When to Refinish Your Floor
By Ari Ziskin
Published: May 7, 2015 | Updated: June 24, 2020
Wood flooring is one of the best upgrades you can do in your home–are you worried about maintenance? We’ve got all your questions about when to refinish your floor and more answered!
When Should You Be Refinishing Your Floor?
Installing your wooden floors was a good investment for your home. Don’t ruin that by allowing them to go untreated for too long. Once you notice that the shine is gone, talk with a flooring specialist about refinishing.
How to Tell When it is Time to Refinish
You should make checking your wood floors part of your spring and fall cleaning projects. This will ensure that they are being inspected at least every six months. This is more than just a quick look at the floor boards to see if they are worn. In some cases those are the ones that are still fine while the problem is where it looks nice and smooth.
Start with an area that gets the most traffic, like the front foyer or a hallway. A simple water test will let you know how well the finish is holding up. Pour a few drops on the surface of the wood and wait to see what it does. If it disappears fast and leaves a dark spot behind the floor is worn and needs a touch-up. A slow absorption indicates that it is getting to there and you should be planning on having them refinished soon. If the water beads on top, the finish is still good and can wait another six months until the next test. Do this in various spots around the house. Flooring of course will wear out faster in some areas than others.
Having the Floors Refinished
Before you can have the wood floors refinished, a flooring expert will need to check its thickness. The typical panel is 3/4 of an inch thick, and can be sanded and refinished about six times over its life span. Since the process thins the wood over time, the floor installer will check to make sure that there is at least 1/32 of an inch left to work with. If not, he will likely recommend that you have the flooring replaced rather than refinished.
It is not recommended that you take on this project yourself, despite what you may hear from do it yourself enthusiasts. The equipment available to rent is not as powerful as what the pros use and if you were to manage to rent one of those, the time and money spent would equal what the expert would charge anyway. Your wood floor is an important investment in your house. Treat it that way by treating it to a professional refinishing job.
A good refinisher is going to use a dust control system during the process and quality products that will give your floor longevity. Talk with them about how long the process will take and when it will be safe to walk on the floor again. This may take up to a couple of days, depending on the finish they use.