A well-maintained hardwood floor adds beauty, luster, and greater value to every home, old or new. The richness and versatility of wood brings richness and depth to any room, but despite appearances, no hardwood floor is forever. As the most-used surface in the house, your floor experiences daily wear and tear, and eventually, something gives. But before you consider ripping out that old floor, weigh the pros and cons of basic maintenance versus complete replacement with new wood. When should hardwood floors be refinished or replaced? Here are a few things to ponder when you’re making that decision.
Hardwood Floors: How Old Is the Floor?
A rule of thumb among flooring experts is that a floor should be refinished every 7 to 10 years and refinished no more than 4 to 6 times. Depending on the age of your floor, it may have been refinished several times already. Whenever the floor is sanded down, it loses surface—ome hardwood is no more than three-quarters of an inch thick. Look for an air vent, remove it, and view the wood from the side. If it’s thin, you may be out of floor to refinish.
Hardwood Floors: What Is the State of the Wood?
The floor’s physical appearance was probably what first inspired you to consider an upgrade. Scratches and dents, fading, localized water damage, and a general lack of brightness are general symptoms of an old, worn-out floor, but they’re not necessarily reason enough for replacement. Coloring can also tip you off about when you should refinish or replace your hardwood floors. Wood that has gone dull or even gray may just require refinishing. Wood that’s so old that it has turned black, which you’ll often discover under rugs and carpeting, more likely than not will have to go.
The Floor May Look Worse Than It Is
Popped-out nails, small to large gaps, loose and shifting boards, and warping all look bad to the eye and feel even worse beneath your feet. However, an experienced flooring expert can often make slight adjustments to fix these. Naturally, the more widespread and long-term the issue, the more likely replacement is the only option. Also, be aware that minor issues on top can suggest bigger problems, such as termites, leaks, and damage, beneath the floor, ceilings, and walls. Look deeper and see if any repairs are required. You don’t want to refinish a floor only to discover it’s damaged.
Ask an Expert for Perfecting Your Hardwood Floors!
Be sure about your next steps by calling a recommended flooring company and asking for an assessment and quote. If the floor looks like it needs refinishing or replacing to your untrained eye, imagine what a true expert will find. Local Facebook groups and review sites and services such as Yelp and Angie’s List are good places to search and ask for recommendations for respectable contractors.