Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spot Refinishing - Is It Possible?

Sometimes bad things happen to good hardwood floors. Stains, scrapes, and scratches are all a very real possibility, especially in high-traffic areas. One relatively quick and inexpensive way of avoiding having to replace your hardwood flooring is to simply refinish it. But what if only a portion of your floor is damaged? Is it possible to spot refinish the damaged area without ruining the rest of the flooring? The following are some FAQ about spot refinishing damaged hardwood flooring.

1) Is it possible to refinish only a portion of my hardwood floors, or will I have to do the whole room?
2) Is spot refinishing a DIY project, or should I get a professional?
3) Is there any risk that the refinish will look worse than the original floor looks now?
4) Is there any type of finish you'd recommend?

acacia rosewood hardwood flooring

1.) It is definitely possible to refinish only a portion of a room. However, there is a good chance that the floor stain won't match the color of the original floors, especially if you weren't responsible for installing or finishing them.
2.) While spot refinishing can be a DIY project, we recommend you go to professional for the same reason you'd go to a professional to re-shingle your roof. You can probably do it, but that doesn't mean you will be able to do it well.
3.) This is THE BIG risk of refinishing partial floors. The good news is that if you try to spot refinish and it doesn't look good, you can just refinish the rest of the boards and it will look fine.
4.) There isn't any one finish that works "the best" - each type has its own pros and cons. Oil-based urethanes are the easiest to work with since they are slow-drying, but they can amber significantly. Water-based urethanes won't amber quite so much, but they are fast-drying and therefore often leave brush marks if you're not careful. Solvent-based finishes are somewhat dangerous; if you're using a solvent-based finish, get a professional to do the work.

Essentially, there's little harm in trying to do spot refinishing yourself. The worst that can happen is you will ruin the part of the floor that is already damaged and you will have wasted your time and resources. If you have any questions, or don't feel comfortable with the project, call a professional.