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Should I Refinish Or Replace My Hardwood Floors?

Is your hardwood flooring looking too dull or lackluster? Can’t decide whether you should get it refinished or replaced entirely?

In most cases, hardwood floor refinishing seems like the best way to go. It’s the cheaper and more convenient option because replacing hardwood floors consumes a lot of time and involves removing all the furniture. However, if you’re trying to restore the original coating and sheen of your floor, in the case of extreme damage, a hardwood floor replacement would make more sense.

Let’s take a look at the main differences between the two so you can make a more informed decision.

Refinishing Vs. Replacing Your Hardwood Floors

The essential difference is that hardwood flooring refinishing involves restoring the finish of the hardwood floor while replacing involves, well, replacing them entirely. To be a bit more specific, so you know exactly what both options will entail, here’s how the process goes.

When refinishing, the floor has to be cleaned, first with a floor cleaner and then sandpaper to remove stains. The planks are then buffed to smooth them out, sometimes stained and/or resealed. To do this at home yourself, you’ll need to invest in high-quality floor maintenance equipment.

As for replacing the hardwood floor, once the planks are ripped off, the subflooring needs to be vacuumed to remove debris. A roofing felt is used as a moisture barrier and stapled to the subfloor. Then, after a dry run to figure out the layout and size, the new planks can be nailed down.

Pros And Cons Of Refinishing Your Hardwood Floor


Saves Money

Refinishing is usually the cheaper option because it doesn’t involve having to purchase new wood planks and there are no installation charges.

Less Time Consuming

If done yourself, refinishing should take a few hours, while professional work will take a few days as it does involve a more extensive process with industry-grade equipment.

Less Clean Up

Floor sanding produces a much smaller mess compared to the work involved in installing new hardwood planks.

Upgrades the Look of Your Hardwood Floor

Refinishing will help your hardwood floor to retain its texture and accentuate the warm or cool undertones of the color.


Does Not Repair Damages

Refinishing is not always an alternative to replacing the flooring; you have to consider its age, condition, and several other factors.

Risk Of Damage

Refinishing floors as a DIY project is not as easy as you might think, and you run the risk of damaging the wood and making things worse. A professional's touch can greatly help mitigate this risk with their tools and technique.

Pros And Cons Of Replacing Your Hardwood Floor


Brand New Floor

The first and most obvious advantage is that you’ll have a gleaming new scratch-free floor.

Keep Up With Interior Design Trends

Your home is your sanctuary. Any money or effort spent towards improving it is an investment. Replacing the hardwood floor will get you the newest and improved designs on the market.

Won’t Need Refinishing For A While

Old floorings may require refinishing more frequently on account of being worn out and fragile. After a complete replacement, however, it’ll be much longer before you need to refinish.

Takes Care Of Irreparable Damage

Not all floor types can be repaired, especially past a certain age.

Reduce Hazard

Damaged floors with sharp or rough edges can be hazardous to kids and pets. It’s important to replace them if they’re more than 30% damaged.


Time Consuming

Depending on your floor area, replacing the hardwood floor can take up quite a few days to complete. You’d have to pull out the old planks, contact a disposal service, and rebuild or refinish the subfloors before you get to putting in the new planks.


You would have to remove all your furniture and find a place to stay until the process is over.


If you go with a reputed and professional service, it will be expensive but worth the money.

Important Considerations

It’s crucial you make the right call. You don’t want to spend time and money on hardware floor repair, only to have to replace it because the damages were too deep. On the other hand, you also don’t want to break the budget and get new hardwood flooring when it’s not needed.

Here are some of the important things to consider when weighing the two options.

Age Of Hardwood

This is one of the most important factors to take into account. If your hardwood floor has been in place for decades, it may be time for a new hardwood floor installation. Wood is a biological material and is thus subject to decay and rot, especially in humid conditions. Over time, the integrity of the flooring will weaken and can even pose a potential hazard.

Condition Of the Hardwood and Nature Of Damage

Some forms of damage cannot be solved through refinishing alone. For instance, if there are structural damages to the frame of your floor, you’ll need to rip all the planks out to fix it. If your hardwood floor moves or wiggles a lot when you step over the planks, again, refinishing won’t help. Other possible conditions that cannot be solved by repairing include termite infestation, chipping, and large gaps.

Expenses and Budget

Price is the most important thing to consider but only when you actually have a choice between replacing and repairing. If the damages are too deep, you may need to work out a way to expand your budget.

Species of Hardwood

Certain species of hardwood that are commonly used such as cedar and spruce are more prone to damage. Engineered hardwood, on the other hand, is a lot more durable and can even withstand water damage. So if your hardwood floor is made of low quality wood, it may be better to replace rather than fix it.

Trend Changes In Interior Design

If you’re the kind of person who pays attention to the aesthetics of your flooring, new trends can be a reasonable cause to change your flooring too.

Water Damage

Damage due to water or even humidity alone is probably the biggest disadvantage of owning a hardwood floor. The wood soaks up moisture, causing warping or separating. This cannot be fixed by refinishing.

Expert Hardwood Floor Refinishing Cincinnati: Your Hardwood Flooring Solution

Deciding whether to refinish or replace your hardwood floors is a tough choice. Sometimes, a set of professional eyes can help you better assess which would be the most suitable option.

We, at Expert Hardwood Floor Refinishing Cincinnati, have established ourselves as the best in the business. Whether you want to refinish your floorings or replace it, we offer high-quality services to make your hardwood floors sparkling new!

Contact us today!

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