Understanding the Cost and What Is Involved in Refinishing Hardwood Floors vs. New Floors

Cost of Refinishing Hardwood Floors vs. New Floors

Cost is a huge factor in the decision of refinishing your hardwood floors versus a new floor installation. The cost of refinishing a floor is almost always substantially less than replacing the flooring.


The cost for installation of new hardwood flooring is usually quoted on a per-square-foot basis. The total cost of the flooring project can vary a great deal depending on the cost of the flooring you choose. Flooring material ranges in cost from low-grade wood, such as ash, to a higher grade wood, such as oak. If you are deciding between refinishing versus new floors, you must factor in that installing new floors involves several additional costs including demolition of the old floor, disposing of the old floor, purchasing the new flooring and installation of the new floor. Costs can also increase significantly if the subfloor needs repair or replacing.


Although replacing your floors is a much more expensive option, installing new hardwood floors often takes less time and will leave less mess than refinishing. If you want to change the direction of the wood, change the design pattern, or change the type of wood you currently have, or if your floors are really old and damaged, you need to replace the flooring.


Refinishing your existing hardwood floor will obviously remove the cost of new floor material. The labour cost will most likely be the same since the installer will still have to sand and finish the floor. Labour costs can still vary depending on the condition of the existing floor. A floor that is in good condition will be easier to refinish than excessively worn or damaged floor. Labour cost will generally depend on how much work is needed to restore the wood to its best condition.


Refinishing your floors is much less expensive than replacing the floors. You can easily change the colour and texture of your current floor by refinishing. If you have just a few boards that are damaged, it is possible to replace these and refinish the rest of the floor for a unified look at a much lower cost than replacing the entire floor. By working with an experienced, reputable company, your refinishing project can be done quickly and environmentally friendly.


Making the decision between refinishing and new floors could depend on your budget. How much are you willing to spend on the flooring project? Your budget may be the deciding factor as refinishing tends to be a much less expensive alternative to replacing your floors.



How Do You Know If Your Hardwood Floors Need Refinishing or Replacing?


If your hardwood floors are in less than perfect condition, should you refinish the wood you have, or should you rip out the boards and replace the wood? Marks, scratches and some fading can usually be taken care of by proper refinishing. However, your floors can only go through the refinishing process so many times.


Although the cost of refinishing hardwood floors is a much less expensive choice, new floors may eventually become your only option. There are several signs that let you know your hardwood floors need replacement.


Water damage is an indicator that your wood floors need replacing. When you see evidence of peeling, cracking, or any buckling, replacing the floor may be your only option.


Also, refinishing may not be a good option due to cost if the subfloor shows any signs of damage. If the boards have shifted, leaving wide gaps, refinishing will not resolve the problem. In this case, it is better to rip out the flooring and replace it.


If the floors have gone through multiple refinishes, there may be nothing left to work with. Wood floors can only withstand a certain number of refinishes. Eventually, you may not be happy with the end result and it may be time for new floors.




Is Refinishing Your Hardwood Floor an Option?

One of the great things about having hardwood floors is that even when the flooring wears down and starts to show signs of aging, you might have the option of refinishing the wood to revitalize it.  Although the refinishing will look like a completely new floor and can be achieved for a fraction of the cost of new floors, it is important to note that not all woods floors can be refinished. The quality of the existing floor will play a role as to whether it can be refinished. If the floor has been badly damaged or has structural issues, refinishing might not be an option. However, scratches and basic wear and tear are easy issues to fix during the refinishing process and should not stop you from refinishing.

The actual cost of refinishing hardwood floors depends on the condition of the floor, the size of the area to be refinished and the level of expertise of the contractor. Hardwood floors can be refinished more than once, but there is a limit to the number of times the process can be done. Refinishing requires the floors to be sanded bare so they can accept the wood stain. If the floors have been refinished several times in the past, there may not be enough thickness left. Generally, solid hardwood floors can be refinished several times without any issues.


Choosing Between Installing New Floors or Hardwood Floor Refinish

Whether you are moving into a new home in the GTA, or are tired of looking at the condition of your hardwood floors, you know your hardwood needs work. Are you trying to determine whether your hardwood floors are worth saving, or whether you would be better off replacing the wood? 
Picture how your ideal hardwood floors would look. Look through photos of hardwood flooring, both new floors and refinished floors and note the differences in appearance. Are you able to achieve your ideal look with your current floors? For example, if your ideal look includes wide planks and you currently have narrow planks, refinishing is not your option. 

Replacing a wood floor is considerably more expensive than refinishing the wood. Determine what has spurred your desire for a change in flooring, and then consider whether it is worth replacing or if refinishing would suffice. Know in advance what you are willing to spend. This will help you determine whether new floors are worth the cost. If you are still unsure whether you should have new floors installed or refinish your existing floors, an experienced hardwood contractor will answer all your questions and help you get the ideal floors you are picturing.