top of page

What to Expect When Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Change is a constant in life, and there are plenty of things we expect to change: hair color, bed sheets (we hope), the weather. And then there are things we just assume we have to live with: Nashville summers, The Kardashians, and the color, stains, and scratches on our hardwood floors. Wait a minute, not so fast there! You are not doomed to live with the unfortunate decisions made by homeowners past. Nope, nuh-uh. Refinishing hardwoods can accomplish what seems like a miracle– within reason. Let’s talk about the ins and outs of refinishing hardwood floors.

Photo: Southern Oaks Flooring, Nashville, TN

First off, how do you know it’s time to refinish your hardwood floors? Well, there will be signs. Boards with water damage that are “cupping,” deep scratches from animals, graying wood, dullness, and discoloration. If your home is very old and you have boards going gray or black, this is a sign that you need to refinish and possibly replace some boards, sooner rather than later. However, let’s say you just bought a home and you can’t stand the color of the finish on the floors, or there just so happen to be hardwood floors under that hideous carpet...consider it an opportunity to refinish the floors before you’re even moved in.

Photo: Southern Oaks Flooring, Nashville, TN

Most hardwood floors start looking a little worse for wear after 20 years. That’s fine because they typically start out 3/4 of an inch thick, and refinishing requires sanding down 1/32 of an inch off the top. Don’t worry about the math: most hardwood floors have six to eight refinishings in them, which means that they can last many generations if cared for properly. Unfortunately, not all wood floors are created equal. Forget refinishing a laminated wood floor– if you’ve got Pergo, what you see is what you get. Engineered wood flooring can sometimes be refinished, depending on the thickness of the wood layer on top. When in doubt, ask for a professional opinion. (We hope it's ours...just sayin'.)

For one, you can expect a fresh start and complete creative control. (If you’ve been waiting to hear those words all your life, join the club!) Your dull or discolored floorboards will be taken down to the original wood, so any scratches, stains, and questionable color choices made in the past will be banished to the past. From there, you can expect to have some choices. Whether you want an ultra-chic high-maintenance dark-as-night finish or an airy, low-maintenance whitewash finish–or something in between– is up to you.

Photo: Southern Oaks Flooring, Nashville, TN

The final seal is also something you can put some thought into. Some people like a glossy polyurethane finish, while others prefer a satin or matte look. And for many people, choosing an eco-friendly wax finish like Rubio Monocoat makes the most sense. If you are lucky enough to live in one of Nashville’s many historic homes and you want to restore your floors to an original look, we can find an appropriate finish for you. The important thing is that you end up with the finish that best suits you and your lifestyle. The bottom line is that you can expect refinishing your hardwoods to completely transform your floors, and as a result, your home.

But transformation comes at a price: Refinishing can be costly, and you should also expect to evacuate the premises for a few days. Furniture will need to be relocated temporarily. This is a major operation, and you may want to plan it during a mini-vacation.

What if you don’t need or want a full floor transformation? What if your floors are just looking a little scuffed and scratched up? Why, we're glad you asked. That’s when we suggest a screen and recoat. A screen and recoat is like a facial, while a refinishing is more of a facelift. This more low-key floor cure is done in one day and just refreshes the surface of the floor.

If your Nashville hardwood floor needs a tune-up, we can help. While we can’t turn back the clock, we can certainly give your floors a brighter future. Call us at 615-416-9039 to schedule a consultation; we're always happy to help!

bottom of page