Is A Full Refinishing Always Necessary?

When your hardwood floors are looking dull and dirty, getting them refinished is a good way to restore their natural beauty. However, a full refinishing—one that involves deep sanding and painting—isn't always necessary. Here's an alternative that may work just as well and save you some time and money in the process.

Screen and Recoat

Hardwood floors typically have a topcoat that helps protect the wood from damage from the elements and foot traffic. Over time, though, this topcoat can wear away and become discolored, making the hardwood look dull and dirty. When this happens, many homeowners call in professionals to do a full refinish, but that may not be necessary.

A milder form of a full refinish job is called a screen and recoat (also buff and coat). In this procedure, your hardwood floors are lightly sanded to remove the topmost layer, and a new top coat is applied to the floor. Since most of the issues with your floor had to do with the old finish wearing down or dulling, replacing it can do wonders for the look of your hardwood.

Additionally, you can choose to use a different type of topcoat to change the look of your floors if you want. For instance, if your previous topcoat was too glossy, you can opt for a different one that provides a satin or matte finish, according to your preference.

Be aware, though, that this option is not available for all floors. If your hardwood floors have been waxed at any point, this procedure won't work because wax actually becomes embedded in the floor boards. In this case, a full refinish would be needed because the layer containing the wax would have to be removed.

Times When a Full Refinish Is Warranted

You may also need to do a full refinish if your floor has deep scratches that go all the way down into the wood. As noted previously, the screen process is designed to only remove the topcoat, so it wouldn't get rid of any gouges that actually damage the wood.

If your floors have worn down past their natural color or have turned grey from oxidation, then you'll need to do a full refinish to remove the affected layer and recoat with a new finish to get the color your desire. Additionally, if your floor has UV damage, a screening won't be able to address that discoloration. You'll need to completely sand it out.

For more information about refinishing your floors or to have someone come out and look at your flooring to see which process would work best, contact a company like East Penn Hardwood Flooring Corp.