Refinish, Replace or Paint Wood Floors

A lot of consideration needs to go into the flooring you choose for your home. Other than considering your personal design aesthetic and the use of the space, you have to think about what’s going to work best for you and your family – especially when it comes to refinishing, replacing, or painting hardwood floors.
I remember agonizing over what to do about the wood floors in what is our master bedroom in progress. There had been peel-and-stick vinyl tiles from approximately 1976 on top of hardwood, and though the tiles were so old they just popped right up, the residue from the glue seemed to damage the wood. Living in a 110+ year old house, we knew restoring the hardwood would not only look gorgeous, but it could potentially add to our home’s value.
After a lot of discussion and realization that we hadn’t the faintest about wood floors, we had a local wood flooring expert known for his expertise in the historic neighborhoods in the area come out and tell us his opinion on an appropriate course of action.

He informed us that our floors were not original, but did date back to the 1950’s. He recommended that we saved pieces we’d removed for our master bath to use as patches around the house because that way the wood would wear and repair the same.
The bad news, he said sadly, was that our floors were pine softwood – very hard to refinish and keep nice, hard to stain evenly and very prone to scratching. We thanked him for his time and refused to be discouraged, knowing with some elbow grease we could make these floors look beautiful.
Fast forward a year. We’ve refinished the bedroom as a tester, but left the other floors untouched for now. We went through triple the usual amount of sanding belts due to the ancient adhesive on the floor. Trying to stain them the deep dark chocolate I envisioned was painful at best, and just as splotchy as our expert predicted. And despite three coats of the hardest polyurethane we could find, it took approximately three weeks for the floor to get huge gashes from just putting our bed back in the room.
Now with a crawling near one-year-old and another on the way, we’re reassessing our floor-refinishing options. They need sanded again to even out the roughness and to take up the botched stain. Patches need to be made once I remember what I did with that extra flooring. And we’re leaning in the opposite direction of this article about staining wood floors instead of painting – we want to paint!
We love the look of the high gloss, and the even consistent color. Reading about the wearability of the product, it’s meant for indoor and outdoor use, high traffic, and mildew resistance – awesome, awesome and awesome for a house with two adults, nearly two babies, four cats and a dog.
And thinking about being able to clean without needing to wax the floors – priceless. My husband does worry about the effect on our home’s resale value, but I’m pretty sure that having poorly-stained floors due to the age and porosity of the wood wouldn’t help in that arena either.
We still have a long way to go before we can load our entire first floor out and tackle this project (although unlike last time, I should be able to help despite pregnancy), but I’m looking forward to the end results giving us beautiful, durable floors for our whole family to enjoy.

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