One of the biggest reasons to invest in hardwood flooring is that it can last for years. In fact, some solid hardwood floors can last a hundred years or more when they are taken care of properly. Another major benefit of hardwood flooring is that it can be refinished. If there are any minor scratches or other unsightly blemishes, refinishing your floors can make them look just like new again. However, sooner or later, there will come a time when refinishing is no longer the answer. But, how can you tell when the time comes to replace your hardwood floors instead of just refinishing them? Here are a few signs to watch out for:

Sign #1. There are large gaps in between boards.

Wood is a hygroscopic material, which means that it absorbs and retains the moisture in its environment. This means that, when humidity levels change throughout the year with new seasons, it will cause some amount of movement in your hardwood floors. However, a normal amount of movement won’t hurt your floor’s appearance or endanger its structural integrity. If there are large, irregular gaps in between boards in your floors, on the other hand, it might be beyond repair and require full floor replacement.

Sign #2. There are subfloor problems.

In some cases, the problem is not with the hardwood floors but with the subfloors underneath them. The subfloors of your home are essential, as they are your home’s main support system. And, since subfloors are typically made of layers of particleboard and plywood, it’s susceptible to moisture damage and rot, just like any other wood, and that can lead to structural damage. Additionally, some subfloors were simply installed poorly. Unfortunately, no amount of refinishing will fix your hardwood floors when the subfloors are the problem, and you’ll need to get the subfloors replaced, which will mean replacing your hardwood floors as well.

Sign #3. There is extensive water damage.

If you’ve recently dealt with flooding in your home, and your floor is showing signs of extensive water damage — such as staining or discoloration, buckling or cupping boards, popping nails and mold growth — it might be time to consider replacing them. However, before you do, it doesn’t hurt to talk to a flooring professional, as minor water damage can almost always be corrected by refinishing, and you never know, your floors may, in fact, be salvageable. But, if the damage is extensive enough, it might require a full replacement of the floor and even the subfloor.

Sign #4. The floors have been refinished too many times.

Most hardwood floors can be refinished over and over again, but eventually, they will get too thin from being sanded down too many times. The number of times you can refinish a hardwood floor will depend on the type of floor that it is, and a good place to start is by learning what the manufacturer recommends. But, in general, you can typically refinish a hardwood floor 10 times before it will need to be replaced. After refinishing your floor, it’s always smart to measure its thickness so that you can keep an eye on the situation.

Sign #5. The floors have not aged well.

Hardwood floors don’t have an expiration date, and that’s why so many people love them. But, they do have a lifespan, and after years and years of exposure to sunlight, dirt and grime, as well as traffic and wear and tear, your hardwood floors may not be showing the signs of aging as gracefully as they could be. This is common for floors that have been around 20 years or longer.

Let us help you find a new hardwood flooring solution you can feel good about.

Because hardwood floors last for so long, they can easily become cherished family relics. It’s not always easy to think about replacing floors that may hold many wonderful memories, but just imagine all of the incredible memories that you’ll form on your new floors! Replacing your hardwood floors gives you a chance to change up your home’s look and start an exciting new chapter in your life.

Let our hardwood flooring installers in New Jersey help you find the right hardwood floors for your home and your needs! Stop by our flooring showroom in Fairfield or contact us for your free design consultation.