Laminate or Hardwood? Choosing to Replace or Refinish Hardwood Floors
There are many reasons why hardwood floors dull and fade over time. High-traffic areas obviously wear faster than others. Improper care of hardwood flooring fades and damages the floor, leaving residue on the surface that attracts grime and ground-in dirt. Scratches and dents leave their mark as pebbles catch in shoe soles, pets walk back and forth and kids play with toys on its once glossy surface.
New homeowners of an older home are usually taken in by the character and charm of an older hardwood floor, but mistakenly cover it with laminate or vinyl floor, assuming the cost of refinishing doesn’t fit their budget. The natural beauty of hardwood can be restored! Hardwood is the only floor covering that boasts the ability to wear a layer off the top and start anew. With the right professional team in place, it is cheaper to refinish hardwood floors than to replace with laminate or hardwood anew.
Laminate and new on-trend luxury vinyl try to replicate the colour variations and grains of natural wood, but they always fall short. And while each floor covering has its own advantages and disadvantages, the benefits of hardwood flooring surpass them all.
Hardwood is the real deal. It can add considerable value to your home and is eagerly sought after. Laminate flooring may initially have a lower price point, but selections that come close to matching the effect of hardwood often range in price per square foot within reach of hardwood. Yes, hardwood can scratch and scuff, but so can laminate. Higher wear ratings of laminate (or AC ratings) come at a high price point. With proper care and attention to good cleaning practices, hardwood will last a lifetime.
Repairing hardwood is possible through refinishing. Once laminate floors are damaged, they require replacement. Try matching your laminate floor trend from five years ago! Hardwood is timeless, and through buff and coat treatments, those scuffs and scrapes can disappear without the need to replace entire rooms of floor covering. This makes it cheaper to refinish hardwood floors. Or, do you replace with new laminate or hardwood?
The condition of your hardwood floor will determine the answer to this question for you. If you inherited your hardwood floors from an older home, you may notice generations of wear and previous refinishing treatments. If the floorboards are worn down to the tongue and groove, replacement is your option. But, this would take decades to wear down or multiple refinishing treatments involving sanding and re-staining. The health of the wood’s bones will also help determine the ability to refinish. If there is rot or your hardwood floors have fallen victim to termites, naturally you will want to replace – but these are drastic examples. Refinishing will work in almost every situation and work out cheaper than replacing with laminate or new hardwood floors.
Buff and Coat: Cheaper to Refinish than Replace, Less Hassle
Refinishing is a broad term that can cover more than one type of renewal treatment for hardwood floors. For removing deep scratches, grooves, and surface wear, a professional flooring refinisher will sand down the floors, re-stain (with a new colour if you choose) and coat the floor with a urethane or polyurethane layer. This will restore the floor to its original shine, affecting a quarter inch or so of the wood’s surface.
Other refinishing treatments avoid the use of aggressive sanding and are completed with less mess within 24 hours. Buff and coat (or scratch and coat) do just that. Scratch the surface of the hardwood lightly with a screen less abrasive than the smoothest sandpaper. This creates a texture in which a new layer of urethane or polyurethane coating will adhere to the wood’s surface. Then, the contractor buffs and shines the floor. This is ideal for small scratches and scuffs proper cleaning techniques cannot hide – all at a fraction of the cost of replacing floors entirely!
The first step is partnering with a flooring refinishing and installation specialty team who surveys your needs and answers your questions in detail. Scheduling appointments, providing information and answering your calls and concerns is top-notch service. Partner that with a vetted and approved contractor who is matched to fit your specific needs! This combination of service and workmanship is getting rave reviews on sites such as homestar.com and houzz.com – both reputable sites in the home renovation industry. All in all, a quick and clean experience.
Cost-Effective – Cheaper to Refinish than to Replace Hardwood Floors
Consider the time and money it will cost to replace your older, well-loved hardwood floors. First, choosing a new floor will take time, shopping around and traveling from store to store, hoping you found the right one. Once you have decided on the floor covering, you will need to rip up existing floor coverings and prepare the subfloor. While laminate flooring is a cheaper per square foot option, don’t forget that underlay and vapor barrier in some applications is required, which adds to that square foot pricing. The inconvenience of having no floor covering for a time is frustrating, especially if there are delays to the installation. Transitional pieces need to be installed, baseboards adjusted and new paint typically follows to match new floor to new walls. Compare that with the buff and coat treatment to restore your floors to new. Or, the refinishing process to get a new colour you desire. All of the hassle and cost – it is still cheaper to refinish hardwood flooring than replace with laminate or new hardwood.
Maintain Instead of Replace Hardwood Floors with Laminate
The beauty of hardwood is stunning and over time, builds its own character and charm with age. Hardwood flooring is like a fine wine – aged to perfection but cared for and maintained along the way. Knowing how to maintain your floors properly will ensure your hardwood floors last a lifetime:
- Plan and follow a cleaning schedule including mopping, polishing and giving your floors an annual deep clean.
- Protect floors from furniture: Use felt pads on the feet of sofas and tables. Avoid furniture with plastic wheels that can cause damage to hardwood floors.
- Trim your pet’s claws: Make sure your pet’s nails are properly groomed to avoid scratching.
- Use area rugs in high-traffic areas: To protect marking up the floor. Entryways and hallways are susceptible to pebbles and stones being caught in footwear.
- Tidy entryways outside of the home: To prevent dirt tracked through the house and onto the floor.
- Avoid using oil soaps and general cleaning products: Hardwood floors will absorb oils, leaving residue and attracting dirt. Cleaning products for laminate and ceramic floors contain ammonia, which will fade and damage the colour of your hardwood floor.
- No moisture! If you must use water on your hardwood floor, keep it minimal. Do not use steam mops as the moisture will absorb into the wood and cause it to swell and warp.
Lastly, and importantly, include buff and coat treatments in the maintenance of your hardwood floor. These treatments are cheaper than replacing hardwood floors with laminate or hardwood and prevent aggressive refinishing in the future. With proper care, hardwood floors can be stunning for generations to enjoy!