Refinish or Replace Hardwood Floors?


To ensure that you have good floors in your house, just knock on wood. Nothing rivals the way wood warm ups a room, its classic good looks, or how long it lasts. These are the main characteristics of good hardwood flooring. Nevertheless, hardwood floors take a lot of abuse, and over time they can become stained, warped, chipped or just dirty. When your hardwood floor begins to appear worn out, you can refinish it to restore its original condition, or you can tear out the floor and completely replace it. So, the choice isn’t that easy: refinish or replace hardwood floors?

How to know that it is time to change the floor?

  • Scratching

Do you know that even one bad scratch can make you to completely refinish the floor in a room? If you don’t like to live in a room full of scratches for years, replacing the floor can be more cost effective and allow you to choose a floor with a special anti-scratch layer.

  • Discoloration

Hardwood can change colors for many reasons, but primarily it has to do with stains and fading caused by the sun. The most common discoloration is gray and black, but some floors may fade in color. The problem is hot when one part of the floor is exposed to direct sunlight. Discolored boards can be difficult to refinish at all, so replacement is more likely a better option.

  • Watering

If your wood floors are exposed to water for an extended period of time it is possible that they will become stained, warped or otherwise damaged. Separation of wood, cupping and dark areas are generally irreversible. If your home experiences any sort of flooding issue, plumbing related or otherwise, be sure to contact a cleanup crew right away in order to increase your chances of saving the hardwood.

  • Multiple refinishes

Refinishing hardwood involves sanding and staining. If you have already refinished your floor before and did it more than 3 times, it is likely best to replace than conduct refinishing any more. The sanding will compromise the structural integrity of the flooring as the wood is thinned out. This means it is more likely to crack.


When most people think of hiring a hardwood floor refinishing service, they think of the new beauty that comes from those services. Of course, this makes sense if it is possible to bring your floor back to life and give it a new shine and luster. But, there are other benefits that homeowners get when they have their old flooring refinished. So, what’s the matter?

Let’s compare these processes by…


Price is the first obvious variable to consider. Traditionally, it is almost always cheaper to refinish your floor than to replace it. When replacing, you must consider the cost of the new wood as well as the installation. You can save some money by installing the floor yourself, but this is a very time-taking process that needs specialized knowledge and precision. You can typically refinish a wood floor yourself, with just a few inexpensive solutions.

Aesthetic aspect

If your only goal is to brighten your floors and restore their original shine, consider refinishing them. But if you want to change some aspect of the floor itself, like the style of the wood, the direction of the planks or the consistency of the material, you will need to invest in a full replacement. Refinishing is ideal to restore existing wood, while replacement is ideal for establishing a completely new look or feel.


You cannot restore every wood floor by simply refinishing it. If your wood floor has become warped or if several of the planks have become damaged, you will typically need to replace the entire floor, as finishing will only brighten an already-damaged surface. Do you feel the difference? On really old floors, you may see the tongue where the boards come together, or your boards may lack adequate thickness. Floors like this are definite candidates for replacement, as refinishing is purely cosmetic.

Time of execution

Refinishing can actually take much more time than fully replacing a wood floor. Are you surprised? Refinishing is a messy, meticulous process than can take approximately four to five days, during which the floor surface must remain completely untouched. The process requires sanders, buffers, scrapers, brushes, base coat sealers, putty knives and sometimes paint. Replacement, on the other hand, can be done in considerably less time using only lumber, a couple of saws, measuring tape, a flat bar, a chalk line and a nail gun. So, sure enough, considering the time, you’d pick replacing.

Age of your floor

The age of your floor also plays an important role. If your floor has been in place for decades, it may resist refinishing for a number of reasons. For instance, if it has already been refinished several times or if too much of the surface wood has become exposed, refinishing your floor may have little effect. For very old floors, replacement can often be preferable to refinishing.

Planning to DIY? There are many steps to take: sanding, patching, staining, and top coating.

If you want your floors professional refinished or replaced, you can find local contractors using several online services. Average cost depends on your area. Read all of their online reviews carefully. Got questions? Message the person who left the review for additional information. Concerned about fake reviews? Authentic ones usually provide details about the user’s experience.

If you have doubts about the company’s professionalism, check the feedback’s for complaints. But if you spot one, don’t assume the worst until you read how the consumer’s claim was resolved. Even contractors make mistakes from time to time. But a well-intention-ed one will settle customer problems in a professional manner where all parties are satisfied. Make sure that the contractor is bonded, licensed and insured to work in your area. To do ask for each number and certification, then confirm if all are up to date.


  1. Afton Jackson

    Thank you for clarifying when it would be a good time to have a hardwood floor refinished to be able to make it look proper again. We’ve invited a lot of guests over for Christmas vacation, and since a lot of them are very particular about the way a house looks when they visit, I was wondering if there was anything I could do to spice up the way my flooring looks. Since there isn’t much damage on it yet, hardwood floor refinishing definitely sounds like my best bet here, so I’ll look around for a service that can help me with that.

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