Should You Restore Or Replace Your Wood Floor?
Due to the barrage of abuse that comes down on wood floors over the course of their life, the surface gradually gets deteriorated, losing its charm. However, unlike other flooring options with wood you have the opportunity to give it a new look and feel by simply having it sanded and refinished. Through the sanding process, those old treatment layers that had been applied on the unit are grinded off, exposing the bare wood underneath. New wood stains, sealants and lacquers can then be applied, based on one’s individual preference, and the durability requirements of the installation. However, there are situations where the damage is so extensive that the only feasible way out is replacing the floor itself, and having new boards installed. How do you make the distinction? Let us look into factors that you should consider:
- Age of the floor
When did you have it installed, and how many rounds of floor sanding and refinishing has it been taken through? Wood floors have a limited number of times in which they can be restored, and this will be largely determined by the thickness of the wear layer. Solid hardwood installations can also be taken through more restoration cycles – even as many as 7, compared to the engineered wood floors where it’s typically 2-3 times. Wood floors that have been in place for decades may also have additional issues like cracks between the planks, which are too large for filler product to be used. As such, it is more practical for the very old floors to be replaced.
Is the issue simply a dull and dilapidated floor, where the finish coats have worn out and lost their sheen? A floor sanding here will remove those old layers, preparing the surface for the new ones to be applied. There are also those situations where you want to change the colour scheme of the house. You don’t need to have the bords replaced here. Simply have the sanding carried out, and apply the wood stain that matches your new style and preference. For those set-in stains as well that got adhered to the floor surface, the issue will be resolved through the sanding and refinishing, allowing you to have a fresh and vibrant installation. However, if core features of the floor boards need to be changed – like if you want the planks to face a different direction, or even for those scenarios where you desire a different type of wood species, then a complete replacement will be required.
- Extent of water damage
Water damage on wood floors can lead to different effects, from cupping and crowning, to warping and even mould growing on the unit. If the extent of the physical distortions is small – like having the floorboards just slightly cupping or crowning, this can be resolved with the sanding and refinishing. Note that the cause of the water damage should first be addressed and the wood allowed to stabilize. Having the floor sanding done too early can lead to depression in the boards later on as the wood loses its moisture.
One particular sign you should be on the lookout for is greying of the floorboards. This occurs when the wood floor absorbs moisture and oxidation happens, due to the polyurethane finish coats that had been applied wearing off. The grey discolouration will gradually increase in depth, and the floor sanding should be carried out as soon as possible. If ignored, the boards will end up turning black. At this moment, the affected floorboards will need to be replaced.
Definitely, price will also have to factor in. How much are you willing to spend on the renovation project? Is it to spruce up the home, or are you potting the property out on the market? If it is a real estate venture, how much ROI will you get from having new floors installed, compared to simply doing a refinishing job? The floor sanding and refinishing is the more affordable option, since it only involves removing those old finish coats, and then having new treatments applied – and this will still give the floor a different look that accentuates the space.
The contractor given the job of sanding and refinishing the floor will be a key determinant in the success of the project. There are different companies that offer the services, and there are considerations that will need to be made. Take their online presence for instance. In today’s world, you want to engage with a firm that has a solid online presence, where you can also look through the feedback of previous customers. Pictures of their past jobs on the site will also go further to showcase their level of workmanship – but don’t stop there. Go over the review sections of their social media handles, and even business directly listings, to see what people have to say about the firm. When talking to the company representative, ask about the training and certification of the employees, as well as how long it has been in operation.
What about the insurance? Given that accidents can happen – even with the most established companies, insurance comes in to protect you from liabilities. That way, in case there is an accident, you won’t find yourself footing the bill for costly repairs. The insurance should also include worker’s compensation. After all, a company that takes care of its personnel is more likely to take care of you as well. When it comes to the cost, note that this will vary based on your individual situation. However, you can get a general estimate by comparing the rates of different providers. A contractor with rock-bottom prices should be a red flag, since they may be compromising on the quality of the services in order to offer rates that are way cheaper than their competitors. A site visit is also recommended before getting the final quotation, that way the condition of your property can be accurately assessed.