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Hardwood Floors:  Replacing vs.  Refreshing them –

Spring is on it’s way, and it reminds us all that things can be made new again. Sometimes that means refreshing your hardwood floors. After all, according to Architectural Digest, the biggest reason homeowners refinish or replace hardwood is for aesthetic reasons, not because there’s something “wrong” with them.

So whether you’ve just bought a new home, or you simply want to update your floors to take advantage of new trends in color and design, updating your floors is a great way to update your home.

Fortunately, hardwood is the most versatile and resilient of all hard surface products. So updating them  could be as simple as changing the color, the texture, or the finish. All of which can be done relatively quickly, without tearing out your existing floors. And at about half the cost of replacing them!

If you are looking for new floors altogether, be sure to check out our Complete Guide to Hardwood, where you’ll find out what is trending, what’s not, and what kind of hardwood best suits your lifestyle.

How to Change the Color of Your Existing Hardwood Floor

Changing the color of your hardwood floor means changing the stain you have on it. Going from a light stain to a dark is simple. You choose the precise color and hue you want, whether modern grey or the soothing cocoa-purple of walnut, burnt umber of mahogany or something all your own. The refinishing team will do the rest.

If you want to go from dark to light, though, the process is a bit more involved.

“A dark stain gets impregnated deep into the wood grain,” says Rudy Hassid, National Wood Flooring Association inspector and owner of Floortex Design. “When a floor is very old, the stain often penetrates even deeper, so deep in some cases that we would need to take extra steps to remove the dark hues before we can re-stain.”

Before re-staining can begin, the old, dark shades must be sanded away. And that means the surface layer will be sanded down up to an 1/8 of an inch. In some cases, the floor may need to be bleached to remove the residual, dark stain that has seeped deep within the wood.

But don’t worry, hardwood floors can be sanded multiple times, especially those in older homes, where the wood tends to be thicker.

Once the floor is sanded (and bleached if needed), your hardwood specialist applies the stain of your choice. He can also apply surface affects, such as distress for a vintage look, hand scraped for a farmhouse feel. Or he can sand it to a smooth classic texture. All designed to achieve the specific look and feel you envision.

Finally, your flooring specialist will apply a finish to complete the look. You can choose from more than a half dozen finishes (from high gloss to a warm and soothing matte).

To learn more about the various affects and finishes you can apply to your floor, download our free Guide to Hardwood Flooring.