Hardwood Floor Resurfacing vs Refinishing: Which One is Right for You?

When it comes to renovating your home, there are many decisions to make, and one of them is how to spruce up your hardwood floors. Over time, your hardwood floors can become dull and worn out. But fear not, you have options to breathe new life into your floors. Two common options are hardwood floor resurfacing and refinishing.

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between hardwood floor resurfacing and refinishing and help you determine which option is right for you.

What is Hardwood Floor Resurfacing?

If you’re looking to restore your hardwood floors without completely replacing them, resurfacing is a great option. Resurfacing involves sanding down the top layer of the wood to remove any imperfections, such as scratches and stains. This process will also smooth out any bumps or grooves in the wood.

Resurfacing is a good option when your hardwood floors have surface-level damage, such as scratches or scuffs. If your floors have deep gouges or water damage, resurfacing may not be enough to restore them to their former glory. In this case, refinishing or replacing your floors may be a better option.

Resurfacing Hardwood Floors

How Does Hardwood Floor Resurfacing Work?

The process of hardwood floor resurfacing involves several steps:

  1. Preparing the Floor – The first step is to prepare the floor for resurfacing. This involves removing any furniture, rugs, or other items from the room and cleaning the floor thoroughly.
  2. Sanding the Floor – The next step is to sand down the top layer of the hardwood floor. This is done using a powerful floor sander that removes any scratches, stains, or imperfections in the wood.
  3. Applying the Finish – Once the floor has been sanded down, a new layer of finish is applied to the wood. This can be a clear coat, or it can be stained to add colour to the wood.
  4. Drying and Curing – The finish must be allowed to dry and cure completely before the floor can be used again. This typically takes several days, during which time the room must be kept empty.
  5. Final Touches – After the finish has cured, any final touches can be made, such as installing new baseboards or trim.

What is Hardwood Floor Refinishing?

Refinishing is a more involved process than resurfacing. Refinishing involves sanding down the entire top layer of the wood, rather than just the surface, to remove any imperfections. After sanding, a new stain or finish is applied to the wood to give it a fresh look.

If your aged hardwood floors have deep scratches, gouges, or water damage, refinishing may be the best option to restore them. Refinishing can also be a good option if you’re looking to change the look of your floors entirely.

The Hardwood Floor Refinishing Process

  1. Inspection and Preparation

The first step in refinishing your floor is to inspect the floors for any damage or defects that need to be addressed. This includes scratches, dents, and gaps between the boards. Once the inspection is complete, the floors need to be thoroughly cleaned to remove any dirt, dust, or debris that may have accumulated over time.

  1. Sanding

The next step in the process is sanding. Sanding can be a messy and time-consuming process, but it is essential for achieving a smooth, even surface that will be ready for the new finish.

  1. Staining (optional)

If you want to change the colour of your floors, staining is the next step in the process. Staining allows you to customize the colour of your hardwood floors to match your personal style or the decor of your home. It’s important to note that staining is an optional step in the process, and some people may prefer to leave their floors in their natural state.

  1. Sealing

This involves applying a sealant to protect the wood and give it a smooth, polished finish. There are many different types of sealants available, including polyurethane, wax, and oil-based finishes. Your flooring professional can help you choose the right sealant for your floors based on your lifestyle and aesthetic preferences.

  1. Buffing and Final Touches

The final step in the hardwood floor refinishing process is buffing. This includes buffing the floors to remove any remaining dust or debris and adding any trim or moulding around the edges of the room.

Hardwood Floor Refinishing Process

Comparison of Refinishing Hardwood Floors and Resurfacing

Floor Refinishing

The benefits of refinishing hardwood floors are numerous. First and foremost, refinishing can make your hardwood floors look brand-new again. The sanding process removes any scratches or other damage, leaving you with a smooth, even surface that looks great.

Additionally, refinishing can increase the longevity of your floors, since the protective finish or stain helps to prevent future wear and tear. While refinishing is a more time-consuming and expensive process than resurfacing, the results can be well worth it. However, it’s important to note that refinishing can be disruptive to your home and require you to keep the area clear while the work is being done.

Floor Resurfacing

Resurfacing, on the other hand, offers a great middle ground between refinishing and replacing your hardwood floors. While it doesn’t provide as comprehensive of restoration as refinishing, resurfacing can still restore the original lustre of your wood flooring and protect it from future wear and tear. This process involves cleaning and lightly sanding the surface of the floors before applying a new finish or stain.

Resurfacing hardwood floors is less time-consuming and costly than refinishing, making it a great option for homeowners who want to spruce up their floors without breaking the bank. However, it’s important to note that resurfacing will not cover deep scratches or other major damage in most cases.


When it comes to hardwood floor resurfacing and refinishing, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each process offers its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to consider the condition of your floors and your budget before making a decision. Refinishing is more comprehensive, but it also requires more time and money. Resurfacing is an excellent option for restoring the original lustre of your wood flooring without breaking the bank. Ultimately, both processes can provide an attractive outcome, so do research to decide which is right for you.

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