Wood is one of the most classic, versatile and durable flooring options.
But even high-quality wood flooring is not completely immune to the potential damage caused by everyday wear and tear, accidents and aging.
Luckily, wood flooring can undergo a number of repair types over time to restore older panels to their original natural beauty. In this blog, we list the types of wood flooring damage that can generally be repaired and the types of damage that typically require replacement instead.
Repairable Wood Flooring Damage
Wood flooring repairs usually consist of sanding and refinishing, patching or both. These repair methods can undo the following types of flooring damage.
When wood loses its natural oils and begins to dry out, the surface may split into cracks.
These cracks can appear serious, but unless they bisect an entire plank, a professional will likely be able to restore the section.
When the crack affects an entire plank, the repair process generally consists of removing that individual floorboard and blending the new plank into the floor.
Flooring materials can shift over time.
The most common cause of this movement is moisture intrusion, but changes to the levelness of the floor or the integrity of the foundation could also create gaps between planks.
Have a professional assess any gaps in your flooring. In some cases, it’s better to leave small gaps to allow for seasonal shrinkage and expansion. In other situations, resolving the moisture issue also gets rid of the gaps.
Genuine hardwood can be refinished many times over the course of its life. Surface scratches can usually be removed by sanding down the floor and applying a new finish.
The only time this repair isn’t possible is when the floor has already been sanded excessively, leaving the boards too thin for the work.
Like scratches, surface stains can be dealt with by refinishing your wood floors.
In some cases, another coat of the current finish can cover a mild stain. If your floors have extensive staining, sanding and refinishing should resolve the issue.
Repairing your wood floors rather than replacing them can preserve the history and charm of your home, maintain property value, and save you money on the renovation. Always consider this option before tackling a full floor replacement.
Irreparable Wood Flooring Damage
Despite wood flooring’s resilience, some types of damage cannot be repaired. If you notice the following types of damage, anticipate replacing the affected areas entirely, if not the entire floor.
Termites eat wood pulp, leaving the wood behind highly compromised. If you have any significant termite damage, your floors may not recover even after the infestation is dealt with.
Wood floors can buckle, bulge or otherwise warp in extreme temperature or moisture conditions.
When the warping affects the subfloor or permanently changes the shape of the board, each piece may need to be removed and replaced.
In some cases, the feasibility of a repair depends on the extent of the damage. For example, while massive flood damage usually ruins a wood floor, localized moisture from a leak may not. Always have a knowledgeable contractor inspect your floors to determine the best path forward.
If your home has damaged wood floors, use the guide above to determine whether wood flooring repair is a practical option for you. Not sure if your floors are salvageable? Discuss your goals and circumstances with a wood flooring expert.