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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Hardwood Flooring (But Couldn’t Figure Out How to Ask Google)

When it comes to flooring, few substrates hold the majesty, appeal and old-world character as that of a quality hard wood floor.  From the glossy surface to the sleek dark finish, a well done and well-maintained hardwood floor can be that attractive edge that tips a home purchase or sale.  That is, of course, if the floors have been properly maintained.

If you’ve recently purchased, or are thinking of selling, a home with hardwood floors that are in less than tip top shape, never fear.  From major repairs to simple fixes, we’ve got a host of ideas for sprucing up those boards in ways that will leave your neighbors pining over your gorgeous planks.

Major or Minor Repairs

All puns aside, the first thing you should do when considering repairing or refurbishing hardwood floors is take an assessment of the extent of any damage.  Some instances may require a professional evaluation, but homeowners are more than capable of handling the most routine of these scenarios.  Minor dings and dents can often be sanded, buffed or evened with a bit of wood filler.

For more extensive damage such as missing planks, a little bit of threading in of new wood may be in order.  If you live in a home that previously had steam or radiator heat, holes or deterioration may exist in places where the old systems were removed.  You can fully repair and replace damaged planks, but also consider plugging or capping holes with decorative covers if you’re interested in retaining some of that history and charm of an old wood floor.

Adding that Shine

After covering the minor repairs, refinishing your floors is the next step in restoring that lustrous hardwood appeal.  While your local home improvement store sells floor sanders and buffers and you’re more than welcome to go it alone, this is most often a job left to the pros.  Sanding machines are typically large, cumbersome and heavy pieces of equipment that require a great deal of experience to operate properly.  Leaving the sander in one place for a few seconds too long can results in dips, grooves or extensive damage.

After an initial sanding, multiple coats of stain and shellac will need to be applied to seal your newly shiny fresh floor.  Additional sanding will be needed in between each of these coats, complete with a thorough cleaning to remove any dust that may end up stuck in your new finish.  The time and labor spent in this project is intensive and the potential for disastrous results is high.  A quality floor refinisher can accomplish this process for as little as $2 a square foot, making hiring outside help a wise investment.

The Nuclear Option

Finally, in some cases the damage to hardwood floors may be so extensive that repair just won’t do.  In these cases, consider replacing your floor with brand new wood planks.  In older houses, original wood floors may have served double duty as the subfloor layer, meaning they’re the perfect base for a new and improved hardwood floor install.  Modern wood plank styles often snap together easily and can be professionally installed or installed over a weekend or two by an industrious DIY’er.

Whatever route you end up taking, remember that when it comes to instant appeal quality flooring is one of the top items homebuyers look for when deciding on a potential purchase.  Dints, dings or refinishing may seem like an onerous task initially, but in the end this project is easily tackled with a little professional help.

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