When To Refinish Hardwood Floors? (2023 Updated)

Imagine your home with those beautiful hardwood floors that bring warmth and charm to your space. These floors look great and last long, but like anything precious, they need care.

To bring back their original beauty and keep them strong, refinishing is a fantastic option. But how can you tell when it’s time to do this?

An average hardwood floor can be sanded 4-6 times over the course of its lifetime, depending on its thickness and the experience of the flooring professional.

It is recommended to refinish hardwood floors every 7-10 years, which means that 4-6 refinishes should be enough.

So, When Should You Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Wood floors can last a lifetime if they are cared for properly. Generally, hardwood floors are expected to last seven to ten years with normal wear and tear.

If hardwood floors are cleaned and polished every few months, they will look new for a long time, but eventually they will need to be refinished.

Floors can be sanded around 4-6 times during their lifetime, depending on their thickness and the flooring professional’s experience. The 4-6 refinishes are more than adequate for hardwood floors, which can be refinished every 7-10 years.

There are several factors that determine how often hardwood floors should be refinished.

In addition to hardwood floor maintenance and care frequencies, foot traffic, daily wear and tear, and accidents can also play a role in hardwood floor damage.

The shine of your wood floors may not be restored after cleaning and polishing as you used to, so refinishing might be in order.

Refinishing hardwood floors can extend the life of your floor, so don’t worry about how much it will cost.

A hardwood floor is a smart investment when you consider the value it can bring to a home, not to mention that it is an environmentally friendly solution.

We understand if this sounds like a hassle you’d rather avoid. Our recommendation is to hire a professional to handle the work.

Best Time To Refinish Wood Floors

When Should I Refinish My Wood Floors

Refinishing hardwood floors doesn’t have a “best” time. You can refinish your floors provided the temperature remains between 65 and 75 degrees during refinishing and cure time.

In humid climates, you may want to wait until the weather is less humid before doing this.

Due to people leaving the house for long periods of time during the summer, this is a good time to refinish floors.

To minimize inconvenience to you and make the process safer, request dust-free sanding and Bona stains, sealers and finishes. You’ll also be able to return home sooner.

How Do I Know If My Floors Should Be Refinished?

How Do I Know If My Floors Should Be Refinished

Considering refinishing your hardwood floors is a good idea if your floors have the following issues.

Water Damage

Water damage can be detected by stained or discolored flooring. The first thing to determine is whether the water damage is minor (contained in a small area, caused by something like a puddle) or major (damaged to a larger area as a result of flooding)?

The unfinished underside of the boards can absorb more moisture than the top surface, causing the bottoms to expand and create raised seams when standing water soaks into the wood.

If you need an assessment, we recommend contacting a professional since some floorboards might need to be replaced.

You Want A New Look

For changing your floors’ color, refinishing is a great option. While a floor’s existing finish is typically removed and replaced during refinishing, a floor’s stain can also be removed in order to restore its original look.

It is possible to refinish floors once the stain has been removed, depending on your preference of color, sheen, and even texture.

Some Boards Are Turning Gray

Some Boards Are Turning Gray

If your hardwood turns gray, you should finish it…and do so as soon as possible to prevent more damage.  Your floors are begging for your attention.  Water absorbs into the wood when the polyurethane wears off. 

There are many sources of water, including rain, snow, pet’s paws, spilled drinks, and even ordinary cleaning products. 

Water causes the wood to oxidize and turn gray.  The wood on your floors will eventually turn black if you don’t repair it. You will need to replace the floors at that point (as sanding won’t solve the problem).

As soon as you start seeing gray, you should be on the lookout.  You should refinish the area quickly and ensure that no more water is absorbed in the gray areas.

Major Scratches, Dents Or Gouges

You cannot fill in micro scratches with your usual routine of cleaning and polishing hardwood floors with major scratches or gouges.

You can often resolve such issues by sanding, filling, and refinishing, but consult with a floor care professional to ensure a proper assessment and to determine the best course of action.

Impossible To Remove Stains

Impossible To Remove Stains

Even though you’ve tried everything, you can’t get rid of it. Despite regular floor cleaning and deep cleaning, some stains on hardwood floors cannot be removed.

The most common cause is pets, and these may not only be unsightly, but also odorous. Call a professional now. Possibly a professional cleaning technique can be performed to eliminate the need for sanding, but they will need to assess the issue.

Fading And Discoloration From The Sun

Depending on the hardwood species, too much direct sunlight can cause hardwood flooring to bleach, fade, or even darken due to its photosensitivity.

Pulling back or moving an area rug from a sunny location without shade can reveal obvious signs of sun damage to wood flooring.

What can be done? Consult a professional. Your wood floor may need to be sanded and refinished if sun damage has been diagnosed.

Hardwood Floor Refinishing vs. Resurfacing

It’s a great way to restore old hardwood floors to their original beauty by refinishing them.

Hardwood resurfacing is also sometimes referred to as hardwood refinishing.

If you’re looking for a flooring professional to restore your hardwood floors, it’s helpful to know the difference between these two processes.



You’ll need to refinish damaged flooring in order to restore it completely. Staining and lacquering your hardwood gives you the opportunity to change its color. A drum sander is used to sand the top layer of the wood during refinishing.

Refinishing hardwood yourself can be done with the right equipment, but the exact technique may be better left to a specialist.


If the floorboards are warped, bent, or rotted, they can be removed, uneven boards can be ground down, and new nails can be nailed to reinforce the planks. 

Resurfacing can be as time-consuming as refinishing but can be more expensive. Investing in both equipment and materials would make this another task best left to the professionals.

Buffing or Screening

Buffing involves recoating the finish and does not remove any wood. Using a rented floor buffing tool, you can lightly sand scratches and wear on your floors and apply a new coat of finish if they are only surface level.

The wax or prefinished surfaces of your floors cannot just be buff without leaving blotches. It is important to keep in mind that when you refinish your floors, you are removing a layer of wood. 

Throughout the lifetime of a solid hardwood floor, between 10 and 12 sanding and refinishing jobs will be required. The surface veneer of engineered wood floors is usually only refinishable once or twice, as they are mostly layered constructions.

Is Refinishing Hardwood Floors Worth It?

Yes, without a doubt. The refinishing of hardwood floors may not only make you feel proud of your floors but may also increase the value of your home.

Moreover, refinishing your hardwood floors will improve their integrity and lengthen their lifespan by adding a layer of protection.

How Much Does It Cost To Refinish Hardwood Floors?

A job estimate can vary greatly based on a number of factors when it comes to refinishing hardwood floors. The size of the area, the age and condition of the flooring, and the moisture level are all factors to consider.

A damage assessment is necessary if damage has occurred, since different approaches to the situation may be required based on the type and extent of damage. Another factor is the hardwood species.

You should invest in hardwood refinishing if you want your floors to look and perform their best. Like every home, every refinishing company is different.

For a typical hardwood refinishing job, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1.50 to $7 per square foot, depending on the extent of the services provided and the stain and finish you select.

In most cases, you’ll need to pay about $60 per gallon for water-based or polyurethane finishes if you decide to refinish your floors yourself.

Depending on where you live, you may be required to rent an equipment rental service if you intend to use a drum sander. Rental costs can be as high as $70 per day if you plan to do the job yourself.

What to Expect When Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Baseboards are removed and sanded with a drum sander; a heavy tool used in refinishing.

During the job, there will be a lot of noise. Wood filler color-matched to your wood species is used to fill cracks in floors that are sanded down to the bare wood. To add color, a stain is applied, followed by two to three coats of finish.

Dust may be present, though many pros use dustless sanding attachments that are better for allergic customers.

Either way, you will seal doorways and turn off your HVAC system so dust does not circulate. If you stain wood, you may experience strong odors for up to 24 hours after application.

Final Words

It is only necessary to refinish your hardwood floor every few decades to fix any surface-level issues. Some cases, however, may require you to completely replace your floors due to extensive damage.

Your local hardwood flooring professional should be able to assess the damage accurately if you’re not sure whether your floor needs to be replaced or just refinished.

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