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When they are properly maintained, hardwood floors can last you for generations. Some homes have hardwood floors that have been in place for over a century. However, that does not mean they don’t require some maintenance. If your hardwood floor is starting to look scratched, dented, or just dull, you might consider replacing it. Before you replace it, you should consider if it can be refinished. Not every floor can be refinished; if you’re considering it, you should contact experts in your area. For example, if you are in Portland, you would consider Portland hardwood floor refinishing experts. Climate and local availability can affect your options.

Which Floors Can Be Refinished?

A solid plank hardwood floor is your best candidate for refinishing. Engineered hardwood floors are made from a thin veneer of hardwood glued to several backing layers of different wood. They can typically be refinished once or maybe twice, but the top layer is so thin that they can’t withstand repeated sandings.

Refinishing involves sanding the floor, filling some cracks and chips, and then coating the floor. If it has scratches and nicks that aren’t too deep, it can typically be refinished. If the floor has deep cracks, splintered wood, cupped boards, or just extensive damage, it will likely need to be replaced.

What About The Time and Money?

Refinishing a hardwood floor actually takes more time than installing a new floor in many cases. To install a floor, especially a prefinished hardwood floor, the wood just needs to be laid and nailed in place. To refinish the floor, contractors will first sand it down to the bare wood. They have to sand through the layer of finish and through the layer of stain. At that point, all of that needs to be vacuumed and cleaned.

Then, they will sand the wood to buff away scratches and dents. At that point, you should have a bare floor that looks like brand new wood. The experts will then stain it in your preferred color and seal it with your preferred sealant. All of that takes about five days. Then, you’ll need to allow the finish to cure. An oil-based polyurethane takes a few days before you can walk on it with socks, a few more days before you can put the furniture back, and then a few more days before it’s livable again. That can take a couple of weeks. However, what you sacrifice in time, you will often save in money.

It is almost always less expensive to refinish a hardwood floor than it is to replace one. Lastly, you’ll have a greater amount of control.

Choosing Your Style

Obviously, you can restore your floor to its original glory. In many cases, experts can match your original stain and finish to get back the original look. However, you could also choose to change it up. There are dozens of different stain colors to choose from; also, new shades can be created by mixing stains. Several colors are trending right now, and you might just want to change the look to better match emerging trends.

Furthermore, different finishes are growing in popularity. Polyurethane is still the reigning king of floor finishes, but natural finishes such as oil are on the rise.


A floor refinishing will typically take more time than replacing your floor. However, it will usually cost you less money. You’ll also be able to choose new and innovative stains and finishes that could complement your home.