A wooden floor adds warmth, character and dignity to any home. But over time, wood floors may start to wear in places or show their age and it becomes time to make a decision. You can have the floor repaired and then refinished, or you can install a brand new floor. There is no wrong answer to the question of what to do with a wooden floor, but there are wrong ways to get the results you want.
When Should You Repair, Refinish, Or Replace?
Repairing a hardwood floor is something that should be a priority as soon as you notice even minor damage. If a damaged floor is not repaired, then water and other debris can get under the floor and cause dampness, warping and splitting. It may not always be easy to integrate a repaired section of a floor with the rest of the floor, but repairing a hardwood floor is essential to keeping the house safe. Not all flooring contractors undertake repairs. You can search for a local specialist wood floor repairer on this site.
Refinishing a hardwood floor is usually done after many years of use, but is also an option after a significant amount of repair. Refinishing a hardwood floor requires sanding off the top coat of stain and sealant, and then putting down a new color and protective coating. This is a process that requires good ventilation, skill and a lot of time, and is best left to professionals.
Installing a hardwood floor usually occurs in new builds or complete home remodels, but is also an option for when you are changing the floor in a single room. If you have a concrete floor in your basement and want to make the area more welcoming, then a floating hardwood floor would be a great idea.
What to Expect with Hardwood Floor Work
A repaired hardwood floor can take days to dry and settle properly. The repaired section should be avoided, even when it feels dry. Sometimes the materials in the patch need time to settle and become more stable.
When you have a hardwood floor refinished, always wear a mask and make sure there is plenty of good ventilation. Not only will there be a tremendous amount of sawdust flying around, but the floor stain will need good ventilation to dry. Protect the rest of the rooms in your house by covering up the doorways of the room being treated and prevent sawdust from getting on furniture and into vents. Give a newly finished floor at least three days to dry before putting any weight on it.
However the complete installation of a new wooden floor is a clean process and does not require time to set. A newly installed floor can be used immediately and can completely change the look of a room in a short amount of time.
Hire a Contractor
The fact that a new hardwood floor can be used right away does not necessarily mean that the installation is a simple process. If your new floor boards are installed before they reach room temperature, then they may warp after the installation.
Remodeling existing hardwood floors is also quite complicated despite having the same process of a re-painting job. It often requires the equipment and expertise of a professional to properly strip the finish off a hardwood floor and prepare the boards for a new coat of finish. Attempting to sand the boards yourself could lead to an irregular surface. There are handy online resources that let you search for specialist floor refinishers by area.
When a mistake is made in a floor project it usually does not actualize into a problem until sometime later. For instance, a floor installed without proper spacing between the boards or between the boards and the walls can buckle when the temperature changes. Real wooden flooring is not a cheap material. Make the most of your investment, either in an installation, repair or refinishing, by entrusting it to an experienced professional.
How to Find a Good Flooring Contractor
Your local home improvement warehouses, or businesses that sell flooring materials, can give you several leads on reputable flooring contractors. When discussing your plans with a flooring contractors, remember that they understand many details of this type of project that you may not be familiar with. Always bear their advice in mind, even if it requires you to change your plans. However don't peg everything on the first contractor you contact.
Always strive to get at least three itemized quotes to compare, and also ask for their advice on specific parts of the project and see what they are in agreement with and which contractor seems the most knowledgeable. Ask each contractor to include references that you can call on to check up on what past customers have to say about the quality of work that was done. When you talk to the references, be sure to ask what kind of work was done; repair, refinishing, or installation work.
A reputable contractor will have no issue with showing you their insurance information and presenting you with their contractor's license. If you come across a flooring contractor that will not provide these items, then decline to do business with them.
A new, refinished, or repaired hardwood floor can bring character to any home. When you are ready to get your floor worked on, be sure that you have the best possible contractor on the job. You can do a preliminary check for local flooring company quotes at websites such as this one.