When to Refinish and when to Replace your Solid Timber Flooring

  • Refinish or Replace your Solid Timber Flooring?

If you have solid timber floors in your home, you already know what an excellent floor covering they are. Solid timber floors often outlast other types of floor coverings due to their ability to be refinished a number of times, depending on the timber species and board thickness. This article looks at the advantages of refinishing your existing solid timber floors, as well as the key indicators that it may be time to replace your flooring.

Refinishing Existing Timber Floors

If your solid timber floors are a bit dented, scratched up, lightly stained or worn then it may be time to refinish your floors. Unlike other types of floor coverings, such as engineered timber and hybrids, solid timber flooring can be refinished several times before needing a full replacement.

One advantage of being able to refinish your floors is cost. Sanding and finishing your floors is significantly cheaper than installing a new floor covering. Plus, a properly refinished hardwood floor will look just as gorgeous as the day it was laid!

Time is another factor to consider when looking at replacement versus refinishing your solid timber flooring. Refinishing timber floors is a less invasive and much quicker process than a full replacement of the floor. Modern floor finishing products allow you to be back walking on the floors quicker and emit less odour than traditional wood floor treatments. This means you can stay in the home or return soon after the refinishing project is complete.

Signs you timber floor can be refinished

Replacing Solid Timber Floors

Solid timber flooring can be refinished a number of times prior to needing a total replacement. If you notice the floorboards flexing, cupping, or splitting, it may be time to replace the boards. Flexing or cupping of the floorboards indicates the flooring has aged or been sanded too thin in the past. This means that the structural integrity of the boards has been compromised and could potentially become unsafe. If you notice this type of damage in high-traffic areas, such as hallways, a partial replacement of this area, in combination with a full sand and finish, could be an option.

Damage from liquid, like water or pet urine, can lead to timber floors needing to be replaced instead of refinished. To see whether your liquid-damaged floors can be refinished, ensure they are completely dry and then sand a test area. If the water damage is deep in the floorboard or too much sanding would be required to remove the damage, then replacement is required. If the damage is isolated, it is possible just to replace the damaged section of floor, followed by a full floor sand and finish. As the refinishing process takes the existing flooring back to bare timber, the patched area is often unnoticeable. Colour variation in wooden flooring is expected, and often desired, so as long as you choose the same (or similar) timber species, the new and the refurbished flooring will look fantastic. For those who prefer a more uniform look, a tinted stain is a great option.

Damage from timber pests, such as termites and borers, can trigger the need for partial or full timber floor replacement. These timber pests can cause damage to any timber found in and around the home, such as flooring, framing, garden beds, and decks. The damage found is due to the insects eating their way through the timber and leaving tiny tunnels. This compromises the structural integrity of your timber, and the floor will require replacement. Most importantly, get a pest inspection to make sure the pests are not coming back to dine on your new floor!

Signs you need to replace your timber floor

The best way to ensure your solid timber floors last a lifetime is to look after them properly and clean them regularly. Check out our article on Cleaning Timber Floors for more information.

For professional advice on whether your solid timber floors should be refinished or replaced contact the team at Back to Timber. We can refinish your existing hardwood floors or install a brand new floor. Get in touch or pop into one of our Sydney showrooms to discuss your flooring options with our friendly team.

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