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Spotting the Signs: When Your Hardwood Floors Need Refinishing

Posted on July 2, 2023


Recognizing When Your Hardwood Floors Require Refinishing

Hardwood floors are a stylish, durable choice for any home. Over time, though, even the most meticulously cared-for hardwood floors can start to show their age. One of the best ways to renew their look is by refinishing them. But when do hardwood floors need refinishing? This post will guide you through the key signs to watch for and what the refinishing process entails.

Understanding Hardwood Floor Refinishing

Refinishing hardwood floors involves sanding down the existing finish and top layer of wood to reveal a fresh layer underneath. Then a new finish is applied. This process can eliminate scratches, dents, and worn-out finishes, giving your hardwood floors a new lease on life.

Signs Your Hardwood Floors Need Refinishing

Deep Scratches

While minor surface scratches might be remedied with a touch-up kit, deep scratches that penetrate the finish expose the wood to damage and staining. If your hardwood floor has deep scratches, refinishing can help repair and protect it.

Water Damage

Water can be a hardwood floor’s worst enemy. If water has penetrated the finish, it can stain and warp the wood. If your floorboards are buckling, cupping, or have dark stains, it might be a sign of water damage requiring refinishing.

Worn-Out Finish

If your hardwood floor’s finish is worn out in high-traffic areas, it’s a clear sign that refinishing is needed. An easy way to check this is by pouring a small amount of water onto the floor. If the water beads up, the finish is still doing its job. If it soaks in and darkens the wood, it’s time for refinishing.

Fading Color

If your hardwood floors have lost their vibrancy and appear faded, refinishing can restore their original color and shine.

Changes in Wood Texture

If you notice your hardwood floor’s texture changing—perhaps it feels rough to the touch or has “grains” that you can feel underfoot—it’s an indication that refinishing is due.

The Hardwood Floor Refinishing Process

Preparing the Room

Before refinishing your hardwood floor, you need to prepare the room. This includes moving all furniture and removing any rugs or floor coverings. You should also seal off the room to prevent dust from spreading to other parts of your home.

Sanding the Floor

The next step is sanding. A drum sander is used for the main part of the floor, and an edger is used for the corners and edges. Sanding removes the old finish and any surface damage, revealing fresh, clean wood beneath. Wood Floor Sanding Preparation

Cleaning Up

After sanding, you’ll need to thoroughly clean the room. Vacuum the floor to remove dust, and wipe down the walls and ceiling to ensure a dust-free environment for the new finish.

Applying the Finish

Finally, you can apply your new finish. Whether you choose a stain to change the color or a clear finish to let the natural beauty of the wood shine through, make sure to apply it evenly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Refinishing is a great way to breathe new life into your hardwood floors. If your floors show signs of deep scratches, water damage, worn-out finish, faded color, or changes in texture, it might be time for a refinish. Although the process requires effort, the result is a beautiful, like-new hardwood floor that can enhance the overall look and feel of your home. Keep these signs in mind to know when your hardwood floors need refinishing and to enjoy the renewed charm and durability of your investment.

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