how to tell if your hardwood floors need refinishing

how to tell if your hardwood floors need refinishing

Hardwood flooring has always been – and will likely always be – a popular choice for homeowners. It’s attractive, long-lasting, and timeless. However, it’s not perfect. Over time, you’ll need to schedule professional hardwood floor refinishing if you want the boards to retain their warm beauty.

Wondering if it’s time to make that appointment?

Let’s talk about the top five questions you need to answer to understand if you need hardwood floor refinishing. If your answer is “yes” to any of these queries, we’re here to help you out.

Are Your Floors Excessively Scratched?

Facing a big hardwood floor refinishing cost might not seem worth it at first, but if your floors are scratched, the cost and state of your floor are only going to worsen.

All hardwood floors incur scratches over time. Some might be easy to overlook. Others? Not so much. It’s up to you to determine when the scratches are severe and when hardwood floor refinishing is necessary.

Usually, we tell our clients that scratches showing through your floor’s stain are a visible call for refinishing. You might be tempted to cover up the ugly areas with a rug, but if the scratch is deep and penetrating the wood beneath, that’s not a great idea. Refinishing will improve your floors’ appearance and prevent bad scratches from impacting the overall health of the wood.

What causes the most scratches on your hardwood floors? Typically, you’ll face problems with:

  • Moving furniture around.
  • Pets and their claws.
  • Heavy traffic in one area of the house.
  • Dropping sharp or significant objects.
  • Spiky/pointy shoes (like stilettos).
  • Chairs or other furniture with rollers.

If you choose to ignore excessive scratches for too long, the floor’s damage can allow water to seep in and cause severe damage. Once floors are water damaged, there’s no going back. Take a proactive stance by refinishing the floors before long-term damage has occurred.

Not ready to schedule your refinishing appointment just yet?

We recommend keeping an eye on large chips, gouges, and scratches. Watch for signs that they’re worsening or that water damage is occurring. If that happens, you’ll need to act quickly to minimize the permanent damage.

Have You Experienced Water Damage or Stains?

Speaking of water and floors, let’s talk about what liquid and stains have to do with hardwood floor refinishing.

Water damage is one of the biggest problems with hardwood floors. Your boards might look beautiful, but moisture can wreak havoc and leave you facing severe consequences, even with reasonably small spills or leaks.

Fortunately, hardwood stains are one of the things that prevent water damage. A professional stain/seal prevents spills from actually soaking into your wooden boards. Sure, significant plumbing issues or flooding can still ruin your hardwoods, but an in-tact stain still provides a substantial level of protection.

Signs that your floors are water-damaged:

  • The wood is warping.
  • Boards are separating.
  • Parts of the floor are buckling.
  • There’s weird discoloration.
  • You can see nearby mold growth.

If you notice any of these water damage symptoms, you’ll likely need to entirely replace the hardwood floors. However, if the damage is minimal and located in just one area, you can face a small replacement project and opt for refinishing services.

Dark spots from previous spills and water damage can often be addressed by refinishing alone. Professionals can sand down the affected areas, then seal the crack shut to prevent further moisture from affecting your wood floors. Your floors will look as good as new without the hefty price tag attached to a complete floor overhaul.

Are Your Floorboards Creaking or Moving?

Next, we advise you to listen to and study your floors for signs of movement. If your boards creak with every step and announce the arrival of every person in the room, you’re likely in need of hardwood floor refinishing.

Floors creak when the wood rubs against itself or the subfloor below. Yes, old houses creak regardless of your attention to the wood, but generally, creaking boards indicate compromised structural integrity. Don’t wait until the situation worsens – refinish to prevent serious complications.

If your floors seem to move beneath your feet, bending or shifting as you walk, that’s a serious issue. It could indicate cracks in the foundation or perhaps water damage. Either way, your floors shouldn’t move – you’ll need to ask about refinishing to prevent structural problems.

Can You See Nails Coming Through?

Have you recently snagged a sock or stubbed a toe on a nail head sticking straight out of your floorboards? Then it’s likely time to consider hardwood floor refinishing before it’s too late.

Exposed nails aren’t just eyesores – they’re dangerous. You don’t want anyone stepping on these, mainly if they’re located in high-traffic areas like hallways. Don’t wait until a trip to the ER is necessary to think, “Hmm, should we do something about those sharp nails?”

A professional refinisher will drive the protruding nails below the surface, then sand the area to eliminate those potentially harmful metal pieces. This is better than just repairing the nail pops on your own. Finally, they’ll refinish the floor to make everything look as good as new. Hardwood floors can last for many, many years, but only if you seek help to care for them regularly.

Are Your Floors Losing Their Color?

Lastly, take a look at the colors of your floor. Have your boards lost some of their original warmth or color? Can you spot areas that seem gray or dull?

These are obvious signs that your floors need to be refinished. Don’t assume that changing colors are just signs of hardwood aging. The boards’ discoloration could be indicative of severe floor damage as the top coating has worn off. Everything from wet foot tracks to leaks can lead to a lack of floor color, and those are problems that should be taken seriously.

Another complication comes from natural lighting and UV rays. Are the floors in your sunniest rooms looking subpar? It could be that the sunlight is removing the color. This problem can be remedied with a short (one to two weeks) sanding and refinishing job on the top layer of wood.

If you want all of your floorboards to be one uniform coloring, refinishing is the way to go. Professionals will ensure that your floors maintain an even tone and address areas that have lost their color over time. They’ll sand the dull, unhealthy areas, then apply a new stain that looks just like the original color.

In Conclusion

Have you noticed any of the signs we just mentioned on your floors? Are you ready to schedule your next hardwood floor refinishing project?

Our advice is to refrain from refinishing the floors by yourself unless you’ve been trained to do so. Although you can find products and guides to DIY your hardwoods, this isn’t a great idea. There are plenty of problems you can run into during the process, and you need a knowledgeable professional to help you achieve that flawless finish.

At Floors by the Shore, we’ve been flooring and finishing homes for many years throughout the Jersey Shore and Monmouth areas.

If you’re searching for high-quality workmanship and timeliness, we’re your floor contractors. Our goal is to provide you with floors that add value – and beauty – to your home. We do this by tackling local floors with durable, long-lasting finishes and attention.

To learn more about our hardwood floor refinishing services, or to ask any questions in relation to flooring, give us a call today at 732-655-6155. You can also reach Floors by the Shore experts by sending us a message online. We look forward to hearing from you soon!