When Are Hardwood Floors Beyond Repair?

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When you invest in hardwood floors, knowing when to repair over when to replace is an excellent way to understand what services your floors need. If you are starting to notice any signs of normal wear and tear like dents from dropped items, scratches from animal claws, stains from spilled food, or water damage from houseplants, you may be unsure what kind of services your floors need. Luckily, the normal wear and tear of everyday life is rarely a cause for full replacement. That said, it is good to know what kinds of damage should result in replacement of a portion of your hardwood flooring. Let us explore different types of damage common to hardwood floors to clarify the question: when are hardwood floors beyond repair?

As third-generation hardwood flooring experts in Colorado Springs, we often get approached by clients wondering if their hardwood floors are beyond repair here at G3 Hardwood Flooring. By utilizing our extensive knowledge on refinishing and replacing hardwood floors, we will easily be able to diagnose the exact service your floors require. Below we have compiled a short guide to help demystify some of the common questions we get regarding various types of damage on hardwood floors.

Repair Hardwood Floor Finish or Replace the Wood?

The first thing to consider is what kind of damage your floor has experienced and how prevalent the damage is. This will help guide you down one of two paths, to repair or to replace. The type of damage on hardwood floors is the most important piece to consider because of the different processes involved in each different type of repair. 

Some of the most common damage that plagues hardwood floor owners are water damage, stains, scratches, and gouges–these typically only require a simple refinish to correct. 

However, other, more substantial damages like splitting, cracking, gapping boards, buckling, and warping require more substantial repairs and in some extreme cases, replacement of sections.

Repair Your Hardwood Floors When:

  • Gaps Between the Planks: Wood naturally changes with moisture levels, but overtime this can lead to excessive gapping between the boards and unevenness. Weather and humidity cause wood to shrink and expand, hence gaps forming between each of the planks. Issues with the foundation of the home can also cause gaps. It is best to identify the reason behind the gapping before jumping into repairs.
  • Cracking or Split Wood: As wood gets old it can lose its natural barriers that keep it healthy looking. If left too long and with enough time, this loss of moisture and oil can result in boards cracking. The good news is that unless a board is cracked all the way down the length, it can be repaired. Even if a plank is cracked up the whole middle, it is possible to replace a single board.
  • Buckling: This occurs when planks pull up from the sub-floor and warp. In buckling cases it is best to first find the problem that is causing the condition, then have it repaired. It could be an installation issue, for example. The fix for this is straightforward once the root cause is found and involves making sure the boards are securely attached to the sub-floor. 
  • Cupped Flooring: Just like other parts of our houses, flooring can also experience changes due to factors like moisture. Cupping is when the edges of a plank rise up, leaving the center turned down, creating a sort of cup shape. This is usually due to an imbalance of moisture on the planks. Before repairing this, the moisture issue in the home needs to be addressed to avoid future cupping.

Signs It Is Time to Replace Your Hardwood

When you own a hardwood floor, the cost of repair may raise questions. Questions like: what is the hardwood floor repair cost for my floors, or how to repair old hardwood floors? Questions like this can be answered once you establish how bad the damage is. Like we talked about above, most damage is no cause for replacement, but some damage requires it. 

Replacement is only required in dire circumstances when the hardwood is too far gone to simply repair. Usually this is when the hardwood is damaged to a point where it is no longer functional or practical to keep. Depending on the situation, replacements can be done in sections or with the entirety of the hardwood floor. 

Three red flags that immediately signal a need for replacement are termites, warping, and rotting.

All these conditions are not repairable by standard refinishing or repair methods. Since the wood will need to be replaced either in sections or in its entirety, this is a more expensive service.

Replace Your Hardwood Floors When:

  • Warping: As discussed above, there are situations where boards can warp and be repaired. However, if the warp is permanent, then you need to replace the wood entirely. Permanent warping is caused by intense situations like flooding or extreme temperatures. Once a board is warped and cannot be returned to a functional form, it must be replaced.   
  • Termites: Many homeowners dread the word termites because it always signals high costs. Hardwood flooring is just another playground for termites to cause damage your home. If they get to your floors, that means there is an infestation, and only after the infestation is dealt with is it safe to replace the floors. You will have to replace most if not all of the flooring because of the massive amounts of structural damage that termites do to wood as they consume it.
  • Rotting: This condition is rare to find in most households, as people with hardwood flooring tend to take care of it. That is not to say that this does not happen on the rare occasion. Rot signals that the wood has been wet consistently for a long amount of time, and due to this wetness, fungi can or have already formed. With the wood being unprotected from the wetness for so long, it loses structure, integrity, and functionality. These situations absolutely require full replacement to guarantee that the sub-flooring underneath the wood is in itself safe and that the wood can be replaced at all.

Repair, Replace, and Refinish Specialists | G3 Hardwood Flooring

If you notice your hardwood flooring aging, losing its vitality, or showing damage, it might be time to repair, replace, or refinish your hardwood floors. At G3 Hardwood Flooring, we are proud to have three generations of expertise, and we will be able to confidently tell you when your hardwood floors are beyond repair. We offer free estimates, as well as quality services for repairing, replacing, or refinishing your floors. Contact us today, and we’ll help you care for your investment.