Hardwood floors are a durable and strong material that, when installed properly, should last a long time. In fact, its long lifespan is one of the greatest benefits of hardwood flooring! They can be refinished 6-10 times before they’ll actually need to be replaced. Refinishing your floors allows you to change the color, replace warped or cracked boards, fill gaps, etc. However, if your floors are on the older side, and you’re unsure of how many times they’ve been refinished before you moved in- How can you tell if the right decision is to refinish or replace? Refinishing will save you money, but in some cases, replacing will be the better option. Keep reading to learn more about how to determine which is the right decision, refinish or replace, for your hardwood floors. 

Can All Hardwood Be Refinished?

Not all hardwood floors will be able to be refinished and turn out good as new. While refinishing would be our go-to answer for many floors that have minor scratches, chips, or stains, there are some cases that we’d consider to be beyond refinishing. If your floors have extreme wear and tear, sanding the wood will likely just reveal more problems, leading you to a full replacement after all.  So, what types of damage can’t be fixed with refinishing, and therefore need a full replacement?

Structural Damage

If your home has experienced any sort of structural damage, it will affect your hardwood floors. Beneath the hardwood is a layer called the subfloor, which is typically made from standard plywood. Right below the subfloor is the floor joist which makes up the structure of your floor. When structural damage occurs, your existing hardwood floors would have to be ripped up in order to access the floor joists. Once the structural repairs are made, you’ll be able to determine if it’s possible to salvage the old wood, but in most cases, this will mean it’s time for a replacement. 

Warping, Cupping & Pests

If your flooring has severe damage, due to warping, cupping, or pests, it’s usually a clear indicator that it’s time for a replacement. Warping and cupping are typically caused by moisture damage, whether it be from humidity or hidden leaks. Cupping will make the hardwood plans rise on the edge and sink in the middle, also known as “washboarding.” This isn’t quite as severe as warping, because it sometimes can be corrected with a rebalance of the humidity. However, warping, which is also caused by excess water and in extreme circumstances, flooding, will almost always result in your hardwood being beyond saving. Pests, such as termites, can also cause a great deal of damage to your floors. These types of damage will usually call for a full replacement for your hardwood floors. 

Consider the Aesthetics

Sometimes homeowners choose to replace there hardwood floors rather than refinish, simply because of aesthetics. While you can sand and stain hardwood floors to change the color, perhaps the pattern is outdated or the species is just not matching your current decor. Whether you want to implement a new pattern or directional placement for your hardwood, this will require a replacement. 

Contact Central Mass Hardwood for a Custom Quote

If you’re considering refinishing or replacing your hardwood floors, let the experts at Central Mass Hardwood help! We can help determine which is the best option for your floors. Fill out an online form to get in touch, or give us a call at (508) 460-0199 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.