Hardwood floors can last for decades with proper care. However, old age and poor maintenance can ruin the curb appeal of hardwood floors. When this happens, you must decide whether to repair or replace the floors. But how do you tell whether your floorboards are repairable? Making the right choice can save you money in the long term and improve your home's curb appeal. Therefore, here are a few factors to help you determine whether to repair your hardwood floors.
Identify Cosmetic vs. Structural Damage
There are two types of damage that occur on hardwood floors: cosmetic and structural.
Cosmetic damage refers to surface-level damage that detracts from the overall beauty of the floors. It is caused by everyday wear, such as foot traffic, spills, furniture movement, and pet scratches. Dings, dents, scratches, stains, and discoloration are the most common forms of cosmetic damage on hardwood floors. You can reverse cosmetic damage by sanding the floors and refinishing them.
Structural damage is any damage that affects the structural integrity of the hardwood floors. Structural damage is usually caused by age-related wear and tear, water damage, and improper installation. Below are the common signs of structural damage on hardwood floors:
- Wood rot and soft spots: Floorboards can rot when exposed to moisture or high humidity. Over time, rotting floorboards develop soft spots that can crumble when stepped on.
- Warping floorboards: High humidity can cause floorboards to expand and contract, which leads to warping or bending.
- Loose or popping boards: Hardwood floorboards can pop or become loose due to improper installation or wear and tear.
- Cupping: Cupping occurs due to water damage, and it causes the edges of the floorboards to swell, creating an uneven floor.
You cannot fix structural damage by sanding the floors and staining them. Luckily, you don't need to replace the entire floor. If the damage is limited to a small area of the flooring, you can replace the damaged boards only. Afterward, sand and refinish the entire floor to give it a beautiful, even finish.
Consider the Age of the Flooring
You should consider the age of your hardwood floors when deciding whether to repair them. If the floors are fairly new, you can replace worn boards and refinish the flooring to fix cosmetic damage and restore its luster. A refinishing project also allows you to change the color of the floors and give your home a new look. However, if the floors are too old or have been repaired multiple times before, replace them to save money on future repairs.
If you are uncertain whether your hardwood floors are repairable, it is best to consult a flooring contractor. The contractor will inspect your hardwood flooring and determine whether to repair or replace the floorboards.
Contact a local hardwood flooring repair service to learn more.