Hardwood floors: restore or replace?
Generally speaking hardwood is one of the most robust materials used for flooring out there, with the right treatments its resistant to scratching and staining and with a little TLC it can last for decades or longer.
Even if you’ve got hardwood flooring in a high traffic area, or you’ve just moved into a new house where the floors have been left a little neglected, part of the beauty of using wood in the home is its restorability! A hardwood floor which has seen better days may only need a little sanding and refinishing from a skilled tradesman to fully return it to its former glory, restoring your floors also gives you a great opportunity to mix it up a little, maybe try a different type of finish, which can completely change the character of the room.
However, sometimes it might be time to pull up those old floorboards and put down something new! This could be because the flooring is so extensively damaged that restoration is not really an option, or it may just also be of course that hardwood flooring is just not your bag and you want to change it to something a bit more your cup of tea.
If you’re stuck in the middle deciding whether you should get your flooring restored or replaced with either; brand new hardwood flooring, reclaimed timber, or a whole different material altogether there are a few things you may want to consider…
Providing your flooring is not in terrible nick and you just want to make it look a little fresher, then restoring is obviously the best choice. There’s no point ripping it up and putting down new timber when your old flooring is still perfectly good. If you want something a little different then look into different types of varnish and other kinds of finish, painted floorboards are a great way to achieve a variety of different styles from seaside-rustic to super-modern.
If you wish to change the aesthetic of the wood however (e.g. from oak to mahogany) or you’re not a fan of hardwood floors, then it may be time to pull them up and put down flooring that’s more you. Check out our guide to the pros and cons of different types of flooring to see if you can find the perfect match for your home.
Hardwood is a tough and hardy material which can stand up to a lot of abuse over the years, this means in many cases it’s not necessary to replace it. However, in cases of severe damage for example; if it’s left warped and rotten from flooding or it has been the victim of years of untreated woodworm attacks, then it may be that replacing is the best option, don’t be too disheartened though. it could be that only some boards are damaged and much of the floor can be saved.
When it comes down the cost, it’s most likely that refinishing will work out considerably cheaper than replacing hardwood flooring (even if with a cheaper material) as the only material you are going to be paying for are products used to treat the wood.
Depending on the state of the current hardwood floor, refinishing it can actually take longer than replacing it with new timber, as the refinishing process requires sanding, multiple treatments and drying times. Whereas these days putting down a new floor whether hardwood, laminate, tile or carpet can be done fairly quickly.