Refinishing hardwood floors isn't just for looks - like buffing out scratches and other flaws to give the wood floor a brand new luster.
Refinishing hardwood floors (also known in the industry as a buff and recoat) is an important part of wood floor maintenance that can save you the costly and time-consuming process of a complete sand (down to raw wood) and refinish.
The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) recommends refinishing your hardwood floors every three to five years, and sooner in high traffic areas. Even seven to ten years between refinishes is okay if you properly clean and protect your hardwood floor.
The benefit of a refinish is that each layer of finish adds a new top layer of solids ... a layer of protection against serious damage which is expensive to try to repair. Take care of your floor and refinish it as needed and it could last 35 - 45 years between complete sand and refinishes!
If the finish on any part of your floor gets worn down to raw wood, a refinish will no longer repair dents, scratches, and otherwise normal wear. If the exposed raw wood gets even slightly damp, it turns grays and black and requires deep sanding to restore.
A sand and refinish requires sanding down completely to bare wood and refinishing the floor with a recommended three coats. This process can take several days and is far more expensive than a simple buff and refinish. Keep in mind that a refinish, however, cannot fix area rug discolorations, pet urine stains, UV sun fading, and other damage beyond normal wear.
If you notice that the glow, the luster, is gone in your high traffic areas, it's probably time for a refinish. Save time and money by protecting your hardwood floor investment.