Hardwood floors can last a lifetime if properly maintained. At some point though, you will need to replace wood flooring that has been sanded and refinished too many times or has too many dings, scratches and wear. This week, let’s examine what are all the reasons you should replace wood flooring instead of trying to refinish it.

Reasons to Replace Wood Flooring

  • It’s been refinished five or more times throughout its life
  • The floor squeaks excessively
  • The tongue is visible
  • You have limited time
  • Numerous boards are missing and/or rotten

Multiple Previous Finishes

Each time a floor is refinished, it is sanded to remove dings, scratches and dents. This reduces the thickness of the wood. After a wood floor has been refinished several times, the tongues that connect the boards together can become visible. At this point, the wood is compromised and you should replace wood flooring.

Excessively Old Wood Floors

Old floors that were laid more than 100 years ago should be removed and replaced. These floors tend to squeak more and the subfloors usually need repaired, which can only happen once the wood flooring is removed. Of course, it also depends on the species of wood used to create the floor. Pine floors do not last as long as oak floors due to the wood being softer. If your floors are very old, you should replace wood flooring.

Limited Time

Refinishing a wood floor involves sanding the current stain off the floor and removing dings, dents and scratches. This can create wood dust that floats throughout the house. Once the floors are sanded, they must be thoroughly swept and cleaned before the stain and sealants can be applied. Stains, sealants and glosses must be given time to adequately dry, and drying times on containers are not always accurate, depending on the humidity and the air circulation throughout the home. If you don’t have the time or desire to refinish, then you should replace wood flooring.

The decision whether or not to replace wood flooring should be based on the condition of the existing wood flooring and subflooring, cost and time. Many individuals find it more practical to simply remove the old floor and replace it with new hardwood. Also when you replace wood flooring, you will be able to add in new features that may not have been available when your wood floors were originally installed. These include insulation, moisture barriers, sound barriers and even heating options.

Tip from an Expert:
Another option to refinishing is “Re-coating” This process involves using a bonding chemical that simply allows the application of another coat of finish to a dull floor or slightly scratched floor. This is a good option for lightly worn floors where you do not wish to have any dust during the process. Since it involves the use of a chemical bonding agent, there is no buffing or sanding.

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