How Often Should Hardwood Floors Be Refinished?

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How Often Do Hardwood Floors Need Refinished?

Do Hardwood Floors Need to Be Refinished Often?

A hardwood floor is one of the most significant investments you can make for your home. If your desire is to extend their life and have them around for years to come, they should be professionally maintained routinely. So how often should hardwood floors be refinished? Read on to learn more.

Hardwood floors are beautiful, but they need a lot of love and care. They’re vulnerable to scratches and scuffs from furniture, pet nails, and even spills. If left untreated, these problems will escalate into deep gouges that will need to be sanded out. Unfortunately, it’s not best practice to just sand one spot because that will leave a divet low spot and will be noticeable. So when deeper scratches and gouges occur, the only real option is to sand the entire floor. Luckily, there are some simple ways that help you prevent your wood from getting damaged in the first place and save on repair costs down the road.

Are there different kinds of Hardwood Floor Refinishing Services?

As far as we’re concerned, “refinishing” is a multi-meaning term used in the industry. A lot of customers use this term to mean the same thing. So we’ll break it down a little further so that one can understand the differences in services.

  • Sandless Hardwood Floor Refinishing – This is a type of refinishing service where either sanding isn’t required, or sanding cannot be done due to the floors having been sanded too many times. Hardwood can only be sanded so many times before sanding is no longer an option. This is because the wear layer is down close to the tongue and grooves and sanding any further would damage the floors permanently. In such a case, we would recommend a service called “Screen and Recoat“. Screening and recoat will abrade the surface so that the new refinish will bond to it. It’s generally less expensive than a full sanding.
  • Hardwood Flooring Refinishing with Sanding – This is the type of wood floor refinishing service where sanding can be done and is necessary. Sanding is required when scratches, gouges, water damage, and other major damage has occurred. This is a service where the entire surface is sanded down to bare wood, and either stained at that juncture and/or several coats of new finish is applied.
  • Hardwood Floor Restoration – This is the type of service, that although still falls under refinishing, is necessary when floors have been neglected for years. When floor planks are cupped, uneven, and have water or pet stain damage, restoration is required. Restoration involves first flattening the wood floors. Aggressive sanding is required to make the floor flat and uniform. Once the floors are flat, minor repairs can be done such as wood fillers, new plank install, and bleaching moisture damage. Then either stain can be applied or if the homeowner prefers the natural color of the wood we’ll just apply topcoats. Sometimes when a restore is performed, the floors might not be a good candidate for the natural color of the wood due to imperfections and blemishes. The homeowner has the option to go with a darker color stain that will mask those areas.

Refinishing Hardwood Floors How Often

But How Often Should You Refinish?

A general rule of thumb is to refinish your floors about once every three years on average. It’ll depend on the type of topcoat that you currently have. Polyurethane finishes which are water-based, have an average lifespan of 3 to 5 years. Another thing to keep in mind is family size, high traffic areas, pets, kids, and other activities that may shorten the lifespan of the protective layer.  Simply inspect your floors once every 3 months for thinning protective layers. If you notice new scratches are appearing in areas, it might be time to have them assessed. Consider visually checking high traffic areas, entrances, and where your pets dwell often. By having them maintained on a regular basis, you’ll keep them looking nice and shiny while also protecting against stains and preventing new scratches or punctures.

How Do I Maintain My Hardwood Floors?

The best way for you to maintain your hardwood floors is by cleaning them routinely. For water-based protective layers, we recommend only using a PH-neutral cleaner without residues. Use a microfiber mop for best results. Just lightly mist the floors with the cleaner, and mop up.  A common mistake we see often in this industry is homeowners resorting to store-bought rejuvenators when their floors look dull and lack shine. These cleaners leave residues and make things worse over time. When your floors look dull and lack a nice sheen, then it’s time to have them accessed for refinishing.

What Can Happen If I Don’t Refinish My Floors?

Refinishing your floors periodically will extend their life and maintain their appearance. Without the protection of regular refinishing, wood floors can start to look dull and unattractive. Neglected wood floors may also have stains or scratches from foot traffic, furniture movement, and pet nails. If not careful, these damages can burrow into the fibers of the wood flooring causing deep gouges that will require sanding out. These deep gouges are difficult to repair and will often leave a noticeable scar in the floor. Fortunately, this is something that can be prevented with regular refinishing.

How Much Does a Hardwood Floor Refinishing Cost?

Refinishing hardwood floors is a great way to extend the life of your floors indefinitely. The cost to refinish hardwoods is generally between $2 to $5 per square foot. This will vary depending on which services you decide, as well as the type of floor, thickness, and degree of damage. For example, a screen and recoat refinishing is between $1.75 to $2.25 per square foot, whereas a restoration can be between $5 to $6 a square foot. It just depends on the service you decide on. Keep in mind that there are many factors that influence pricing–like location and size of the floor–but this gives you a rough idea. We go into more depth in this article “The Cost of Hardwood Floor Refinishing“.

Conclusion – Best Practices

When it comes to hardwood floor refinishing, there are a lot of factors to consider. A hardwood floor’s finish will eventually wear down and start to show signs of wear and tear. The more often you refinish your floors, the longer they will last. There is no one hard and fast rule on how often you should refinish your floors, just keep in mind that polyurethane has a lifespan of 3 to 5 years. Every homeowner’s environment is different. It all depends on how much you use the floors and what type of finish you have. It also depends on other factors like climate. Places that tend to have higher humidity might need to be assessed more frequently. If you live in a dry climate, for example, you may need to refinish your floors every five years or so. If you have pets or kids or if you want a more durable finish then you may want to go with a harder wearing finish that will need to be refinished less frequently.

About Us

Keystone Hardwood Floor Care, Inc is dedicated to providing premium quality services for Fort Wayne, IN, within a 60+-mile radius. We provide wood floor services such as annual maintenance plans, refinishing hardwood floors, and restoration. Contact us today with your questions.

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