Hardwood Floor Refinishing – What You Need to Know


New Hardwood Floor, hardwood floor refinishing

There are many flooring options available in today’s modern world, but anyone with high-quality hardwood flooring knows that its beauty is unmatched. The shiny, healthy wood and the fresh smell filling your home are trademarks every hardwood floor owner knows all too well. Refinishing your hardwood flooring can bring the sparkling shine back into your floors.

Hardwood flooring is praised for its longevity and durability. If it is so great, why would anyone think about refinishing their hardwood flooring? Hardwood flooring refinishing is the process of sanding the top layer of an existing hardwood floor and applying a new stain.

This is done for a variety of reasons and varies from improving aesthetics to necessity.

Why Refinish Your Hardwood Flooring?

Scratches and Unevenness

Slight, minor scratches on your hardwood flooring are not big deals to most property owners. When those small scratches turn into deep dents and marks, then the owner might consider refinishing their hardwood floors to get an even, scratch-free finish.

Children, pets, moving furniture and everyday living can cause severe damage that can be difficult to hide. Oftentimes, just polishing the floor is not enough to hide the imperfection as the scratches are in the actual wood and not only the stain. Also, leaving deep scratches in the flooring can lead to the bigger issue of water entering the wood through that opening.

Water Damage

One of the fastest ways to damage your hardwood flooring is water damage. Water damage can come in the form of leaks, flooding, and leaving water standing for long periods of time. If this damage is minor, confined to a small space and if the wood is not buckled or warped, you can get away with sanding and refinishing the floors.

If you’re lucky, the water damage to your hardwood flooring only results in discoloration or staining of the wood. If the damage is more severe, you will have to consider replacing the wood.

Discolored wood

The discoloration of your hardwood flooring can be caused by water damage, exposure to heat and moisture, among other things. While some change to your hardwood is expected as the years go by, a gray discoloration is not a good sign. It means that your floors are damaged.

If your flooring is many years old, the polyurethane coating may have worn off and allowed water and moisture to seep in. Water is oxidized by wood and this results in the gray discoloration and damage to the floor. Over time, this will change from gray to black. While we are able to restore some floors even at this point, for a lot of them, refinishing will not be an option, you will have to replace the wood.

Dull finish

Wood floors have a signature shine that everyone loves. Unfortunately, sometimes you can look as hard and as long as you want, but that shine is nowhere to be seen. If you’ve tried polishing your floors and it’s still looking dull, it may be time to refinish the floor and apply a new stain to bring the life back into your hardwood floor.

Change the look of your floor

Many property owners love to change the look and decor of their properties every now and then. One of the benefits of hardwood flooring is its versatility. Hardwood flooring can be refinished and restrained to match any decor or theme.

If you have floors that are in good shape, you don’t have to pay to have the floors replaced, save your money by simply having them refinished and restained to match your new decor.

It’s cheaper than replacing your flooring

With all the other expenses that come with owning a property, no one wants to spend unnecessarily. If your hardwood flooring is healthy and is in good condition, lower your sprucing-up costs by more than half by refinishing your floors instead of replacing them.

What to Expect

Refinishing your hardwood flooring is a drastic step. It is important to seek the advice of a flooring professional to take on your refinishing project. The flooring professional or flooring contractor can outline the necessary steps and let you know what to expect.

The tasks for your refinishing project may vary depending on the level of damage, but generally, the steps for refinishing are as follows:

  • Sanding off the top layer
  • Buffing the wood
  • Stripping the wood
  • Filling in gaps with floor putty
  • Gluing
  • Staining the wood
  • Wall trimming
  • Dual-coated polyurethane refinishing

Types of Finish

The health of your hardwood floor is dependent on many factors, one of those is the type of finish you use. Your flooring expert will guide you on the type of finish to use based on the level of humidity in your property, exposure to various factors and how water, oil, synthetics and stains all interact with each other.

The most common finishes used are:

  • Oil-Modified Urethane – this is the most common finish used today. It is a petroleum-based finish with film-forming ingredients which results in a moisture-resistant, durable surface.
  • Moisture-Cured Urethane – Though these finishes are difficult to apply for the average person, they are more durable and moisture-resistant than other finishes. If this finish is chosen, your flooring expert will take great care to expertly apply this and your floors will be left with a beautiful satin or gloss sheen.
  • Water-Based Urethane – These are often more expensive than other finishes, but they have a milder odor and dry in two to three hours.

Other finishes include wax, varnish, lacquer and shellac. All these finishes are good for different reasons. Discuss the options with your flooring expert and figure out the best solution for your property.

DIY project or professional needed?

There are some tasks that a property owner can tackle all on their own, refinishing your hardwood flooring is not one of those.

If it is not done properly, you can end up damaging your flooring and doing more harm than good. It is important to sand your floors without thinning them and to apply the stain evenly; a professional will know how to do this. The professional will also be able to assess whether your floor is a good candidate for refinishing.

Speak to the experts at Supreme Hardwood Floor Inc. We have served Austin and the surrounding areas for over 15 years, dealing with floors in unique scenarios. Call us to find out how we can help with your refinishing project.