Hardwood floor refinishing is a key part of caring for hardwood floors over a lifetime. You may have hardwood floors that you want to restore to their former glory. Or you’re buying a home with wood floors that need to be refinished before you move in. Perhaps you’re selling or renting out your home, and you want to increase the market value by refinishing the floors. Or maybe you’ve decided it’s time to bring back the original luster and shine of older hardwood floors. Whatever the reason, this guide will answer every question you have about hardwood floor refinishing. (Or if you just want an estimate, you can skip to that right here!)

Can hardwood floor refinishing fix damage?

Our experts need to evaluate your floor to say if any repair is needed, but hardwood floor refinishing typically does fix minor issues. Think spots, micro scratching, minor discoloration, and restoring shine and luster. If your floors are more damaged, we can definitely repair them during the refinishing process (see the repair section below). Give us a call to arrange a time for us to come take a look at your hardwood floors.

Hardwood floor damage before refinishing
damaged hardwood floor before repair or refinishing

How fast can I get an estimate?

We work with plenty of customers that need hardwood floor refinishing within a tight deadline. Perhaps you’re selling or renting your home, and need the floors refinished before listing it or moving in a tenant. Or the reverse- you’ve just purchased a home and you want the hardwood floors refinished prior to moving in. (Which is, of course, as soon as possible).

Speed is one of the biggest reasons to choose Ace Wood Flooring. We have an in-house crew that does all the refinishing work. We also have full time estimators on staff. Their sole responsibility is to consult and provide estimates.

We can provide the estimate and get the crew started before you manage to get a call back from the small contractor that has all of these responsibilities on his own plate. We answer the phone, so give us a call now to get the ball rolling!

ace wood flooring van for estimates
get a hardwood floor refinishing estimate!

What are my hardwood floor finish options?

This question comes up a lot. Maybe your hardwood floors have suffered some wear and tear (especially if you have pets). You want to know what the most durable option is so you can extend the life of your floors in future. Or perhaps you’re after a certain look, and you want to understand how to achieve it. Your choices will fall into a couple of main hardwood floor finish categories.

Types of finishes

Satin finish. These are cloudy or matte finishes. They don’t have much gloss. This gives a far more natural look so you can enjoy the true beauty of the wood. While a satin finish isn’t as tough, it actually hides micro scratching much better.

Semi gloss finish. This finish has some shine to it. Nobody wants their living room to look like a bowling alley, but a shiny floor looks new. It has the appealing appearance you think of when you think of a newly refinished wood floor. A dry mop can quickly restore a hardwood floor with a semi gloss finish to a beautiful shine. Shiner finishes are harder, but they’ll also show micro scratching or imperfections more obviously. This is usually the look that our customers are going for. It’s by far our customers most popular finish choice.

High gloss finish. The higher the gloss, the stronger the finish, but high gloss finish isn’t typically used in homes. This is the finish that might be used in a bowling alley or on a gymnasium floor. Moisture cure is a strong high gloss finish that’s even tougher than a high gloss polyurethane finish. In fact, it’s the strongest finish available, so ask us about this if you need something really strong.

Tailored recommendations

Our hardwood floor refinishing experts will help you understand which finish option gets you the result you want. We’re often asked about matching existing wood floors, which is also a key element of any recommendation we’ll make. We can talk through preferences for a natural vs. new look, options to match existing wood floors, and show you samples in person. Give us a call today to schedule an estimate!

hardwood floor semi gloss finish
A semi gloss finish looks pretty great!

Can you match my existing hardwood floors?

Many of our customers want to know if we can match hardwood that’s already in the house.

Existing floors

The first thing we need to know is what type of wood the existing flooring is made of. More than 90% of the time the wood can be matched, which is the key to a consistent appearance. Most hardwood flooring is oak or red oak, which is easy to match.

Floors with colored stains like dark brown or grey can be a bit trickier to match. Even if you know the exact brand and color of the stain that was originally used, there’s no way to custom blend stains. Even when purchasing a stain from the same manufacturer with the same color name, they’ll be slightly different. (This is similar to using a different dye lot in yarn or carpet). That being said, the difference is often very small.

The other factor to consider with an existing floor is that the existing wood stain will have oxidized and faded with age.

Matching Options

Let’s assume the existing hardwood floor is older and you want the new flooring to match as closely as possible. It’s usually best to sand the existing floor and finish old and new together. We’ll sand off the top layer of the existing floor. Then we install the new flooring (matching the type of wood, of course), and refinish the entire floor. The new floor will be a little paler than the existing wood, but the difference is going to be very small.

Matching Colors

We’re also often asked if colors can be changed, especially from new homeowners. Maybe you purchased a home with espresso floors, but you prefer a golden oak or something more contemporary like grey.

While we can make a floor lighter by sanding off the existing stain, it’ll only be as light as the wood. For example, we can’t make a dark wood white. But if someone applied an espresso stain to oak, we can bring the floors back to their natural oak look. Lightening a color is possible, depending on the wood. (The vast majority of the time, the flooring is indeed oak).

In summary: if you want us to match a new floor to your existing floor, we can make it match pretty well. If we’re refinishing the existing floor, installing the new floor, and refinishing it all together, we can make it match really well.

matching existing hardwood floors
We can usually match the repaired and/or new flooring to your existing flooring.

Can you repair my floors during the hardwood floor refinishing process?

Maybe you found wood floors under carpet, want to restore painted wood floors, or have pet or water damage. Repair and restoration often comes with the territory when refinishing wood floors.

Hardwood floor refinishing can solve a number of things on its own. Think spots, micro scratches, slight discoloration, or floors that have lost their shine.

Our team is experienced at repairing wood floors during the refinishing process. We can help with gaps, buckling, separation, noisy or squeaky floors, and of course water damage. Water damage is our number one repair request by far. It’s usually caused over time by pet stains or from watering plants.

What repair most often actually means is that boards will need to be replaced. Prolonged water exposure actually turns the wood black, and that can’t be sanded out.

Pet Stains

Once we’ve repaired pet stains, we’ll actually need to treat the spot so your pet can’t find it again. We have special treatments that we put down to make it “disappear” to them. (We do this quite often with carpet, too).

Speaking of pets, we’re often asked if we can repair claw scratches without replacing boards. Here’s the thing. Pet nails don’t just scratch the floors, they actually dent the wood in the same way a high heel does. Refinishing can fix very minor micro scratching, but not actual dents.

We also are often asked if we can fix a “spot”. While hardwood floor refinishing can fix a dull floor, there really isn’t a way to fix a “spot”. Think of this like a car door. If it gets a dent or ding in it, a body shop can’t just paint the spot. They need to paint the whole door, or even the whole car for everything to match.

hardwood floor refinishing and repair
Repair often comes with the territory when refinishing hardwood floors, especially with water damage.

Can you refinish and/or match my wood staircase?

We do refinish wood staircases (we’re one of the few companies in Rhode Island that does!) We’re often asked about matching spindles, balustrades, and railings to existing wood stairs and floors.

We can match the type of wood. If you have a red oak or white oak floor, and you’re replacing the spindles with red or white oak, we can match the color.

What we can’t do is refinish and sand individual spindles, rails, or newel posts. These are intricate pieces and our equipment can’t strip the finish out of all the crevices and details. A post is much more ornate than a flat piece of flooring, and our sanders would literally flatten any curves.

The best solution is to install new spindles and railings to match the treads of your newly refinished staircase.

It takes a lot of experience to refinish staircases. There’s a lot of detailed, exacting work involved just to refinish the stairs themselves. That’s why we’re one of a very few companies that will actually refinish stairs, so give us a call today!

floor refinishing staircase matching
To get your spindles to match your refinished stairs, it’s best to install new.

What are the steps and timeline with hardwood floor refinishing?

If you’ve never had a wood floor refinished before, you’re probably curious about exactly what the steps are. Let us know if you have any questions!

  1. Meet with us. Choose the finish, color, any need to match existing flooring and any time constraints, and get your estimate!
  2. Set the date with us. Before we arrive, move all the furniture out of the room. (If we’re installing prefinished wood this may not be required. We do need the room to be empty when sanding and applying finish however.)
  3. We’ll set up our work area and cover everything, including door openings, to reduce dust as much as possible.
  4. We’ll sand and clean the floor. This takes a day or maybe two, depending on the size of the floor.
  5. We’ll apply the stain and finish. This generally also takes a day or two, depending on the size of the floor.
  6. Wait at least 24 hours for the finish to dry before moving furniture back into the room. Wait 48 hours if it’s humid. You definitely want to keep pets off the floors for 4 full days.
  7. Protect your investment with a custom area rug!
  8. Repeat the hardwood floor refinishing process every 5-8 years to keep your floors looking  brand new.
hardwood floor refinishing timeline
The steps are sand, clean, stain, and refinish.

How dust free is dust free hardwood floor refinishing?

We’re often asked whether the refinishing process is 100% dust free.

Dust free usually means 99.9% percent dust free. Every 100 feet of floor that’s sanded generates about ten POUNDS of dust. So if we’re sanding 1000 feet, that’s 100 pounds of dust. If we’re 99.9% dust free, this means you’ll still see a few ounces of dust. While this can spread out in a thin layer, it can be wiped up very easily. It’s usually not a big deal at all, as long as you’re expecting it.

Our refinishers take every precaution to reduce or eliminate dust possible. They block off the room and cover anything needed, including any room openings, with plastic. They tape cabinets shut if needed. We use special dust containment sanders to capture the dust from sanding.

We actually own a 100% dust free system, but we’re almost never asked to use it. To get to 100% dust-free, you sacrifice quite a bit of speed and efficiency. The 500 square foot floor that we can sand in a day with a 99.9% dust free result takes 7 days at 100% dust free. This makes the cost much higher so generally our customers elect for the 99.9% option. (With the difference in price, you could easily hire a professional cleaner if you didn’t want to wipe up the small amount of dust left behind yourself).

dust free refinishing equipment
Our equipment grabs the dust as we sand.

Do you have experience refinishing commercial floors?

Our business customers often have special considerations, especially around timing. Often, businesses don’t want to have the floors being refinished during specific times of the day, week, or year, which is totally understandable! Our staff can accommodate the needs of businesses and we have experience refinishing and repairing hardwood floors in many of Rhode Island’s wonderful businesses. Schools, gyms, hotels, retail shops, rental property, and offices – we’ve worked with them all. We’ve done commercial refinishing work for small hair salons, to the historical Newport mansions, to RISD. You name it, we’ve done it!

We’re also a great partner if you’re looking for a flooring expert to add to your rolodex. We have great relationships with general contractors, kitchen contractors, property managers, and more.

commercial hardwood floor refinishing
We’ve refinished hardwood floors in beauty salons, state houses, Newport mansions, and RISD, so chances are we can help 🙂

How can I protect my newly refinished floors?

Area rugs are a great way to protect your floors, and we can help! Carpeting can be made into a custom area rug by simply binding the edges, which we can do easily. We have a huge selection of carpet, which means anything is possible. You have thousands of options to customize color, texture, and size so you can get the perfect area rug.

Ultimately, the best solution is prevention. Remove high heels, trim pet nails, and use felt protectors on furniture legs. A satin finish will hide dents and scratches better (though it’s also less durable). Once the floor is damaged, it needs to be refinished and/or repaired to restore it to its former appearance.

protect your refinished hardwood floor with an area rug
We can bind any carpet into a custom area rug to protect your newly refinished hardwood floor.

Still have hardwood floor refinishing questions?

We hope this article answers all your questions about hardwood floor refinishing, but if not, our experts are here to help! Give us a call now – we’ll answer the phone!

get a hardwood floor refinishing estimate
Our experts are standing by, so give us a call now!