Refinish, refinish, refinish. In almost every case it is preferable to refinish your floors rather than replace them. A quality hardwood floor can be sanded down and refinished at least 6 times before it needs to be replaced. The color can be changed. Warped, stained, or termite ingested planks can be closely matched and replaced, no problem. Squeaky boards can be silenced. Gaps can be filled, knots can be patched. With all of these solutions, why would anyone choose to replace a hardwood floor?
Refinishing a floor takes a lot of time. All of the furniture needs to be removed from the room. The wood needs to be sanded bare. If structural or cosmetic repairs need to be made, they must be completed before staining and coating begins. During the week that all of this is going on nothing else can happen in that room. Dogs cannot walk through and sniff everything, children cannot bounce their balls, dust is everywhere and smell is enough to kill you. Well not really, but you get the idea. All of this time and trouble is reason enough for some homeowners to prefer having the old floor ripped out to put in something fresh and new.
Although most problems can be addressed and fixed without replacing the entire floor, there are some exceptions.
- Structural concerns – These problems need to be addressed directly, which usually requires ripping up the floor.
- Movement – Refinishing the floor with boards that are moving around a lot will only make things worse.
- Damage – If more than 30% of the boards have sustained some kind of damage, such as warping, chipping, unsightly stains, or termite damage, the time and effort spent replacing that much of the floor would be too cumbersome. Replacement would make more sense.
- Wear – If the floor has been refinished too many times before, you will begin to see the grooves in the planks and nails. Even if this is only visible in some areas, sanding the wood down will no doubt reveal more making replacement more of a requirement than a choice.
The number one reason homeowners choose to replace their floors is to change the overall look.
- Fashion – Parquet kitchen tiles that once were cute aren’t very fashionable today. The modern touch involves using wide planks to make the room seem larger.
- Species – The oak that is prevalent in American homes pales in comparison to designer applications of Brazilian Tigerwood and cork.
- Artistry – Implementing a creative herringbone border, an artistic inlay or pattern warrants laying down a new canvas.
- Direction – Many installations feature diagonal placement of the wood making the room seem more spacious.
The advantages of hardwood flooring are limitless. At the top of the list is comparable cost over time. Although a significant investment may be required to install hardwood flooring initially, it is unlikely that you will ever have to replace it.
It can be sanded down and refinished 5, 6, even 7 times and if maintained properly, you won’t even have to do that for 20 years. Refinishing a floor may be messy and troublesome but most homeowners learn to live with it. After all, it costs five times as much to replace a floor than it does to refinish it. Isn’t that reason enough?