Refinishing Hardwood Floors vs Replacing Them



Wood flooring has an astounding lifespan. With proper maintenance, a hardwood floor can last over a century. However, even these long-lived floors need to be refinished or replaced from time to time.


Refinishing hardwood should be done every decade or two, and extensive damage or age might demand that the floors be replaced. When your floorboards are looking worse for wear, you need to determine whether refinishing or replacement is the right path to take.


Pros and Cons of Refinishing Hardwood Floors

If your hardwood floors are showing scratches, scuffs and other signs of normal wear and tear, getting them refinished may be the best option. There are both positive and negative aspects of this decision.


Pros of Hardwood Refinishing

  • Refinishing your floors is more cost-effective than replacing them. Average replacement costs are between $2 and $5 per square foot, whereas replacement can run from $5 to $10 per square foot when you include labor.

  • Refinishing is a great option if you like your flooring as it is or are only looking for a moderate change. It won't change the layout or overall style of your flooring, but it offers some options in changing texture or color.

Cons of Refinishing Hardwood

  • If you are hankering for a major change, refinishing your floors won't give you that. It's the natural downside of a type of flooring that can last a hundred years or more.

  • The process of refinishing hardwood can be inconvenient. It takes a lot of time and makes a pretty big mess along the way. Those who are sensitive to dust or the chemicals used in stripping and refinishing might struggle to remain in the home while the process is ongoing.

  • Refinishing cannot address more serious issues such as water damage, warping, gapping or structural damage. It is useful in correcting normal wear and tear only.

Pros and Cons of Replacing Hardwood Floors

Despite their durability, there are instances when replacing a hardwood floor is preferable to refinishing it. Here, too, you need to balance the upsides with the down.


Pros of Replacing Hardwood Flooring

  • Although a new hardwood floor is a big-ticket item, you are getting a floor that will last for many years.

  • New hardwoods add instant resale value to your home. If you do decide to sell, you can count on recovering roughly 75% of the cost.

  • Replacing your hardwoods allows you to completely update your flooring design. You can go with a wider plank, a hand-carved texture, or a lighter or darker stain. You can even choose a completely different layout, such as a diagonal or herringbone pattern.

Cons of Hardwood Flooring Replacement

  • Replacing your hardwood floors is pricey. You will need to pay not only the cost of the new floor but also the labor costs to have the old floor removed. It's a good investment, but it is a sizeable one.

  • Your new hardwood floors will be vulnerable to the same issues as your old ones. You need to be careful with exposure to moisture, and you'll need to get the floor refinished periodically to maintain its look and durability.

  • Depending on how many rooms of flooring you are having removed and replaced, this could represent a major disruption in your daily life. As with refinishing hardwood, if there are members of the household who are sensitive to construction byproducts, you may need to seek accommodations elsewhere for a day or so.

Whether you choose to refinish your hardwood floors or replace them, you can rest comfortably knowing that your flooring will last a lifetime. The hardwood experts at Blue Ridge Floors can help you weigh the pros and cons of your flooring choices and carry out your plans quickly and skillfully.

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