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What is a Screen and Recoat?

Most homeowners have never even heard of a screen (or buff) and recoat, much less know the difference between that and a sand and refinish. That's why we, Nashville's hardwood flooring nerds/experts, are here: to answer questions you never even knew you should have about your hardwood floors. Now isn't that exciting? ;)


Photo: Southern Oaks Flooring

What is a screen and recoat? How is it different from a sand and refinish?

A screen and recoat abrades only the top layer of polyurethane from hardwood floors; we then apply a new top coat (or two.) Sanding and refinishing takes off all layers of finish, so all that remains is raw wood. Sanding and refinishing removes both superficial scratches and deep gouges, and it offers the chance to change both the color and finish of the hardwood floors.

What is the purpose of a screen and recoat?

We use screen and recoats to refresh hardwood floors and remove superficial scratches and imperfections. We use our buffer to gently abrade the floor, allowing a new coat of polyurethane to adhere to the existing top layer The new polyurethane adds luster to floors that have become dull and gives the floor added protection from scratches.

What are the advantages of a screen and recoat?

When done properly, screen and recoats allow homeowners to use their hardwood floors much longer without needing a full sanding and refinishing. While it saves homeowners money, this also extends the life of the floors, as refinishing removes a layer of the wood each time we go through the process. Clients can change the sheen of their floors with a screen and recoat (go from glossy to matte finish, for instance) and give dull floors new life. It is a one day process that is far less expensive and disruptive than sanding and refinishing a hardwood floor.

What are the disadvantages of a screen and recoat?

When we screen and recoat a hardwood floor, it only removes the top layer of finish. It does not repair deep gouges and it does not allow us to change the color of the floor. For hardwood floors that need a complete overhaul or numerous repairs, sanding and finishing is the best way to accomplish that.

We cannot screen and recoat floors finished with a hard wax oil finish; this process only works for those floors finished with polyurethane.

Do screen and recoats work on prefinished hardwood floors?

For many years prefinished hardwood floors could not be screened and recoated, but advancements in technology in the last several years now make screening and recoating prefinished floors possible.

How often should I have a screen and recoat on my polyurethane finished hardwood floors?

We recommend a screen and recoat about every 3 years to maintain the finish and keep them looking their best without allowing too much wear.

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