If your hardwood flooring is worn, it can be tough to decide whether to hire someone to refinish the floors or replace them. Each option offers benefits, and the decision will depend on the circumstances. Here’s what you need to know before deciding.

What Is Floor Refinishing?

Real hardwood flooring can be refinished 4-5 times, depending on the wear layer, to make the surface look like new. The process involves sanding down to raw wood to remove imperfections and markings, leaving the exposed layer looking fresh. Many homeowners refinish floors to mitigate stains and chips, while others want to use a different stain color to update their interior look.

Refinishing vs. Replacing

The condition of the flooring is the most significant factor when choosing to refinish the existing material or install a replacement. If the current planks are salvageable with sanding, refinishing is often the better choice. For flooring that has signs of rot or water damage, it’s best to replace the damaged areas or the entire flooring to promote continuity and longevity.

If you’re looking to improve your interior design, refinishing can bring a shine to the room. However, if you’d like to adjust the wood style or the size of the planks, install an entirely new floor.

Hardwood that is decades old and has already been sanded down many times cannot be refinished without destabilizing the flooring. Thus, take the age of the material into account.

If you’re looking for the quickest option, install new boards, as ripping up the old ones and putting in updated materials will often be faster. Refinishing older wood with many stains, scratches, or areas that need patching may take a week or more, while a new installation often requires just a few hours or days if you select prefinished floors. This also depends on the square footage. If you do install unfinished floors, they will have to be sanded and stained. This process will take longer than a refinish. Always things to take into account when choosing the floors that best fit not just your budget, but your schedule as well.