Are your hardwood floors starting to look a bit worn down by the traffic over the years? Every little bit can take its toll on formerly pristine boards. Refinishing the floor is an extensive and disruptive task, so it's important to only take that option when you absolutely need it. This is particularly true for engineered hardwood flooring, as you can only refinish it a handful of times before you're through the veneer. 

 

Examine Your Hardwood Flooring

 

Get up close and personal with your floor to examine the extent of the damage. Do you see deep wear and tear that goes entirely through the finish in multiple areas of the floor? Are there only a few scrapes and scratches scattered near furniture and high traffic areas? Can you find signs of water damage or warped floor boards? 

 

You don't need to resort to a whole room refinishing if you don't see a lot of damage. Some scratches and wear are typical for hardwood flooring, and over time can actually help the pattern come through more prominently. You gain more character from the wood due to this effect, so it's not actually in your best interest to refinish minor areas. You can use touch up treatments for any areas that are particularly problematic. 

 

For severe damage, it's best to go forward with the finishing process. You don't want to compromise your wood flooring or cause long lasting issues due to water. While you can go the DIY route with the refinishing process, you need to go through the trouble of renting equipment and knowing that you'll take longer than a professional crew. Even the best flooring contractors are going to need a few days to get everything handled. If you're on your own, you could double or triple the time it takes. Or even worse - you could end up not finishing the project at all and have half-unfinished floors.

 

Some woods are more challenging than others to refinish. Engineered hardwood requires a gentle touch, as the thin veneer layer does not give you much room to make mistakes. Certain solid hardwoods, such as maple, are also more difficult to finish than the typical wood. 

 

If your floors are getting a complete refinishing, decide if you want to change up the stain. You can completely transform a room by moving from a light stain to a much deeper one.