One of the main advantages of hardwood floors is that they generally last for a long time – another is that they can be easily refinished. However, it’s sometimes hard to know whether you should refinish the floor or just replace it entirely. Here are a few things to take into account before you make that decision.
Price will clearly be one of the main things to consider. It’s almost always going to be less expensive to refinish the floor instead of replacing it, as this means taking into account the cost of the new wood, installation, and treatment. You might be able to offset that cost by doing some of the work yourself, but hardwood floors typically require the attention of a professional. You will have to buy or hire the equipment and materials for refinishing, but the cost will be lower and you can usually do the job yourself.
What do you aim to accomplish by refinishing or replacing your floor? If you simply want to restore the original appearance, replacing the boards might be overkill. However, if you need to change the style or direction, you’ll probably need a full replacement. You’ll also need to replace wood which has become warped or badly damaged, as refinishing cannot remedy this.
You might think that refinishing won’t take as long as replacing, but this isn’t actually the case. Refinishing can take from four to five days – often longer if you complete the job yourself – during which time the floor must remain untouched. Replacing generally doesn’t take as long. You’ll also require more equipment for refinishing, whereas replacement requires only the basics. If you’re thinking of refinishing simply because you believe it involves less effort, think again.
Some factors are simply out of your control, and the most important one is the age of the wood. Older floors may resist refinishing, usually because they have already been through the process several times or because the surface wood is now too exposed. Very old floors should really be replaced instead of refinished. You might also find that older floors lack the proper thickness, and structural integrity may have been compromised during their long life.
There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to replacing vs refinishing, but taking this information on-board can ensure that you make the right decision.