Choosing Hardwood Floor Resurfacing vs. Refinishing

By Samuel N •  Updated: 07/11/23 • 

Hardwood flooring has been, for a long time, one of the most popular flooring in most homes. Part of their popularity comes from their durability and beauty. However, inevitably time catches on, and your hardwood floors will wear down from years after years of serving you.

When this happens, you can refinish or resurface your hardwood floors. In this article, we’ll compare refinishing and resurfacing hardwood floors to help you make an informed decision on giving your floors a fresh look.

Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Refinishing a hardwood floor involves sanding down the hardwood flooring to remove imperfections like scratches, stains, or dents. Once the floor is sanded down, you apply you can proceed to stain it or apply a protective finish like polyurethane.

Sanding Down A Hardwood Floor

Sanding Down A Hardwood Floor

Most of the time, refinishing a hardwood floor is a simple DIY job. You only need a good floor sander, stain, and a top protective coat. However, refinishing a hardwood floor will take several days, so be patient and take your time for guaranteed better results. On average, it will take about three days to refinish a hardwood floor.

Sanded and Refinished Red Oak Hardwood Floor

Sanded and Refinished Red Oak Hardwood Floor

Refinishing a hardwood floor is usually done after seven to ten years to give the floors a new life. In their lifetime, most hardwood floors can be refinished up to five times, depending on the thickness of the floor.

Resurfacing Hardwood Floors

If your hardwood floors have been refinished several times or some planks are worn out beyond repair, resurfacing them is the best option. Resurfacing a hardwood floor involves:

Once you have done all that, you can apply your desired stain or finish to give the hardwood floors a new look. You can also resurface your hardwood floors by installing an overlay. This is a new flooring, like laminate or vinyl, on top of your existing flooring.

Replacing Hardwood Floor Planks When Resurfacing

Replacing Hardwood Floor Planks When Resurfacing

Compared to refinishing, resurfacing can be more time-consuming and expensive. It is not a DIY-friendly task and will require special tools, so you might have to contact a professional to handle it.

Refinishing vs. Resurfacing Hardwood Floors

Condition of the Hardwood Floor

The condition of your hardwood floors also determines if you will refinish or resurface. Refinish the floor for minor hardwood floor damage, sun fading, or normal wear and tear signs. However, you should resurface the floor if the hardwood floors are cracked, highly dented, warped, or show extensive damage.

Extensively Damaged Hardwood Floor

Extensively Damaged Hardwood Floor

However, no resurfacing will work for extensive structural floor and flooring damage. You choose to install new flooring at this point, which is even more costlier than resurfacing. If hardwood flooring is expensive, there are other flooring options you can check out.

Cost Difference

Many factors influence the cost of refinishing or resurfacing a hardwood floor. These include the size of the room, shape, type of hardwood used, type of finish, and local labor costs.

However, refinishing a hardwood floor is always much cheaper compared to resurfacing. If your floor is fairly even and smooth, you only need to sand it slightly to remove scuff marks, stains, and discoloration. You should hire a belt sander to sand the floor because doing it by hand can be very straining.

To resurface a hardwood floor, there are so many processes involved that will require more money. Everything from sanding, replacing worn-out hardwood planks, making it even, and reinforcing it will add to the cost. Depending on the extent of damage on your hardwood floors, all these expenses will add up compared to refinishing.

DIY vs. Use Professionals

Depending on the extent of your damaged hardwood floors, you can choose to DIY or hire a professional team. Refinishing a hardwood floor is easier; you can take it up as a DIY project.

You’ll require a good floor sander, which you can hire, and you’re good to go. Most of the other tasks, like staining and recoating, can be easily done. You can also choose sandless refinishing or dust-free refinishing to eliminate the messy part.

Different Floor Sanding Equipment

Different Floor Sanding Equipment

Resurfacing requires different tools, from power saws, grinders, sanders, and nail guns, to get the job done. For a homeowner, buying these tools for a project is expensive, and you might have to hire a professional team.

To Refinish or Resurface?

Refinishing a hardwood floor can fix surface-level issues such as scratch marks, dents, discoloration, wear, and other surface imperfections. However, resurfacing is better for extensive damage involving warped or rotten hardwood planks than completely replacing it with another hardwood flooring.

Samuel N

Samuel N is the founder of Improve Floor and has been in the flooring industry since 2005. Since then, his mission has been to make flooring easier for everyone. He helps countless people with flooring installation, finishing, maintenance, and repairs each year.