If you are looking for the answer to the question, when are hardwood floors beyond repairs? It means you are trying to decide on whether to repair or replace your hardwood floor.
It is widely known that hardwood floors are beautiful and durable. The hardwood floor is capable of holding up high traffic, but that does not mean that it will hold up forever. It will not always stand for a refinishing process and most times, replacing it is what you need to do and not repair.
It does not last till the end of time because it will degrade just like every other natural product. Although some factors like wrong installation, poor maintenance, and extreme traffic can cause you to replace your floor sooner than expected. But most times you have an idea of when your hardwood flooring is beyond the scope of repair.
It is vital to know this and that is why this guide will tell you common indicators that suggest that your hardwood floors are beyond repair.
Signs That Its Time to Replace Your Hardwood Floor
- Squeaking and Creaking
- Refinished before
- Bugs and pests
- Structural Instability
- Lots of Nails
- Want a New Look
1. Squeaking and Creaking
A refinishing work can buff out dents and scratches but cannot restore the silence of a new hardwood flooring. A creepy sound of creaking and squeaking floorboards emerges from the hardwood when there is a wrap and contract. This changes their shape so that the boards and planks begin to scrape and rub against each other. When this happens, and your floor becomes too noisy then it needs a replacement to keep it back in shape. Your subfloor can also cause this noisy floor. Replace it if you see the need to.
2. Refinished Before
If you have refinished your hardwood floor so many times in the past then the next damage should need a replacement and not refinishing. When old floors undergo refinishing a lot, it tends to resist the process again, because the wood has gone through sanding so many times. When this is the case then you need to invest in new hardwoods and give the peace of the old one.
3. Bugs and Pests
When your hardwood floors are under bugs and pests attack, then there is a need to replace them because the bugs will spread to the rest of the house. Pests like termites are the dead ends of every hardwood. Even the sight of ants or insects should serve as an indicator for you to change your hardwood floors.
4. Structural Instability
If your hardwood undergoes this then your old floor needs to go. When you feel the boards and planks moving beneath your feet as you walk on it then it is a clear sign that it is beyond repair. Even the subfloor needs changing when you experience this on your floor.
5. Lots of Nails
If you begin to see nails constantly sneaking above the surface then you should sense replacement. This is highly seen in a high traffic area. When you see over 30 percent of nails on the floor throughout your home then consult a flooring pro to help you choose floors that will match with the existing one.
6. Want a New Look
Constant signs of spoilage are not the only factor that one needs to change a hardwood floor. You can choose to change your floor into another look anytime you wish to. Most times you only need to sand, stain or paint your hardwood to get that floor of your dreams. But you should know if it is suitable for your floor to undergo a sanding process especially when it has experienced so many.
Is it Cheaper to Refinish Hardwood Floors or to Replace?
Most times, the answer to this question lies in the situation of the hardwood floor. In many cases, refinishing the hardwood can be a lot cheaper than replacing it. When refinishing, you can pay up to $2 – $5 per square foot, for just basic sand and refinish projects on your hardwood.
The price gets to increase if your hardwood floor is in a bad state. Most times, you would need to replace planks or upgrade the finish, or the floor might need other repairs that require extra cost.
Note that there is also furniture moving and removal or replacement of your baseboards, which was not added to the cost.
In the case of replacement of floors, it costs more than refinishing of the floor. To start, you need to purchase the hardwood flooring material that will be replaced with the former which will cost $2 per square foot and above. Then the labor force to install the wood is $3 – $5. Costs for moving pieces of furniture are not included. You might also pay for trims, transition and underlayment if needed to replace your floor.
This project can be done using the DIY method. This will help you save some bucks for other things.
Should I Refinish My Hardwood Floors
This decision depends solely on you and what you want. If you want to give your hardwood floor a new look without spending much, refinishing should be your best bet. If on the other hand, you notice your floor is beyond repairs, the best option then is a replacement.
Dull as Dirt Wood Floors
Dirt and dust can make a floor look weary and dingy. So before you settle for a refining process, you should try getting it off to know if your floor will go back to its original state. Dirt and dust can leave scratches on the floor which dulls the surface of your floor. Deep cleaning a dirty floor can restore its sheen. To deep clean,
- Sweep the floor thoroughly using a soft bristle broom because stiff ones can scratch the surface.
- Use a vacuum to remove dirt from tight corners that are hard to reach.
- Using a micro cloth, mop the floor with household cleaner and vinegar that are free from suds. You can as well use a scrubbing machine for the removal of strong dirt.
- When the cleaning is done then surface clean the area three times a week using a vacuum or micro clothes.
- Deep clean once each month with a wood floor cleaner.
- Professionally deep clean once a year.
If this didn’t work out, you could give it a fine finish without sanding or staining it. If this did not work as well then you should know that the condition in your hardwood is beyond a fast fix.
How Long do you Have to Stay Off Refinished Hardwood Floors
Understanding this process will help you plan before deciding to refinish your hardwood floor. A refinishing process only involves sanding the hardwood to remove the old wood before adding a new polyurethane layer.
You might choose to add a staining product to it or leave its natural look. For the floor to last for a lifetime, then you would have to sacrifice some days to allow the floor to dry. How long you have to stay off your floor depends on these factors below.
The Products Used To Refinish Hardwood Floors
Using an oil-based polyurethane will take more time to dry than using a water-based one. Any coating you make with an oil-based polyurethane on your floor needs 24 – 48 hours or 3 – 5 days to dry fully. When you are up for 3 coats then it should dry for 3 days which uses 24 hours for each coat. If you are applying stain to your floor after the polyurethane, then you need an extra 24 hours for the drying process. Darker stains will take 36 to 48 hours.
Coating with water-based polyurethane, it takes 4 – 6 hours to dry. Although this water-based polyurethane dries faster, it is not as durable as the oil-based. When the floor dries, you are free to walk on it with only socks and after a few days, the floor will take its time to cure. It takes four weeks to fully cure.
Temperature and Humidity
Your drying process also depends on your climate. It is possible to move back your chairs and rugs after 4 – 30 days respectively but your climate might decide otherwise. In a humid region, it takes longer days for the moisture to evaporate from the flooring. If that is the case, then keep the room between 70 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit and make use of a dehumidifier to speed up the drying process. You can check the dryness level by observing the surface.
If you own a dog, then keep it off the floors for two weeks after your last coat. Getting doggie socks and allowing them to stay home would not be a bad idea.
Unfinished Hardwood VS Prefinished Hardwood Flooring
Unfinished hardwood is a hardwood that has undergone the finishing process in a factory while a prefinished hardwood is one you buy a raw wood which will undergo nailing, sanding and refinishing on-site. Both of the wood has its advantages but you can make your choice by choosing anyone that is most important.
- Less messy
- Smooth edges
- Matching the color of existing hardwood
- Cost a bit less
- Has varieties of design to mix or blend with hardwood