Hardwood is one of the most durable flooring materials available. However, that doesn't mean it is completely impervious to damage. Your floors will inevitably lose their lustrous color and texture over time and with wear and tear, but thankfully, a hardwood floor refinishing project can bring them back to life. If you notice any of the following characteristics about your floors, it may be time to refinish them!

Scratches & Gouges

Scratches in your hardwood may range from minor claw marks from your cat or dog to highly apparent gouges from moving furniture. If you're lucky, the scratches may only be superficial marks in the existing stain and finish. However, deeper dents will likely have penetrated the topcoats and into the wood underneath. In this case, it would be wise to search online for "floor sanding near me" to find an expert who can help to remove the top layer of your floor and help to reapply a new layer of finish to keep it looking it's best. Sometimes only a small amount of sanding is required, other times it may be more, but a new coat of finish will always need to be applied. Otherwise, a scratch can become a vulnerability point in the floor's sealant, enabling moisture to seep irreversibly into the wood.

Water Damage

Since the finish acts as a sealant, keeping water and moisture out of the wood, water damage is thus another obvious indication that your floors need a fresh coat. Water damage comes in many shapes and forms. Usually, it appears as stained floorboards or discolored areas where a pool of water was left sitting for too long. Stains may come from various sources, such as leaking plumbing fixtures, dripping air conditioners, pet accidents, everyday spills, and flooding. If the stain isn't too severe or has already somewhat faded, an extra layer of finish is all you'll need.

The other recognizable sign of moisture damage is cupped floorboards. Cupping occurs when water exposure warps the wood into a concave form. While mild cupping can be remedied with a quick sanding and refinishing, more severe forms cannot be fixed and require floorboard replacement.

Discoloration & Dullness

Discoloration doesn't only result from water stains. On the contrary, sunlight is the other main culprit. While a home with plenty of natural sunlight may be desirable for lifestyle purposes, it's not the best news for your hardwood floors. Prolonged exposure to UV rays will bleach hardwood over time, rendering the former wood stain and finish dull, grey, or discolored. Certain areas of the floor that get more sunlight may turn a slightly different hue than more shaded areas. If you're wondering why your hardwood floors don't glow as warmly as they used to, it may be time to bring back their former glory with a new finish.


Though the floorboards are initially sanded to a smoothness that would delight any barefoot, wood is still wood – and it's still prone to splintering. A particularly rough scratch may tear up a layer of wood fibers, or water may soften the wood until it disintegrates into rough patches. Regardless of how the splinters came about, they are an annoyance and a safety issue at worst. After sanding away the splinters, an extra finish layer can afford increased durability and protection, preventing the wood from splintering again.

New Floors, New You

The most substantial reason to refinish your floors is less to do with physical damage and more with your feelings about it. Do these floors continue to strike you with awe and pride every time you enter the room? Or do you hardly notice them as they fade into the background of a bland living room? Refinishing your hardwood floors is an excellent way to change the atmosphere of your home and invite an aesthetic reset. Whether completely redoing your interior design or simply reorganizing a few critical pieces of furniture, choose a new hardwood floor finish to complement your newfound style.

In Conclusion

Hardwood flooring is guaranteed to last you and your family a lifetime but only as long as you care for it. Aside from regular sweeping and microfiber mopping, maintaining your hardwood should also include sanding and refinishing. When it comes to how often to refinish your floors, the rule of thumb is to do it about once a decade. However, it's up to your personal preferences and tolerance level to see these kinds of unsightly damage daily.