Should hardwood be refinished before you sell?

Posted by on Friday, March 11th, 2016 at 8:45am.

Hardwood floors in high traffic areas lose their shine over time. They wear out and look dingy and actually, they look dirty if it they’re not.  Refinishing will make them look brand new and might make your home look very attractive if you’re planning on selling. However, but with so many stain options available these days would a potential buyer appreciate what you’ve done?

Is it worth the investment and the disruption to your life to refinish them before you list?

As with most answers about spending money, it depends.

Not only will it cost thousands to get the job done, if you’re currently living in the home will you have to spend additional money to put your furniture in storage?  If you have room in a garage or basement to stash away your furniture, do you have to hire people to do the moving, or to maybe just move a piano?  Factor these costs into the equation.

Whether or not it’s worth the trouble and expense depends on the condition of your home in general, over and above the condition of the floors.

If your home is older and requires updating, a buyer might not bat an eye at a worn floor.  If that buyer wants to gut the home won’t care if the floors have been done.  And again, a buyer who isn’t brave enough to do major renovations and can only handle cosmetic work such as paint might take on a floor and again, wouldn’t look at a worn wood floor as a detriment.  Many buyers assume that some kind of work will need to be done to the home before they move in.  You can’t predict what the buyer will want when they walk through the front door, but if the condition of the floors matches the condition of the home, then you might want too just leave them.

However, if the majority of your home is either new or updated and your floors just look shabby in comparison, then definitely look into refinishing them.  If it’s the last thing that needs attention, refinishing them will eliminate that one last thing a potential buyer might complain about.

Think about the type of home you have as well and how much you’re thinking of listing it for.  If you live in a luxury home and your furnishings and interior appointments emote a chic, luxury feeling, then a beautiful floor is an important aspect of your interior design and you will most certainly want to refinish them. 

A floor is the foundation and an important element in the total composition of your environment.

By refinishing them you’ll present clean, gleaming floors and an opportunity enhance what you have by choosing a new stain colour to complement the rest of the home.

However, be wary of choosing a trendy colour or dramatic stain such as ebony or a more whitewashed look.  Extreme contrast like this will create a more vulnerable floor.  A dark stain will show wear more quickly and a floor that’s too light will just show everything.

The best finishes are colours in the middle, providing a neutral foundation in a shade that will wear better as time goes on.

Think twice about doing floors yourself unless you have some skill with a sander.  It might look easy, but uneven sanding and keep scratches can etch permanent swirl marks in your floors.  Unless you have an opportunity to practice somewhere, choose a professional.

And when it comes to choosing a floor-refinishing outfit to do your floors, should you go that route, make sure they have skilled staff with lots of experience.  Hire a company with great references.

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