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What to Know About Refinishing Your Floors

Refinishing your floors is a big job, and not one most people look forward to. But if you’ve lived in your home for many years, your hardwood floors will eventually show the wear and tear of walking, playing, pet scratches, moving furniture, and general living. If you’ve never refinished your floors, you have a lot of questions. Here is a general guide to get you started. 

Signs Your Floors Need Refinishing

People have a general idea of when it’s time to refinish the floors based on how they look. But here are some of the signs.

  1. Scratches – You cannot avoid some scratching on hardwood floors as you go about living. Many small scratches are only in the finish itself; they have impacted the wood floor. However, if the scratches are deeper, the wood is now left unprotected and may suffer more damage as time goes on. Refinishing will correct those problems so your floors remain strong. Note: Applying a stain to scratches will change the wood color of those spots. 
  2. Water Damage – Water damage can leave dark stains or even warp your floors. If you have extra wood left from the floor’s installation, you can repair the damaged section. But if you don’t have more boards or the water left only stains, refinishing may take care of the problem. 
  3. Worn Sealant – Speaking of water, test your floor once every year to make sure the finish is doing one of its jobs: to keep water out. Test by pouring some water on an area of the floor. If it forms droplets or a puddle, you’re fine. If not, it’s seeping into the wood and can cause damage. 
  4. Holes or dents – Scratches are one thing, but deeper cuts are another. Whether it was caused by kids, pets, or moving furniture, gouges in the floor will let water into the area and can splinter. 
  5. Discoloration – Wood may turn gray over time, as in the case of your fence outside. But if your wood flooring is turning gray, that’s not just age. Instead, it’s a sign you need to refinish. The gray means the finish has worn off, leaving your wood vulnerable to water damage. Even just a few splashes can cause problems. If you wait too long, the wood will become black, a sign that the structure is damaged, and then you have to replace the entire floor.   
  6. Sun damage – Sun can also damage or change the hardwood over time. You may notice it in specific areas where a rug was placed or other furniture. The only real way to fix this is with refinishing.
  7. Change of Scenery – You may want to refinish your floors during a home renovation or addition so the new floors match the old. Or maybe it’s time to change the shade from light to dark or vice versa. Changing the floor color can make a significant impact on your home’s look, and might be the only change you need if you’re just seeking something fresh. 

DIY or Professional?

If you’re into the DIY approach, you can refinish your own floors. DIY is easiest if your floors only need buffing or screening. That means you’re only improving the topcoat of the finish. Rent a buffer with multiple grits; you’ll need to sweep and vacuum between each buffing. Note if the floor has oil or wax from cleaning products, remove that first to prevent an odd-looking finish. 

If the floors need a complete re-sanding and refinishing, you’ll need to rent a drum sander. Wear goggles, a mask, and earplugs and be prepared for dust! The main trick is not to sand too harshly; keep the sander moving so you don’t gouge the floor. You’ll also need a handheld sander to get the areas near the walls. Check out this breakdown of steps to refinish your floors. 

What to Expect When You Hire 12th and Oak

Hiring a professional to refinish your floors is, of course, much faster and easier. Our professional-grade sanders and equipment include dust collection units. Each Dust Collection Unit has a HEPA filter, sealing away 99.7% of the dust created during sanding. A Johnston County floor refinisher will charge anywhere $2 to $5 per square foot. Learn more about our finish options, project timeline, or our sanding system.