How Often Should You Refinish Hardwood Floors?

how often should you refinish hardwood floors

Hardwood flooring is aesthetically pleasing and can last for generations. They do, however, necessitate care and maintenance. They must be sanded and refinished regularly.

This is a certain question that plague most homeowners: how often should you refinish hardwood floors? There is no right or wrong response to this question.

It is determined by a variety of factors, including the type of wood, foot traffic patterns, natural wear, and your personal aesthetic. Generally, hardwood floors should be refinished every 7 -10 years, depending on the usage.

Read on as we provide you with some indicators and to assist you in determining when your hardwood floors need to be refinished.

Read: What to expect when refinishing hardwood floor

How Many Times can you Refinish Hardwood Floors

As mentioned earlier, various factors determine how often hardwood floors should be refinished.

Factors like the type of wood, foot traffic patterns, natural wear, and your personal aesthetic should influence how often you refinish your hardwood floors.

Typically, if engineered hardwood flooring is 34 inches thick or more, it is safe to refinish them up to 4-6 times.

For hardwood floors, you will need to measure the thickness of the floorboard before refinishing. If the boards are less than 9/16-inch thick, then you shouldn’t refinish them. It is probably time to replace the hardwood floor.

If you are content with your flooring and simply want to refinish it to give it a new look, hardwood flooring only has to be refinished once every 7- 10 years.

Note that they should be refinished only when the floorboards are above 9/16-inch thick.

How Do I Know if I Need to Refinish My Hardwood Floors?

Many homeowners don’t know when it’s time to refinish their hardwood floors. Well, below are some indicators that your hardwood floors need to be refinished.

1. Hardwood Floors Have Lots of scratches

Yes, if your hardwood floors have a lot of scratches, especially if they’ve worn through the stain, it’s time to refinish your floors. When you have a heavier stain, the scratches are significantly more visible.

If you have a lot of unattractive scratches (especially if it’s in an area that cannot be covered up with an area rug), it’s time to refinish the flooring.

Most scratches are superficial and can be removed with a simple sand and refinish (same with paint that has dripped on the floor)

2. Some Boards are Turning Gray

It’s time to refinish the hardwood floors if they’ve turned gray. This should be done as quickly as possible before further damage occurs.

Your hardwood floor turns gray when the wood absorbs water, and the polyurethane fades off.

When wood absorbs water, it oxidizes and becomes gray. If you don’t fix your floors, the wood will darken until it’s black. At that point, you will need to replace the floors (sanding will not address the problem).

3. Some Boards Have Already Turned Black

As previously noted, it’s too late to refinish your hardwood floors after the floorboards have turned black.

Due to pet stains or water damage, your boards may be black in certain locations. You have two options at this point: 1) dye the floors dark enough to hide the stains, or 2) replace and weave in new boards in the damaged parts.

The second option is more expensive, but it allows you to choose any stain color you choose.

4. Water Damage (Or Moisture Damage)

When there is water damage (or significant moisture), you will notice board separation or cupping, as well as some dark patches on your hardwood floor.

Water damage can result from a variety of causes, including a flood, a damaged water heater, pet damage, ice damming, leaking air conditioners, an overflowing toilet, moisture/flooding/mold in the basement or surrounding area, and so on.

If you have cupped hardwood flooring, it can usually be sanded away. If you have more severe damage (for example, blackboards, considerable separation, or boards popping up), you may need to replace the floors entirely, or at least a piece of them.

5. Fading (And/or Discoloration) From Sun

If you notice significant sun damage to the floors (due to UV radiation), you may want to refinish them. At times, the hues appeared faded or sickly.

When you move some rugs, you can notice a significant difference between the exposed and covered floors. Sanding and refinishing will usually take care of this since they remove the top layer, allowing you to apply a new stain.

How Much Should It Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Typically, the cost for a professional to come in and undertake refinishing work ranges between $3 and $4 per square foot. In total, if you have a space of 1,500 – 2,000 square feet, you may expect to pay between $6,000 and $8,000.

Is It Cheaper to Refinish Or Replace Hardwood Floors?

In general, refinishing your hardwood floors will be less expensive. If you’re opting to replace your hardwood floors, you’ll have to pay for new wood as well as the cost of tearing up and carrying away the old hardwood floors.

Read: How to refinish distressed wood floor


How often should you refinish hardwood floors? Now you know you should refinish your hardwood floors at least every 7-10 years.

Also, you should know when to replace or refinish your hardwood floors. We hope the guidelines provided in this post will be of big help!

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