When it comes to types of flooring, hardwood remains one of the most popular choices because of its natural beauty and longevity. Beyond adding warmth and beauty to your interiors, hardwood floors increase your home’s resale value.
But even this highly durable material requires care and maintenance to retain its functionality and visual appeal. You can easily remove signs of damage from your floor by sanding and refinishing it at the right time.
However, it’s crucial to read the signs early before replacement is the only option. Keep reading to learn how to detect these signs.
How to Recognize When Your Hardwood Flooring Needs Refinishing
Excessive scratches, warping and splinters develop over the years. If you can detect the signs early that your hardwood flooring needs refinishing, you can increase its longevity. Here’s a list of the most common red flags:
When you install hardwood floors, scratches will inevitably happen. But there’s no need to panic over every small scratch. There are a few benchmarks to determine when it’s time to refinish your hardwood flooring.
First off, multiple scratches showing up through the stain is a visible sign that your floor needs to be refinished. If they can’t be covered up with an area rug, it’s an indication that the floor has worn out. But you need to find out whether the scratches are spread out over a large area, or superficially in the stain and not affecting the wood underneath. If the surface isn’t affected then the issue is not severe.
However, if deep scratches are going through the stain and impacting the wood, then you need refinishing.
|Pro Tip 1:
Stain protects your wood from water damage, and deep scratches allow water to seep into your flooring. In such cases, merely reapplying the stain over the damaged area won’t solve the problem but only alter the colour of the wood. Therefore, you must get your floor refinished before staining it again.
Staining Due to Water Damage
Spilled water can damage hardwood, but cleaning it immediately won’t leave a permanent mark.
However, over the years, repeated spills from broken water heaters, leaking air conditioners, overflowing toilets or pet urine can leave lasting and unsightly stains that have a permanent impact on the quality of the floorboards. If the damage cannot be hidden by sanding or staining, consider replacing the floorboard.
|Pro Tip 2:
If your hardwood floors are cupping (i.e. the planks are bending in a concave shape from the edges), sanding will quickly solve it. However, severe damages, such as blackening, separation or popping up of the boards, indicate the need to replace it.
Floorboards Turning Grey
Discolouration of your hardwood flooring means you need to get it refinished. Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking that hardwood turning grey is a sign of ageing. It indicates that your floor has been damaged. With long-term use, the polyurethane coating wears off. Eventually, the boards absorb water from any source like wet pet paws and even cleaning products. All these lead to the wood oxidizing and turning grey. This situation demands you immediately refinish it by sanding and restaining.
Discoloured and Faded Planks
Sunlight can discolour hardwood flooring. If your floor shows severe discolouration near windows or patio doors, it’s a sign that it needs refinishing. Sanding and refinishing remove the top layer of wood, thus making the colour uniform.
If the dullness of the finish is the only issue with your hardwood flooring, a screen and recoat will work just fine without being too invasive or expensive. This “light sanding” technique is a preventative measure you should do every three to four years before getting scratches through the colour.
High foot traffic, mischievous kids, pets and age can lead to splintering floorboard edges. These splinters and worn-out edges can lead to accidents and require expensive replacement. They look unattractive and can become the avenue through which water is absorbed into the floor. Sanding the floorboards can fix the splinters provided they aren’t too big or severe.
|Pro Tip 4:
Check for splinters in high traffic areas like hallways and doorways. Also, check the floor beneath the dining table, which experiences high friction due to repeated chair movement.
Water Test Fail
This is an easy way to tell whether your floor needs refinishing soon. Pour a tablespoon of water on the hardwood where it looks worn. If the droplets pool and don’t seep in immediately, the sealant is intact. However, if the water seeps into the wood, it should be refinished. The faster it seeps in, the more severe the damage.
|Pro Tip 5:
Do not put off refinishing because you’re trying to avoid spilling water. Humidity can cause equal damage to floorboards.
Changing Trends And Styles
Sometimes your hardwood floor may be in good condition but the style is outdated. An easy way to upgrade your floor is by refinishing it with a different stain. This is an affordable way to add to the resale value of your house while retaining the original wood flooring.
Special Mention: To DIY or Not to DIY
Homeowners often attempt DIY repairs to save money, but this won’t work with refinishing. A professional understands how much sanding is needed without damaging the floor. They also possess the necessary tools and experience. You should avoid trying to refinish your hardwood floor, especially if it’s ¾” thick or less as thinner boards are delicate and susceptible to damage if not sanded properly.
If you notice any of the signs mentioned above, then refinishing your hardwood will protect it while also keeping it looking good longer. However, solving these problems requires a professional approach. That’s why you should refrain from refinishing your hardwood floors yourself and instead get in touch with the best contractors for hardwood flooring in the GTA. Not only will they be able to solve the issue quickly also give you valuable advice regarding the maintenance of your floors.