Hardwood floors are prone to a lot of wear and tear, and over time they can become lackluster, stained, warped, squeaky or chipped. When your hardwood floor begins to appear aged, you can refinish it to restore its original beauty, or you can tear out the floor and completely replace it.
Price is usually the first thing people consider when it comes to refinishing or replacing a hardwood floor. The truth is, 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, plus the cost to haul your old wood floors away. You can offset much of this cost by doing the installation yourself, but this is a very difficult task that requires specialized knowledge, tools, and precision. You can typically refinish a wood floor yourself, but you’ll need time, supplies and a little know-how.
Refinishing hardwood floors is a meticulous and time-consuming process. It’s especially challenging if you and your family already occupy the home, as you may have to refinish one room at a time or move out all of the furniture. Refinishing your hardwood floors can easily take 4-5 days, even up to several weeks depending on how fast you work. The refinishing process requires sanders, sandpaper, edgers, buffers, stain, brushes, rollers, polyurethane, paint and caulk. However, replacement can be done in considerably less time using only the wood flooring, saws, measuring tape, a flat bar, a chalk line and a nail gun.
Like anything, whether you replace your hardwood floors or refinish them depends on your personal circumstances.
If your goal is to brighten your old wood floors and restore their original beauty, consider refinishing them. But if you want to change certain aspects of the floor itself, like the species of the wood, the width or direction of the planks or the consistency of the material, you will need to replace them. Refinishing is ideal to restore the beauty of old hardwood, while replacement is ideal for creating a completely new look.
Restoring every wood floor isn’t always an option. You have to take its condition into consideration. If your wood floor has become warped or if the majority of the planks have become damaged, you will typically need to replace the entire floor as finishing will only improve appearance but not the underlying issues. On really old floors, you may have large cracks allowing you to see the tongue where the boards come together, or your boards may lack adequate thickness due to being refinished many times. Floors like these should be replaced, as refinishing is purely cosmetic.
The age of your floor also plays a role in refinishing or replacing. 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 cracks between planks are too large, refinishing your floor may have little effect. For very old floors, replacement is often the preferable choice over refinishing.
Replacement Flooring Options
With the information provided, you may decide to replace your floors as opposed to refinishing them. There are many options to choose from depending on what you’re looking for.
Solid hardwood floors are made from solid wood. Each board of solid hardwood flooring is made from a single piece of hardwood that’s about 3/4 of an inch thick. Because it’s so thick it can be sanded down and refinished many times.
You might think that hardwood is more durable than softwood simply because of their names. However, “hardwood” and “softwood” actually refer to a tree’s structure and origin, not its density. Softwood comes from cedar, pine and spruce trees and can be more prone to dings and dents if used as flooring. Softwood trees generally produce a less expensive wood used for timber, paper, Christmas trees, and mineral density fiberboard. If you choose a softwood flooring, it should ideally be installed in a low-traffic room.
Engineered hardwood is a versatile and resilient flooring option that can be installed in most rooms in your home. Made of real wood, engineered hardwood gives your home a modern look and feel. This flooring option is made of a core of hardwood or plywood with a layer of hardwood veneer affixed to the top surface. This makes it more resistant to moisture and heat compared to solid hardwood.
Laminate is a popular choice for homeowners because it’s generally less expensive than real wood and easier to install. With so many options, you should be able to choose exactly what you want such as plank thickness, texture, and color. Laminate is a durable flooring option that is safe to use in nearly every room, and can provide a quick transformation.