What’s The Difference Between Hardwood Refinishing And Restoration?

If you want the best flooring guide to know when to refinish and when to restore, then you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to help you delineate between the two so you don’t do damage to your hardwood floors.

The first thing to remember is that your wood floors are not supposed to retain a flawless aesthetic. Hardwood must be given the ability to age with grace which means you might detect some imperfections along the surface. They give the flooring character and a unique look that makes your flooring one of a kind.

However, there is a line that can be crossed between a well-aged floor and a floor in dire need of repair or even replacement. The trick is knowing where that line is and when it’s been left behind. If you notice that your wood floors have lost their appearance and they need some tender loving care, it may be time to have some work done.

But what kind of work is best for the condition of your floors? Does it need to be refinished or restored entirely? Both can be a big process so you want to be sure you’re having the right work performed on your floors. The experts at N-Hance Wood Refinishing in Tacoma are here to help you make that decision by knowing the difference between your options.

Diagnose Your Floors

Before you do anything, take a good long look at your flooring. Check the condition of the wood. Are there areas where the finish has eroded? Do you see surface scrapes and scratches or do you see deep gashes and fractures? Have you noticed any discolored portions of the wood? What about signs of water damage?

All of these factors are going to play a role in your decision to refinish your floor or take the steps to restoring it entirely. Refinishing is something you do to a floor that has a dull or scraped finish. Restoration is something you do to a floor that has sustained any kind of physical damage.

Refinishing Your Floor

This is work that you can do yourself if you feel confident enough in your skills and won’t cause any damage to the flooring. The process for refinishing is straightforward (it’s not exactly simple though), as it requires you to sand or screen the wood in order to remove the finish that currently exists.

Once that’s been entirely stripped away and you’ve reached the bare wood underneath, you can then reapply the finish of your choice to restore the floor’s lustrous appearance.

Restoring Your Floor

This one is somewhat more challenging and requires a skilled professional to perform. Restoration is done as a way to repair the damage that a floor has sustained over time. When you diagnosed the condition of your floor and found any evidence of stains, water damage, deep fractures or broken boards, you’ve come across significant damage that needs to be repaired.

You really need to know what you’re doing to properly restore a hardwood floor. This can take years of training and experience, two things the typical consumer does not have. Therefore, you should not attempt to restore your own floor. Call an expert and have the work done right the first time.

Refinishing vs,. Restoring

The difference between the two is clear as are the basics as to when you should have one type of work performed over the other. However, there are certain situations that call for refinishing versus restoring that may not be so obvious.


Flooring is supposed to be allowed to age and take on various incongruities that occur. But if you have a floor that was built in the last century, you may need to tread lightly as to making the decision between a refinish or a restore. You could be sanding away patterns that have developed over years of use and these are intended to be a component of your floor’s overall aesthetic.

On the other hand, older floors can be very complex in their design. Some floors might even be composed of various separate components of varying thickness and restoring them outright could be your only option due to their construction.


The type of wood used in your flooring can also be a determining factor in whether or not you want to refinish or restore your flooring. Some species of wood are more sensitive and rarer than others with particularly older flooring comprised of multiple different species combined.

Do your diagnosis carefully and consider the wood used in your floors. Sometimes a refinish is all it needs, other times, the wood may be best served with a restoration instead due to its construction and the thickness of the materials.