There's nothing like the look of wood flooring to add style and elegance to a home. Whether you own a single-family home or a multi-unit building, hardwood flooring is a smart investment because it's durable and far less prone to staining than carpet.
But what happens when your hardwood floors start to show signs of wear and tear? Over time, scratches and cracks can appear on your flooring, causing it to look old and dingy. But before you run to replace your floors, you might instead choose to just refinish them.
What does it cost to refinish hardwood floors?
Sanding and smoothing your hardwood floors can be done fairly easily, if you're willing to rent a sander and put in the time. Otherwise, you should expect to spend $2,600, on average, to refinish your hardwood floors for a typical home, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). By contrast, putting in new wood flooring will cost you around $4,700, so if you're able to salvage your existing floors, that's probably your best bet.
What return on investment will you get?
Flooring work tends to deliver a strong return on investment, so if your floors have seen better days, it's worth the effort to get them into solid shape. The average cost recovery for hardwood floor refinishing is 100%, which means that if you do indeed spend $2,600 to get that job done, you'll likely add that much resale value to your home when you go to find a buyer for it. In fact, 27% of Realtors have suggested that sellers refinish their hardwood before listing their homes, and 5% say that doing so has helped close a sale.
Incidentally, putting in new wood flooring has an even more impressive return on investment: 106%. But if you're able to fix up your existing floors, there's really no need to spend the extra money to put in new flooring.
Should you refinish your hardwood floors?
Sprucing up your flooring won't just add resale value to your home; it will also make it look nicer while you're living there. And if you own a property you rent out, you may be able to charge more rent because of that update.
But one thing you should know is that young children and hardwood floors don't always mix well, and so if you do have little ones at home, you may want to wait until they're older to do that work. Chances are, their toys and constant pitter patter will cause damage over time, so you might as well wait until they're old enough to understand what it means to tread lightly and not turn your living room floors into their own personal racetrack.
Along these lines, if you have a rental property, you may want to hold off on refinishing your floors, especially if you don't tend to see a lot of long-term tenants. All of that moving in and out could cause moderate damage to your flooring, so your best bet may be to sit tight and only refinish those floors once you're actually ready to sell. But either way, know that hardwood floor refinishing makes a lot of sense once the timing is right.