Refinish or Replace Your Hardwood Floors? Some Signs to Look Out for

Refinish or Replace Your Hardwood Floors? Some Signs to Look Out for

Should I refinish or replace my wood floor? That is the question.

Hardwood floors can last for decades, if well-maintained, but even durable hardwoods can start to show wear and age over time. Most problems can be solved with refinishing every few years. Other, more serious issues will require a full overhaul. 

How is a homeowner to know the difference? Here are some signs to look out for:

Scratches & Marks

Whether from family members, pets, or rearranging furniture, scratches and marks just come with the territory! A few small marks are not a big deal; however, if they cover a large, high-traffic area, you may consider replacing the floor altogether.

Pay attention to how deep scratches are, and keep an eye out for gouges. Once a mark reaches below the stain, your floor becomes more susceptible to water damage, which can wreak havoc on your floors.

Water Damage

A good seal will help prevent water damage, but if you experience flooding, plumbing issues, or deep gouges, serious damage to your hardwood floors can occur. 

Water damage can cause warping, shifting, and separating of planks that a simple refinishing will not solve. If you notice water damage to your hardwoods, it is definitely time to replace your floor.

Nails Sticking out

Nails poking out of your hardwood flooring isn’t just a nuisance to your socks, it can seriously hurt you, your family members, and your pets. 

Exposed nails are more likely to show up in high-traffic areas, which makes it more likely for you to get caught on one.

If there are just a couple random nails, they can just be repaired. However, if you notice many over a larger section of floor, it is time to consider replacement.


There are a few reasons that hardwood floors will become discolored over time. 

If they have been exposed to sunlight over time, they can start to fade. In this case, sanding and refinishing will bring your floors back to their former glory. It is also an opportunity to choose a different finish to fit more modern tastes.

Water damage can also be the reason for discoloration. 

If you catch minor water damage early, you may notice only slight discoloration or graying. Refinishing will easily fix that problem. Water damage left unchecked, however, can turn black, which is a sign that the wood has been compromised and will need to be replaced.

Creaking & Shifting

If walking across your floors sounds like visiting a haunted house, it’s time to have your hardwoods inspected. 

While it could just be a symptom of age, it could also be a sign of damage to structural integrity. Water damage can cause some bending and movement, but moving floorboards could also signify an issue with your home’s foundation. Better to be safe than sorry!

Excessive Wear & Tear

Keep an eye on your hardwood’s stain, as that will show you the first signs of wear and tear. 

This is most common in high-traffic areas such as a living room, entryway, or hallway. 

A little fading can be easily fixed with refinishing, but be careful! The more worn the stain, the more susceptible to more serious damage that will require replacing your hardwood floors.

Ready for a Change

Of course, there doesn’t have to be an issue with your hardwood floors for you to make a change. 

Maybe you moved into a house where you are not completely in love with the floors, or perhaps the way the boards were laid is dated. 

If you just want a different color, or to refresh the current color, you may just be able to have your floor refinished. If you want a different layout or species, or if you moved into an older house with excessively worn boards, you will want to completely replace them.

Custom Hardwood Installation & Refinishing Services in Gaithersburg, MD

Atlas Floors, Inc. has served Gaithersburg and beyond with all of their hardwood flooring needs since 1989. We specialize in expertly installed, custom-designed hardwoods for residential and commercial spaces. From refinishing and restoring flooring to replacing, we do it all! Check out our list of service areas, and contact us today!

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