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Installing vs Refinishing Hardwood Floors: Comparing the Cost

Hardwood is not only beautiful but also durable. As time passes, however, it eventually starts to wear down. There will come a time wherein an older house that uses hardwood flooring will experience this concern. This becomes an issue of maintenance. Ageing can cause different levels of damage to your hardwood floor and you have two options on how you fix your flooring. You can either refinish your hardwood flooring, or you can replace the damaged flooring by installing new hardwood panels as needed.

Hardwood Floor Refinishing

As your hardwood floor ages over time, you must do regular checkups to catch minor issues which can be fixed. If the damages are minimal – scratches, small dents, and minor discoloration, there is no need to install new boards. You can refinish your hardwood floor to make it look as good as new.

If the minor problems are caught just in time, you will be able to save your flooring without having so much work done in it. This process involves sanding the flooring to remove all layers of coating and stains that had been previously added. If you find any cosmetic damages to the flooring, you must first repair them before reapplying new layers of coating and staining. Refinishing can take some time to finish and due to the sanding process, you will be dealing with a lot of dust which is why hiring professionals is recommended.

Replacement/Installation of Hardwood Flooring

Severe damages to the floor make it a candidate for some replacement. Such problems include the formation of stains, chipping, and ingestion of the wooden panels by termites. In addition, structural problems will render refinishing useless. These structural problems include the formation of gaps between the wooden panels and any damage that has occurred underneath the wood panels. Refinishing, in this case, can only worsen and make a mess of your flooring.

In relation to these structural problems, after the hardwood flooring has undergone multiple refinishing efforts throughout the years, there will come a time wherein some nails and grooves would become more visible making it impossible to refinish the floor. This will indicate that the wood panels have reached their limit and new panels should be installed to replace them.

Differences Between the Processes

After an evaluation of the flooring, you will be faced with the task of picking the appropriate option to fix your flooring. You also have the freedom to decide to do them by yourself or let us make the repairs for you.

The Use of a Buffing Tool

The refinishing process may take time to finish depending on the severity of issues found on your flooring. Based on the level of minor issues your floor has, when you are facing issues like scratches and signs of wear and tear that have affected only the surface of the flooring, you can fix it simply by buffing. Make sure first that there are no damages inside the wooden panels. The process involves the use of a buffing tool.

This process is done to fully restore the topcoat of your flooring. However, once you find out that the damage has reached inside the wooden panels, this is a sign that buffing cannot fix your problem and you would need to follow a more complex process. The process starts with you having to remove all the coating of the flooring. This will be done with the use of sandpaper with different grits and a drum sander. You have to continue sanding until you reach the point wherein it is all bare wood.

The next step is to use some wood filler to fill any cracks that have formed on the panels. Make sure that the wood filler used matches the colour of the panel. Afterwards, the next steps involve the application of the stain and letting it dry out thoroughly. Finally, you can now add some protective coating and decide on how many layers you feel is needed to be applied to the hardwood panels.

Removing and Replacing Damaged Panels

Depending on the type of hardwood panels you have purchased, the process of removing and replacing the damaged panels might finish faster than the refinishing process. For prefinished hardwood panels, the installation would be much quicker as you will not need to do any more sanding. You should make sure that the size of the panels fits well with the older panels. Avoid having gaps in between panels.

The first thing to do is to remove the panels affected and clean the area thoroughly. You might need to use a vacuum cleaner during this step. All debris and dust you see must be cleaned before the installation begins. Before putting in the hardwood panels, make sure to staple some tar paper or roofing felt onto the subfloor.

Afterwards, you can start putting in the panels but do not nail them to the floor yet. Check if there are areas that do not fit perfectly and cut the necessary portion from the panel. If everything fits as you want, you can then nail down the panels. Make sure to fully tap down any nail heads to avoid accidents. Apply the stains and protective coating as needed.

Cost Comparison

To get a formal quotation for either job, you can directly contact us so our team of experts can evaluate the situation of your flooring. We will also provide recommendations for a better solution to your problem. For both types of solutions, to get an idea of the estimates of the costing, we can consider the average costs in the current market.  As an example, let us assume the following variables:

  • Floor area: 200 square feet
  • Average labour cost for refinishing per square foot: CAD 3.85 (includes sanding, and final coating)
  • The average material cost of hardwood panel: CAD 14
  • Average labour cost for replacement per square foot: CAD 6 (includes removal of hardwood panels, final coating, and installation of new hardwood)
  • Scope of work: Due to issues with the flooring, the whole area needs to be fixed

For refinishing, since the whole room needs work, you just have to multiply the total area, 200 square feet to the average labour cost for refinishing, CAD 3.85. The estimated total cost for the project amounts to CAD 770.

For replacement of the hardwood flooring, you need to add the average material cost, CAD 14, and the average labour cost to replace the flooring CAD 6. Then you will multiply the total to the total area to be covered, CAD 200 square feet. The estimated total cost for replacement amounts to CAD 4,000.

Advantages of Refinishing or Installing New Flooring

You should look at some positive factors for either option to help you decide on which of the fixes would suit your needs.

Refinishing Flooring

It is more cost-efficient. Based on the estimates shown above, there is a big difference in pricing. There is a big disparity because you have to consider the cost of buying new hardwood panels. In addition to that, there is more equipment and miscellaneous materials needed to replace old hardwood panels. It costs less than replacing your flooring with new hardwood panels. Replacement of hardwood flooring is said to cost at least 5 times as compared to going through the tedious process of refinishing.

Hardwood panels can be refinished multiple times. You can continue using this fix unless the time comes and the damages incurred become too severe.

Replacement and Installation of New Hardwood Panels

By just replacing your flooring with new panels, less time is taken up.

Having new panels will ensure you many more years before maintenance efforts are needed. Also, new panels are definitely stronger as compared to refinished ones.

During refinishing, the area becomes very dusty due to the sanding process. This is unhealthy especially if you have some allergies that might get triggered. By opting to install new panels instead, dusty rooms will not become a problem.

It is recommended to focus on efforts that are more cost-efficient at all times. With the value of hardwood flooring, if it can be saved and prolonged, you can first try to revive it. Remember that all things, regardless of how durable they are, will wear down through the passage of time. If possible, never forget to have regular maintenance and checkups done on your hardwood flooring.

Same with life, it is better to employ preventive measures, rather than reacting to problems that could have been avoided from the beginning. This works with your hardwood flooring as well. But if you still feel that replacement is the better option for you, then this is not a wrong decision as well. If there are no issues concerning your budget to fix your flooring, then you can freely choose this option. At least you are assured that with new hardwood panels, the lifespan of your flooring will become longer.

Lastly, when it comes to the implementation of either fix to your flooring, it is highly recommended that you consult first with people who are experts regarding the matter. To avoid incurring costs that should not be there in the first place, an expert can help you find the most cost-efficient way to solve your problems. In addition, having these experts handle the implementation of the project will take away the burden from you. Any hazards concerning your safety and health will be avoided as these trained professionals know what they must to be efficient in their work as well.

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