Having high-quality hardwood floors increases your home’s value, and so it’s important to keep them in good condition. However, it can be difficult determining if you need to get your floors refinished. Do a few scratches from moving furniture or your pets running around the house warrant redoing your floors? Keep reading to learn more about when to redo your floors, how much it will cost, how long the project will take, and more.
When to redo hardwood floors
Most hardwood floors start showing their age after twenty years. You should consider refinishing your floors when you notice scratches, dullness, and discoloring. Thankfully, most ¾-inch-thick hardwood floors can be sanded six to eight times in its lifetime. If only a certain part of the floor looks dull and scratched, just do a light sanding and sealing in that area. You don’t have to refinish the whole floor.
If your floor doesn’t have any deep gouges and the finish hasn’t completely worn through, you might not need to get them refinished. Instead, you can get them rescreened. With rescreening, a machine lightly sands the existing finish, the floor is buffed, and then a new coat of polyurethane is applied. This is sometimes called a “screen and poly” job or “maintenance coat,” and it can save you about 50 percent off the cost of full refinishing. Since it doesn’t remove any wood, there is no limit to how many times it can be done. (Note: This isn’t the same thing as “sandless” hardwood floor refinishing.)
Also, if the floor shows signs of damage, such as warped or bent floorboards, extensive stains, or squeaky spots, hiring a contractor to repair it is recommended before you refinish it.
Why redo hardwood floors?
You should redo your hardwood floors to restore the hardwood floor’s original appearance and shine, blend it with newly added wood, or change its color or finish.
How to redo hardwood floors
You need at least 1/32 of an inch of wood on the top of your floors to sand them. You can’t refinish laminated wood floors. You might be able to refinish an engineered wood floor, depending on the finish and the thickness of the top layer.
Refinishing hardwood floors is complicated—and sanding incorrectly can cause permanent damage—and so we recommend hiring a professional.
How to redo hardwood floors at a low cost
While it may seem cheaper to redo floors yourself, it can end up costing you more, in time and money, and so you should hire a professional.
Most floor refinishers charge by the square foot. Prices vary based on region, your home’s accessibility (e.g. if you live somewhere where parking is a challenge, if you live in an apartment building with an elevator), the size of the project, and the work you want done. You might spend anywhere between $2.50 and $5.25 per square foot for sanding, staining, and three coats of finish.
Can you live in your house while having your hardwood floors redone?
Because of the dust, odor and general disruption, we recommend moving out of the house for several days while the work is being done.
However, if do you choose to stay in your home, here’s what you should take into consideration: the rooms will have to be fully cleared; your living space will be reduced to an untreated area; the equipment will be noisy; stain is usually applied in two coats, creating a strong odor; after the stain is dry, three or more layers of polyurethane coating will be applied, and that also will have a strong odor; you’ll have to be strategic about moving rooms until the project is complete.
How long does it take to redo hardwood floors?
Allow three to seven days for the project. Specific length depends on several factors, such as how much flooring is involved; the extent of damage to the original floor; your specifications; and the contractor’s requirements.
When should you do this project?
You can refinish floors anytime, but if you’re planning on storing furniture outside, be sure to avoid rainy weather.
How to choose a hardwood floor refinishing company
Get referrals from trusted friends and professionals, check references, and go see the company’s previous work. You can also look for a contractor with the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) Certified Sand and Finisher designation.
When calling companies, be sure to ask them:
- How long they’ve been in business
- If they use a dust control system
- What kind of polyurethane they prefer.
Interview at least three contractors, and get three competitive bids. Make sure that anyone you hire is properly insured and licensed, and that every detail is written into the contract. Get a quote instead of an estimate, and ask about what kinds of unexpected costs can come up.
Hire M Craft for your refinishing project
At M Craft, we are committed to outstanding customer service and the highest quality of work. Our Chicago and suburban Chicago team is made up of experienced and skilled individuals in the areas of interior design and home construction, with specialists in the areas of hardwood flooring installation, hardwood sanding, hardwood staircase installation and refinishing, wood handrails, quality assurance, and more. We work hard to differentiate ourselves from the competition through our dedicated business practices. Read what clients have said about working with us.