishing hardwood floors can be a beneficial home improvement project, but like any undertaking, it has advantages and disadvantages. Here are some pros and cons of refinishing hardwood floors:


Pros of Refinishing Hardwood Floors:

Cost-Effective: The cost of refinishing hardwood floors is often much less than completely replacing them. This is especially true if the wood is still in good condition. Refinishing hardwood floors is a less expensive than any other new floor product in the market!

Enhanced Appearance: Refinishing can bring out the natural beauty of hardwood floors, making them look new and fresh. Refinishing reduces the appearance of heavy distress marks or gaps between planks.

Increased Property Value: Home-buyers consider well-maintained hardwood floors an attractive feature, potentially increasing the resale value of your home.

Customization: You can choose the finish and stain color, allowing you to customize the look of your floors to match your decor and personal style.

Durability: When sealed properly, refinished wood floors will be more resistant to scratches, dents, and other signs of wear, extending the lifespan of your hardwood.

Healthier Living Environment: Refinishing removes dirt, dust, and allergens that may have accumulated in the wood over time, contributing to a healthier indoor environment.


Cons of refinishing hardwood floors:

Expense: While refinishing is often more cost-effective than replacement, it can still be a significant investment if the floors are in poor condition.

Disruption: The process of refinishing involves sanding and applying finishes, which can create noise, dust, and odors. It may require temporarily vacating the premises or limiting access to certain areas. When refinishing a full house (1000 sqft and above), clients will need to move from their house for at least a week and store their furniture in containers/pods.

Time-Consuming: Sanding and refinishing hardwood floors is a time-consuming process. The duration depends on factors such as the job size and complexity, especially when trying to achieve a custom color.

Not Suitable for All Floors: Some hardwood floors may be too thin or damaged to withstand the sanding process required for refinishing. In such cases, replacement might be a more viable option.

VOC Emissions: Some of the products used in the refinishing process, such as certain wood finishes and sealers, may release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can contribute to indoor air pollution. After a couple of days, the odors from these compounds will dissipate.


The Bottom Line:

After refinishing wood floors, clients need to stay on top of maintenance and care. Using furniture pads on furniture legs, regular cleaning, trimming pets’ claws, and establishing some house rules like no shoes in the house (especially no high heels) during high traffic events will extend the life of hardwood floors. It is also recommended not use interior rugs on the wood floors until the wood floors dry thoroughly, about 2-4 months.

Before refinishing hardwood floors, it is essential to assess your floors’ current condition, consider your budget, and weigh the potential benefits against the inconveniences of the refinishing process. If you want to learn more about the refinishing process or you’re ready for a quote, email or call us at 310-261-0362.


damaged hardwood floor needs refinishing staining refinished hardwood floor

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