Hardwood floors are an excellent investment to increase the value of your home. One of the many benefits of hardwood floors is damage can be refinished to increase the lifespan. They offer a timeless look that draws in buyers. But how do you know when your floors can be refinished and when they should be completely replaced?


Quality hardwood floors can be sanded down and refinished about 6 times in their lifetime before needing to be replaced. Refinishing can cover up most surface problems like scratches or minor dents. During the refinishing process, you can also completely change your floor color if you’d like, which can be appealing if you’re not in love with the current stain. Refinishing also allows you to replace a small number of problem boards and so that they blend in with the rest of your floor.

Refinishing floors is done through sanding off all layers of the wood, including the stain, and then adding a new stain and protective coat to each board. The sanding and staining process will take about a week, and the rooms being refinished will be completely off-limits during this time.

The biggest benefit of refinishing over replacing is the cost. Refinishing typically costs about 5 times less than brand new floors. However, costs can differ depending on what upgrades you want for your floors.

When to Replace?

If you look around at your floors and decide you really don’t like anything about the look of your wood, it may be much simpler to replace. While you can change some of the aesthetic of your floor through refinishing, you won’t be able to change the board length, width, finish, direction, material, etc. If you’d prefer to change more than your floor’s coloring, replacing might be your best option.

Most minor flooring problems can be covered through refinishing, but there comes a time where refinishing just isn’t an option:

  • Severe Wear and Damage: If more than 30% of your floorboards have major damage such as chipping or warping, a total replacement makes more sense than trying to individually fix the boards.
  • Moving Floorboards: Refinishing won’t fix gaps between the boards that cause movement and wiggling.
  • Structural Damage: Sanding and restaining boards won’t fix issues underneath the wood. If there’s a possibility of framing problems, it’s best to remove the floorboards and address these issues directly.
If you’re ready to replace your hardwood floors and get a fresh start, visit FloorQuest. We’ve got dozens of finishes and looks to choose from to create your perfect space.