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Hardwood Floor Resurfacing vs Refinishing: The Key Differences

So, you’re staring at your hardwood floors and thinking, “These have seen better days.” Hardwood Floor resurfacing vs refinishing: Which option is right for you?

Listen, I get it. Deciding between hardwood floor resurfacing vs refinishing can be a real head-scratcher.

But don’t sweat it! I’m here to explain everything so you can choose the best option for your home and budget.

When it comes to giving your hardwood floors a facelift, you’ve got two main options: resurfacing hardwood floors or refinishing hardwood floors. But what’s the difference between the two?

Either way, investing in your hardwood floors is a smart move. Not only will it improve the look of your home, but it can also increase its value.

Ready to Transform Your Floors? Contact Sandless in Seattle today for a free inspection and consultation at 206-396-3472.

Let’s bring elegance back to your hardwood floorings in Seattle, WA.

 

Table Of Contents:

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Hardwood Floor Resurfacing vs Refinishing: What’s the Difference?

Understanding the Processes

Here’s the deal: hardwood floor resurfacing is like giving your floors a mini-makeover. It involves applying a new finish over the existing floor to cover up minor scratches and wear.

Think of it like putting on a fresh coat of nail polish – it’s a quick fix that can make a big difference. On the other hand, hardwood floor refinishing is more like a full-on renovation.

Refinishing involves sanding down the floors to bare wood and then applying a new stain and finish. This process is more intensive, but it can completely transform the look of your floors.

Comparing Costs

Let’s talk money. In general, floor resurfacing is going to be the more budget-friendly option.

You’re looking at around $1-2 per square foot for resurfacing while refinishing hardwood floors, on average, costs around $3-$8 per square foot. But here’s the thing: refinishing may actually be more cost-effective in the long run.

A full refinishing job can extend the life of your floors and make them more resistant to wear and tear. So, while the upfront cost difference may be higher, you could end up saving money down the line.

When to Choose Resurfacing or Refinishing

So how do you know which option is right for you? It really depends on the condition of your floors and your goals for the project.

If your floors are in pretty good shape with just some minor scuffs and scratches, resurfacing wood floors could be the way to go. It’s a quicker, less expensive way to refresh the look of your floors.

But if your floors are seriously beaten up with deep scratches, stains, or major wear, refinishing is probably necessary. A full refinishing will give you a completely fresh start.

You’ll also want to consider any hardwood floor repair that may be needed. If you’ve got damaged wood planks or structural issues, those will need to be addressed before you can resurface or refinish.

Keep in mind that hardwood floor repair costs can add up – the average floor repair cost is around $1,000.

The Resurfacing Process

Alright, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of resurfacing. Here’s what you can expect:

Preparing the Floor

First things first: your floors need to be cleaned and prepped before any resurfacing can happen. This usually involves a deep cleaning to remove dirt, grime, or old finish.

If there are any minor scratches or dings, those will be filled in to create a smooth surface. The goal is to get your existing floor as level and even as possible so the new finish can adhere properly.

Applying the New Finish

Once your floors are prepped, it’s time for the new finish. This involves applying a fresh coat of finish over the existing floor.

The type of finish will depend on the look you’re going for and the specific product being used. Polyurethane, wax, and oil finishes are common options for resurfacing floors.

Each has its own pros and cons in terms of durability, appearance, and maintenance.

Advantages of Resurfacing

So why choose resurfacing? For starters, it’s much less messy and disruptive than a full refinishing job.

Hardwood floor resurfacing involves minimal wood floor sanding (if any), so you won’t have to deal with all the dust and debris that comes with refinishing. Resurfacing is also generally quicker than refinishing.

While the exact timeline will depend on the size of your space and the specific products being used, the floor resurfacing process involves much less downtime than full sanding and refinishing.

And as I mentioned earlier, resurfacing is usually the more affordable option upfront. If you’re working with a tight budget, resurfacing can give you the refresh you’re looking for without breaking the bank.

The Refinishing Process

Now, let’s talk about refinishing. Here’s a rundown of what’s involved:

Sanding Down to Bare Wood

The first step in refinishing is sanding down your floors to bare wood. This involves sanding off all the old finish and stain to get down to the raw hardwood beneath.

The sanding process usually involves several rounds of sanding with progressively finer grits of sandpaper. This helps to level out the floor and remove any imperfections.

Keep in mind that floor sanding is a dusty, time-consuming process. Each time, a thin layer of wood is removed, so it’s important to have a skilled professional handle this step to avoid damaging your floors.

But worry no more; Sandless in Seattle offers a dustless hardwood floor refinishing alternative to traditional sanding. This innovative method allows for refinishing without the hassle of dust and the inconvenience of extensive sanding.

Applying Stain and Finish

Once the process removes the old finish and gets down to bare wood, it’s time to apply the new stain and finish. This is where you can really customize the look of your floors.

Stain changes the color of the wood, while the finish provides a protective top coat. You can choose from a variety of stain colors and finish types to create a look that’s perfect for your space.

Advantages of Refinishing

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Refinishing is a time-consuming process that requires specialized equipment, but it offers some major benefits. For one, it allows you to completely change the look of your floors.

If you’re unhappy with the current color or finish, refinishing gives you a blank slate. Refinishing is also a good choice if your floors have significant wear or damage.

By sanding down to bare wood, you can remove deep scratches, stains, and other imperfections that resurfacing can’t fix. And as I mentioned before, refinishing can actually be more cost-effective in the long run.

A full refinishing job can extend the life of your floors and make them more durable against future wear and tear.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Resurfacing and Refinishing

Choosing between resurfacing and refinishing ultimately comes down to a few key factors:

Condition of the Floor

The current state of your existing wood floor is probably the biggest factor in deciding between resurfacing and refinishing. If your floors are still structurally sound and in generally good condition with minor wear, resurfacing may be the way to go.

But if your floors have deep scratches, gouges, or water damage, refinishing is probably necessary to truly restore them.

Type of Wood

The type of wood your floors are made of can also impact your decision. Some types of wood, like engineered wood, can only be sanded and refinished a limited number of times.

If you’re unsure what type of wood you have or how many times it can be refinished, consulting with a professional is a good idea. A real estate agent or professional flooring expert can help you assess your floors and make a recommendation.

Budget

Of course, budget is always a factor when it comes to home renovations. As I mentioned earlier, resurfacing is generally the more affordable option upfront.

But it’s important to consider the long-term costs as well. Refinishing may have a higher initial price tag, but it can also extend the life of your floors and increase the value of your home.

Desired Outcome

Finally, think about your goals for the project. Are you just looking for a quick refresh, or do you want a total transformation?

Resurfacing can give your floors a fresh new look, but it won’t change the underlying color or wood grain. If you want a completely different look, refinishing is the way to go.

Talking to a flooring contractor about your options is also a good idea. They can assess your floors and help you decide which process will best achieve your desired outcome.

Cost Comparison: Resurfacing vs Refinishing

I’ve touched on this already, but let’s break down the cost comparison a bit more. In terms of upfront costs, resurfacing is generally the more cost-effective option.

On average, hardwood floors start at around $1-2 per square foot for resurfacing. Refinishing, on the other hand, costs around $3-$8 per square foot

The total floors costs will depend on the size of your space and the specific products and processes being used. Keep in mind that these are just rough estimates.

The actual cost of your project will depend on various factors, including the condition of your floors, the type of wood, and any additional repairs or prep work that may be needed.

Getting quotes from different contractors to understand the total cost is always a good idea. Remember to factor in any additional costs, like moving furniture or staying elsewhere during the renovation.

In general, refinishing costs for an average-sized room typically range between $1,000 and $3,000. Resurfacing may only cost a few hundred dollars for the same space.

But again, it’s important to consider the long-term costs as well. A full refinishing job may have a higher upfront cost, but it can also extend the life of your floors and increase the value of your home.

So, while resurfacing may be the cheaper option initially, refinishing may be the better investment in the long run. Ultimately, the best way to get an accurate idea of the costs is to consult a professional.

They can assess your specific situation and provide a detailed estimate for your project. And don’t forget to factor in any additional repair costs that may be needed.

If your floors have significant damage or structural issues, those will need to be addressed before you can resurface or refinish.

The cost of repairs can vary widely depending on the extent of the damage, but it’s important to budget for those potential expenses as well.

 

Key Takeaway: 

Choosing between hardwood floor resurfacing and refinishing boils down to your floors’ condition, budget, and desired outcome. Resurfacing is a quick fix for minor wear at a lower cost, while refinishing transforms the look entirely but costs more upfront. Consider long-term benefits and consult with professionals to decide what’s best for you.

FAQs in Relation to Hardwood Floor Resurfacing vs Refinishing

What’s the difference between resurfacing and refinishing hardwood floors?

Resurfacing buffs out minor damage and adds a top coat. Refinishing sands the floor down to the wood, then restains and seals it.

Is it cheaper to refinish wood floors or replace them?

Refinishing is usually cheaper than replacing. It breathes new life into old floors without the cost of full replacement.

How often should wood floors be resurfaced?

Floors need resurfacing every 5-7 years, depending on traffic and wear. Keeps them looking fresh without deep sanding.

What is resurfacing a floor?

Resurfacing involves lightly buffing the surface to remove flaws and then applying a new finish layer for shine and protection.

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Hardwood Floor Resurfacing vs Refinishing

When it comes to giving your hardwood floors a facelift, you’ve got two main options: hardwood floor resurfacing vs refinishing. Resurfacing is like a quick touch-up, perfect for floors with minor wear and tear. It’s faster, cheaper, and less messy than a full refinishing job.

But if your floors have seen better days and need some serious TLC, refinishing is the way to go. Yes, it takes longer and costs more, but you’ll be left with brand-new floors.

So, look at your hardwood floors and consider your budget and timeline. Whether you choose resurfacing or refinishing, you’re on your way to falling in love with your floors again.

Your hardwood floors deserve the best. Sandless in Seattle is your local solution for dustless, affordable refinishing. Say goodbye to worn-out floors and hello to elegance.

Ready to Get Started? Call us now at 206-396-3472 to schedule an appointment for your Seattle hardwood floor transformation.

206-396-3472