How many times can a hardwood floor be refinished? Carpenter’s Answer

Refinishing your hardwood floor is among the top considerations when the floors start showing their age and changing the character of the house. The number of times that you can refinish your floors is something that you need to consider when refinishing older floors.

So, how many times can a hardwood be refinished? A hardwood floor can be refinished ten times if the thickness remains above 1/16 of an inch. Each sanding removes on average 1/32 inches from the surface of the hardwood.

Robert Robillard, owner of Concord Carpenter LLC, states that if the person sanding hardwood floors is talented less of thickness of the hardwood flooring will be removed by sanding. Also, if the floor is damaged, sanding will need to enter deeper into the hardwood.

Here is a video that explains how many times you can refinish a hardwood floor based on its quality:

How many times can you refinish prefinished hardwood floors?

Prefinished hardwood floors are among the top choices for most home builders due to their durability and easy installation. They also do not require a lot of work before, during and after installation.

Unlike unfinished hardwood floors, the pre-finished floors come with their own counting which is applied at the factory as part of the manufacturing process. This means that the process of coating the floor with polyurethane after installation is eliminated, and hence reducing the cost of installation for home builders.

Pre-finished floors are also coated with oxide urethane, which is cured to the wood with ultraviolet light. This allows the floors to maintain their initial manufacturing colors while also increasing their durability and scratch resistance.

However, one of the unanswered questions for most home builders when buying pre-finished hardwood floors is whether refinishing is possible and how many times refinishes can be done before the hardwood floors give in.

Refinishing a pre-finished hardwood floor is more complex than the unfinished hardwood floors, and in most cases, the result leaves a lot to be desired.

For starters, the oxide urethane coating applied using ultraviolet rays while manufacturing the wood is not easily replaceable when refinishing prefinished hardwood floors. This means the refinishing results will not have the same color and look like the original pre-finished hardwood floor that you started with.

The characteristics of the prefinished hardwood are also lost during the refinishing phase. This includes surface textures such as hand-scraping, distressing, and wire brushing that are removed during the refinishing phase.

The stain left on the pre-finished hardwood floor is also not evenly distributed even after re-sanding on site.

Fortunately, if you are wondering about how many times your prefinished hardwood floor can be refinished before it becomes impossible to sand, worry not because the sanding process is similar to site-finished flooring.

Therefore, you can refinish your pre-finished floors as many times as possible if you observe the thickness of the hardwood flooring.

How often can you refinish hardwood floors?

Hardwood floors can last for decades, and in some cases, more than a century if proper care and maintenance are taken. The parquet flooring in palace of Versailles has existed for more than three hundred years.

Periodically sanding and refinishing the floors is a great way to increase their longevity. However, not many people know how often the hardwood floor should be refinished. Below are some of the signs to look for when deciding whether to refinish your hardwood floors.

  • Hardwood floors turning gray

Your hardwood can start to turn gray as a result of polyurethane wearing off, which causes the wood to start absorbing water. The source of water can be spilled drinks, snow, cleaning products, or rain.

The absorbed water causes oxidation in the wood, and the process causes the woods to start turning gray. If the floors are not repaired quickly, the gray areas start to turn darker and darker until it reaches a point where the floor becomes totally black, and at this point, you have to replace your hardwood floors.

Therefore, when you see your hardwood floors have started to turn gray, you are required to address the problem as soon as possible by refinishing the hardwood floors. Always make sure the gray areas do not absorb more water in cases where you are not able to do refinishing immediately.

  • Scratches on your hardwood floors

Minor scratches are common in hardwood floors and should never be a concern for any homeowner.

However, it is the large scratches or unsightly spread of scratches on your hardwood floors that should concern you. If you notice your floor has started developing these types of scratches, consider doing refinishing to address the scratches.

  • Water damage

Water damage, which mostly happens due to the wearing of polyurethane, can cause your hardwood floor to start developing dark areas.

The first thing to do is repair areas that lead to water flowing onto your hardwood floor, and then sand the floors to correct the damage done by the water. In cases where the hardwood floor has been badly damaged, then you should consider replacing it.

  • Fading hardwood floors

Sometimes the colors on your board can look unhealthy and faded. This can also signify that your hardwood floors need sanding and refinishing.

How to tell if hardwood floors can be refinished

Hardwood floors are, without a doubt, beautiful and an excellent choice for your home or office. They are easy to clean, durable, cheap to install, hard to damage, and are easy to keep warm when installed in a building.

However, over a period of years, hardwood floors may start losing their visual appeal, and it becomes necessary to look for alternatives on how to restore their former glory. Refinishing is always the top choice that most people go with because it is easy, cheap, and can restore your hardwood floors to their new and shiny state.

This is why it is important to know what to look for in your hardwood floor before starting your refinishing. First, clean off the surface of the hardwood flooring using a quality hard wood floor cleaner machine. I recommend the Oreck Orbiter Hard Wood Floor Cleaner. Click here to view the current pricing on Amazon.

After the cleaning step, follow the next step which is to look for certain indicators. Below are some of the tell-tale signs you should look for on your floor to know whether it needs refinishing.

  • Gray floorboards

Chances are what you are calling a charming patina is a gray floorboard, which should be a sign that your hardwood floors need refinishing.

In most cases, when a floorboard turns gray, refinishing is recommended, which can restore the hardwood floors to their previous state. The gray floorboards are mostly caused by water, hence make sure your hardwood floors are protected from leaking water.

  • Water stains

Unaddressed plumbing leaks, ice falling on your hardwood floors, or rain can result in your hardwood floors developing water stains. Once you start noticing that your hardwood floor is developing water stains, or has developed water stains, you should consider refinishing it to avoid further damage.

  • Discoloration and fading

Another tell-tale sign that your hardwood floors need refinishing is if they start fading or discoloring. In fact, color changes are one of the most important indicators that your floors may be in need of refinishing.

  • Cupping

Cupping of hardwood floors refers to the bending of hardwood floors from their edges in a concave shape. It is caused by water damage and can make your hardwood floor look visually unappealing. Fortunately, the problem can be corrected by refinishing the floor, and in severe cases, replacing sections that are severely damaged.

  • Splinters

Splinters may start to appear on your hardwood floors and can result in difficulty walking around the house without shoes. This problem can only be corrected by refinishing the floors, which allows you to get under the damage and restore the smoothness and safety. After refinishing the floor, a layer of sealant is recommended to protect the new surface.

How long do hardwood floors last?

The longevity of hardwood floors is one of the most asked questions for most people in hardwood flooring space.

The short answer is, hardwood floors can last for centuries. The long answer is that, although hardwood floors can last for centuries, their appearance fades over time. Your floors can also become damaged, change color and start falling apart due to factors such as water stains and scratches, further reducing their longevity.

There are several factors that can also influence the durability of your hardwood floors including:

  • Professionals hired to install your floors

The contractors you hire to do your hardwood floor installation can make or break its longevity. This is because there are many factors that affect the durability of Hardwood floors such as the type of hardwood used and the ability to install the floors properly.

When a hardwood floor is improperly installed, the frequency of recoating and refinishing is usually high, and in most cases, the hardwood floors start having issues a few months after installation. Choosing the wrong type of hardwood for your floor is also a contractor’s responsibility and failing to pick the most durable type of hardwood can result in your hardwood floors not lasting long.

  • Type of hardwood used

The type of hardwood selected for your flooring will affect how long the hardwood floors last. Professional contractors usually go for oak, maple, ash, hickory, or walnut hardwoods, which are considered the best and most durable. These types of hardwood can also be refinished for over a century without affecting the quality of your building.

  • Cleaning habits of your hardwood floors

How often should you clean your hardwood floors and with what can also affect the longevity of your hardwood floors? Cleaning is important because there are many things that fall on the floor that, if left unaddressed, can eat your floors or cause permanent stains.

Cleaning materials can also affect your floors, and in some instances result in fading of your floors and discoloration. There are many products that are marketed as being ideal cleaning products, and as a homeowner, you should do your research to avoid products that may damage your hardwood floors.

  • Natural vs. engineered hardwood

What your floors are made of can also determine how long they will last. Engineered floors, for instance, have a shorter lifespan than natural hardwood floors because they are usually thinner and more susceptible to damage over a longer period. Natural hardwoods can also be sanded and refinished numerous times, making them the best choice for people looking for a long-term hardwood flooring solution.

How many times can you refinish an oak?

Oak floors are some of the most durable hardwood floors in the market today. However, even with their longevity, they can start losing their original visual appeal, and as a homeowner, you may be required to do refinishing to restore your floors.

However, the number of times you can refinish your oak floors is limited, and in most cases, it is at least 10 times during its lifespan. Fortunately, a refinish is only needed once every 8-12 years.

The number of times you can furnish your oak floor also depends on how well you take care of your floors. Preventing floor damage such as scratches, for instance, can result in your floor never needing refinishing.

In cases where refinishing is needed, the thickness of your oak floor should also be considered. If the floors are too thin, then you should consider hiring a contractor to refinish the floors, so that you can avoid permanent damage to your floor.

Is it worth it to refinish hardwood floors?

Today, the average national cost of refinishing hardwood floors stands at $1,757, with the prices ranging from $1,074 to $2,485. If you decide that you do not wish to deal with hiring a professional to complete the sanding and refinishing, I recommend that you replace the hardwood flooring with luxury vinyl flooring by Lucida. Click here to view the pricing per square foot on Amazon.

I conducted a study on how many actual homeowners ended up paying per square to have their hardwood floors refinished. I collected data from various home renovation forums online.

How much did you pay per square foot to have your hardwood floors refinished? Percentage of Total Responses
$1.25-$1.50 per square foot 9%
$1.50-$3.00 per square foot27%
$3.00-$5.00 per square foot64%

Every time you decide to refinish your hardwood floors that cover one thousand feet means, not only are you willing to part with almost $3,000-$5000 but you will also be inconvenienced in your place of work or at home since the process takes a few days.

However, even with the costs and inconveniences caused by refinishing your hardwood floors, the process is still worth it. The cost of buying the hardwood, hiring contractors, and replacing your hardwood is costlier than refinishing.

Refinishing your hardwood floors also corrects floor damage such as scratches and water damage and restores the floors to their new and shiny selves.

Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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