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Should I Refinish or Replace My Hardwood Floors

a kitchen with beautifully finished wood floor

So your hardwood floors look old and worn. You have to do something, but is it better to refinish them or replace them altogether? We help people make this decision all the time and it’s not hard once you know the answer to a few questions. Here’s what you need to know before deciding.

What Does Hardwood Floor Refinishing Entail?

Solid hardwood flooring can generally be sanded and refinished 4-5 times to make the surface look like new. The process involves sanding down to raw wood to erase scratches, dents, and stains on the surface. Refinishing also offers the option of changing your stain color for a whole new look. 

Always Choose Dust-Free Refinishing

Refinishing used to be a very messy process with dust flying everywhere. With SVB Wood Floors, you don’t have to deal with any dust during the sanding process. We use The Bona Atomic Dust Containment System® that traps all airborne dust before it can spread throughout your home or business and transports the particles into an Atomic DCS® trailer outside. It’s a completely dust-free experience. Plus, we save time not having to seal off rooms with plastic sheets to keep the dust out. Our customers love it!

Wood Floor Condition

The condition of the flooring is the most significant factor when choosing to refinish or replace. If the damage is mostly superficial, refinishing is usually the best choice. But if the damage is severe and includes rot or water damage, those planks will have to be replaced. Sometimes it is possible to repair a section that is damaged and then refinish the entire floor to make it all match. These projects are a little more involved and must be determined on a case-by-case basis. 

Age of Floor

Hardwood that is decades old and has already been sanded down many times cannot be refinished without destabilizing the flooring. Thus, take the age of the material into account. You can have a professional take a look and tell you if there is enough left to refinish.

Style of Floor

Assuming the floor is in decent condition, the other factor is style. Refinishing can make the floor look new again and a new stain color can change the look entirely. However, if you’re not happy with the wood floor design – type of wood, size of the planks, or basic layout  – you will have to replace the floor itself.


Another factor to consider is your schedule. Generally speaking, refinishing is faster than replacing. However, refinishing older wood with many stains, scratches, or areas that need patching may take a week or more. If you choose to install prefinished planks, it will be faster than unfinished planks because there is no repairing, sanding, or staining needed after installation. Other advantages to pre-finished flooring include the fact that you know exactly what it will look like when installed, and the factory finish is even more durable than on-site finishes. Prefinished floors can be sanded and refinished later as long as they are solid wood, not engineered wood. As a general rule, solid hardwood can be refinished, but most engineered wood cannot. 


Generally speaking, it is almost always less expensive to refinish your hardwood floors than to replace them. That’s because replacing them involves paying for additional wood, the installation itself, as well as labor costs for tearing up and hauling away the existing hardwood. If you choose unfinished floors, they will have to be sanded and stained as well.


So, bottom line, unless you don’t like your hardwood floor style or layout, or your floor is extremely old or damaged, it will be more affordable to refinish than replace your hardwood floors. We hope that helps you with your decision. 

If you need more guidance, give us a call at (913) 396-6769 or (816) 944-3150 when you’re ready to refinish or install wood floors in your home and we’ll be happy to help. We’ll even provide a free in-home estimate.