Recoating vs. Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Rod Lorenz

Hardwood floor durability is legendary but over time even the most well cared floor can become dull or get tiny scratches and dents. Bringing that floor back to it's original glory is easy enough but the question is - recoat or refinish?


Recoating hardwood flooring is a quick option for repairing dull surfaces caused by light scratches. Most simply, recoating is applying a fresh coat of finish over the existing one. The process removes surfaces scratches and makes your floor new looking again.

You can recoat with the same finish (or a water based finish to minimize smell) and you can recoat as often as needed. Generally, we recommend recoating every three to ten years, sometimes even longer depending on the foot traffic in your home.

It is essential to note though there are times when recoating is the least viable option. If your hardwood floor has been repeated cleaned with improper products like wax or oil-based soaps, the new finish will not bond to the existing finish. In these cases refinishing may be your better option. 


When deeper scratches or dents on your floor appear, refinishing your hardwood makes sense. Refinishing involves sanding down the top layer of the floor and applying a fresh finish over the existing wood. Some advantages of refinishing include:

  1. Restoring your worn down floors to look brand new
  2. An opportunity to change your flooring’s overall look by changing the color and finish.
  3. Reduce cost of replacement
  4. Increases the value of your home

To Recoat or To Refinish?

Recoating is a great option if you have used the proper cleaning guidelines and the floor does not have many deep scratches or dents.  After recoating, the floor will have a uniform sheen and surface scratches will be eliminated.

Refinishing is a great option when the floor has deeper scratches (scratches you can feel when rubbing your hand across the scratch) or when you want a new look to your floor.   

Recoating is about 1/3 the cost of refinishing and in most cases will only take one day. Refinishing requires a minimum of two days and many floors will take longer depending on the quantity and build up of old finish. 

Are you having a hard time deciding between Recoating or Refinishing? Our sales team can consult with you and visit your home to advise whether recoating or refinishing will provide the best results for your hardwood flooring. Feel free to get in touch with us! Contact us at 920-984-3383, 800-354-9902.

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