Hardwood flooring is a much-loved flooring option as the natural wood adds warmth and character to any home. It is a durable flooring solution and when it receives the proper care, can last for more than a century. Many people that buy a home with existing hardwood flooring are often faced with a difficult decision. This is whether to repair or replace old hardwood floors. Hardwood floors can boost the value of a property and it is worth the consideration of having them repaired rather than replaced outright. Having said that, going with the repair option may be risky. There is always the chance that more extensive damage is uncovered during the repair process. This can result in unexpected and mounting costs as the repair project continues. What would be the best way to determine which option to choose? In this blog post we discuss some of the key indicators and factors that you can look out for when faced with this choice.
Evaluate the Type of Damage
Hardwood floors can sustain damage in several ways, with water damage often being the worst kind of damage. Water is wood’s natural enemy, and can wreak havoc on a wood floor, regardless of the floor’s finishing quality. To recognize water damage on a hardwood floor, look out for signs of:
When you see clear signs of water damage, it is not worth repairing the floor. As water causes the wood to deform it is not possible to repair it with traditional tools and equipment. Other mortal enemies of natural wood are insects, dry rot, and wet rot. Another type of damage that wood floors sustain is wear and tear and localized area damage. Holes can occur when a heavy object falls on a weakened area. Floor neglect can speed up the wear and tear process, for instance, if the floors were not regularly cleaned nor maintained properly. You may find that the floor has minor scratches, dents, or just looks worn out and
dull. Most of the time wear and tear on a hardwood floor can be repaired.
Evaluate the Extent of the Damage
The decision to repair or replace may also be based on how much damage there really is. If extensive damage is prevalent in just one or two rooms, you may want to replace the floors in those areas and repair the rest. Perhaps you just have some localized damage, then you can replace the wood in just that area. Note though that this type of repair requires an exceptional amount of skill to color match the old and new wood. Wood ages over time which affects the color, whereas new floorboards have not yet had the chance to age. In a nutshell, if the damage is more related to the finish of the floor and not so much to the actual wood, then the floor can be repaired.
When you buy a home with existing wood floors, you may not like the type of wood used, the color may be too dark, or you dislike a distinct grain in the wood. Sometimes old existing floors can be severely outdated in their design. The modern approach to living areas lean towards lighter colors and open spaces. If the floors cannot conform, it may be better to replace it. Replacement on the other hand is not necessary if the existing floors are too light. This can be changed through repair and refinishing of the floor.
In the case of severely damaged smaller areas, like a room or a corner, you can do a partial repair on your floor. One idea to minimize the color difference of the repaired area, is to make use of reclaimed wood. If your floor was originally made from a now extinct or endangered wood species, you have no other option but to use reclaimed wood. A partial repair on a wood floor is anything but simple. You can go the DIY route if you have the relevant experience, but to achieve the best results, hire a professional flooring company, like Jerry’s Hardwood Flooring. For all minor or surface damages on your hardwood floors, refinishing is the best type of repair for your floor. Through the refinishing process your floors will be sanded down to the raw wood, removing the damaged or dirty surface. This is also the ideal opportunity to apply a stain of your preference to create a whole new look.
When it comes to refinishing your floor, you have two options.
These options are hiring a professional flooring contractor or to do it yourself. The benefits of hiring a contractor include getting the job done faster, making use of professional tools and techniques and you receive a guarantee on the work done. In terms of a DIY project, there are also some benefits for you to consider. These would include cost savings and job satisfaction once it’s complete. The refinishing process is usually done in the following order:
Sanding the floor using a large sanding machine until the floor’s entire old finish has been removed. These sanding machines can be rented from some of the major hardware stores. Once the floor has been thoroughly sanded down, the dust needs to be vacuumed and the floors cleaned. This process is followed by the application of the stain, and thereafter the finish is applied. You may need to apply several coats of stain and finish after each coat has dried. Depending on the weather conditions and the brand you use, each application can take anything from a few hours to half a day to dry. Once the last coat of the finish is applied, make sure to let the floor rest for an appropriate amount of time. The purpose of this is to make sure the top layer has enough time to harden and protect your floor for longer. Of course, this may not be practical, but the longer you let it rest, the better for your floor.
If you have made the decision to replace your wood flooring, you can either go with the full thickness solid hardwood option or decide on installing engineered hardwood flooring instead. Solid, full thickness floorboards are about ¾” thick. This type of flooring has abundant options and you can choose the wood species and color that would best suit your style. It is recommended to have a replacement floor installation done by a professional flooring company. They can take care of the removal of the old floor and proceed with the new flooring installation thereafter. As a DIY project this is a very time consuming and labor-intensive project, so think twice before deciding to go solo on this. An alternative to solid wood is engineered hardwood. These boards have a real wood surface layer which is bonded to the base material. There are various engineered hardwood options available and some offer up to a ½ inch of genuine hardwood.
Summary of Replacement Vs Repair Options
Your decision to replace or repair hardwood floors should take various factors into consideration. These factors include the extent of the damage, the aesthetic value, and the options available to you. Replacement is recommended when your floor has suffered damage due to water, insects or wood rot. A repair process is the better choice when the hardwood flooring has some minor surface damage or dullness. Replacement may also be necessary if you want a lighter color wood or a different grain option. Refinishing your floor and applying a darker stain is possible if your current floor is simply too light. Refinishing of your wood floors can be done as a DIY project, but for the best results in repairing or replacing wood floors, hire the professionals.
Contact Jerry’s Hardwood Flooring for all flooring solutions. Whether you are a homeowner or a contractor, we will give you expert advice and a variety of options to choose from. Contact the friendly team at Jerry’s Hardwood Flooring to discuss your requirements or to schedule a consultation.