How to Know If Your Hardwood Needs Refinishing

The natural beauty and durability of hardwood flooring makes it a no-brainer choice for many homeowners, but in order to maintain its aesthetic appeal, it’s imperative for homeowners to take proper care of their hardwood floors. Hardwood floors can certainly be on the pricier side, so to get your full money’s worth out of your hardwood, they need to be kept in tip-top shape. Keeping your hardwood floors properly maintained will also help with the re-sale value of your home in the future.

One important process to maintain your hardwood floors are refinishing them, which includes sanding and staining. Refinishing floors is a fairly complicated, time-intensive process, and it’s important to consult a professional before attempting to do it yourself. It’s tough to say that all hardwood floors should be refinished after a set number of years, because there are so many factors involved, including the following:

  • The species of wood.
  • Whether the hardwood is solid or engineered.
  • The thickness of the wood.
  • How much traffic your hardwood has experienced.

Since there’s no universal time limit in which your hardwood floors should be refinished, you can complete the following simple water test to give you an idea of if and when your hardwood floors need to be refinished:

  1. Go to the most high-traffic area of your floor. The area of the floor that has seen the most wear from high traffic is the most likely to need refinishing.
  2. Drop a tablespoon of water on this area of the hardwood floor. Watch what happens and consult the following guide:
  • If the water beads on the top of the floor and doesn’t soak in, the finish is in good condition and refinishing likely isn’t necessary at that time.
  • If the water soaks into the wood slowly, you should start to think about refinishing you floors, but you don’t need to refinish right away.
  • If the water immediately soaks into the wood and leaves a dark spot, you need to refinish your hardwood as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that if the floor boards are warped, deeply stained or have other extensive damage, you’ll need to repair them before refinishing.

This test is a helpful way to get a general idea of the state of your floor, but if you’d like confirmation, it’s always best to consult your local flooring professional. You’ll want to seriously consider hiring a professional if your floor is thinner than ¾” or you’ve never refinished floors before, as inexperience can lead to serious damage to your hardwood.

For many homeowners, hardwood floors are a point of pride and beauty in the home. Through proper maintenance – including refinishing – you can ensure that you and your family will be able to enjoy your hardwood floors for many years to come! SOURCE:,

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