Should I Sand and Refinish My Vancouver Hardwood Flooring?

Sanding and Refinishing Wood Flooring in Metro Vancouver:

It sounds like you want to rev up your flooring! You can rejuvenate them by sanding and refinishing, but should do it?

As Vancouver’s top flooring company, we felt our viewers needed to know more about this topic. The idea behind doing this appears to be rather inviting, but before you make the initial investment, you should be aware of the pros and cons.

Sanding and refinishing hardwood floors

What Do We Mean by Sanding and Refinishing wood floors?

In simple words, sanding and refinishing a real wood floor is the process of sanding the top surface layer of your floor and then reapplying a floor finish to it. During the procedure, you can stain your existing hardwood floor (if you want to, this step isn’t necessary) and apply a finish to re-seal it, giving it that natural shine. This may sound easy, but the process is much more complicated than explained here. To properly sand and refinish a hardwood floor, you must open up the wood grains so the wood can absorb your stain uniformly. Otherwise, your staining results will be rather patchy because the softer parts of your planks will absorb the stain molecules more efficiently than the harder ones. This is a very technical procedure; it takes a hardwood master to do it. This is not like painting your bedroom walls; it’s far from it.

Although sanding and refinishing your wood floor is more economical than replacing it, it’s still pretty expensive to do it correctly. It can typically cost you around $5-8 per SF in Vancouver. If you have a large area to cover, the bill can certainly rack up to the hundreds and, if not thousands.

Benefits of Sanding and Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Sanding and refinishing hardwood floors can significantly enhance the appearance of your home. This process removes the old finish, revealing the raw wood underneath. The wood is then smoothed out and a new finish is applied. This not only refreshes the look of the floors but also offers a chance to change the color of the wood stain, allowing for customization to match your current decor. Refinishing can also increase the durability of your floors, protecting them from future wear and tear.

Furthermore, sanding and refinishing can address issues like irremovable stains, minor dents, and scratches on the hardwood floors. The complete process can restore the original beauty and grandeur of the floors that have suffered damage over time, making them look brand new again.

Before beginning the process, the room where the refinishing will take place must be fully emptied out. Any furniture, rugs, or decorations should be removed. Once cleared, the real work begins. The floor is then carefully sanded down to remove the remaining old finish, and to even out any irregularities and scratches on the surface. This makes sure that the new finish will apply evenly, contributing to the final expected result of a perfectly smooth floor.

Then comes the process of applying the fresh stain. This involves carefully coating every section of the floor, ensuring no area is missed. This step provides the floor its new aesthetic appeal, changing its color to suit the desired theme of your home decor. You would certainly be surprised at how dramatic the difference can be, depending on the chosen color for the new stain.

After staining, the floor is left to dry completely. Depending on the type of stain and the ambient humidity levels, this might take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. Once the stain has fully dried, it’s followed up by applying a clear coat of sealant to protect the fresh stain and increase the longevity of your hardwood floors. Hardwood Floor Refinishing Basics

Determining the Need for Refinishing Your Hardwood Floors

Knowing when to refinish your hardwood floors is crucial. If you notice deep scratches, discolorations, or fading, it may be time for a refinish. Additionally, if your floors haven’t been refinished in the past 7-10 years, they are likely due for a refresh. Pay close attention to areas with high foot traffic, as these spots tend to show wear and tear first.

Regular maintenance is important for keeping your hardwood floors in top condition. Sweeping or vacuuming regularly can help remove dirt and debris that can cause scratches and dullness. Using a damp mop with a mild cleaner specifically designed for hardwood floors can also help maintain their shine. Avoid using excessive water or harsh chemicals, as these can damage the wood.

If you’re unsure whether your hardwood floors need to be refinished, you can perform a simple water test. Sprinkle a few drops of water on the floor and observe how it reacts. If the water beads up and sits on top of the wood, your finish is still intact. However, if the water soaks into the wood and leaves a dark spot, it’s a sign that the finish has worn off and it’s time for a refinish.

Refinishing your hardwood floors can breathe new life into your space and enhance its overall appearance. It can also help protect the wood from further damage and extend its lifespan. Hiring a professional to refinish your floors ensures that the job is done correctly and efficiently, giving you peace of mind. When to Refinish Your Hardwood Floors

The Process of Sanding and Refinishing Hardwood Floors

The process of sanding and refinishing hardwood floors involves several steps. Initially, the floor is sanded down to eliminate the old finish and smooth out any imperfections. This is typically accomplished by using a drum sander for the main floor areas and an edge sander for corners and edges. Following the sanding process, the floor is meticulously cleaned to remove all dust and debris. Subsequently, a new stain, if desired, and a protective finish are applied to the floor. This not only restores the floor’s appearance but also safeguards the wood from potential damage.

Once the sanding and cleaning stages are complete, the next step in the process is to apply a new stain and protective finish to the hardwood floor. This can be done using a variety of techniques, depending on the desired outcome. Some individuals may choose to apply the stain by hand, while others may opt for a sprayer or roller. Regardless of the application method, it is important to ensure that the stain is evenly distributed and that any excess is wiped away. Once the stain has dried, a protective finish is applied to the floor to enhance its durability and longevity.

After the application of the stain and protective finish, the final step in the sanding and refinishing process is to allow the floor to dry completely. This typically takes several hours, depending on the type of stain and finish used. It is important to avoid walking on the floor or placing any furniture or rugs on it until it is fully dry. Once the floor is dry, it can be enjoyed for years to come, with regular maintenance and care. Step-by-Step Guide to Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Choosing the Right Finish for Your Hardwood Floors

Selecting the right finish for your hardwood floors is crucial for both aesthetics and durability. When it comes to finishes, you have several options to choose from. Water-based polyurethane, oil-based polyurethane, and natural oil finishes are the most common choices. Each type of finish has its own advantages and considerations. Water-based finishes, for example, dry quickly and have a minimal odor. On the other hand, oil-based finishes are known for their durability, although they take longer to dry. Natural oil finishes, meanwhile, provide a more natural look but require more maintenance. It’s important to consider factors like room usage, desired look, and maintenance preferences when making your decision.

When it comes to selecting a finish for your hardwood floors, it’s important to keep in mind the specific needs and preferences of your space. Water-based polyurethane finishes, for instance, are a popular choice due to their quick drying time and minimal odor. These finishes are ideal for high-traffic areas or rooms that require frequent cleaning. On the other hand, oil-based polyurethane finishes are known for their durability and ability to withstand heavy foot traffic. While they take longer to dry, they offer a long-lasting protective layer for your hardwood floors. Natural oil finishes, on the other hand, provide a more natural and matte look. These finishes penetrate the wood for a more organic appearance but require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best.

Consideration should also be given to the desired look of your hardwood floors. Water-based polyurethane finishes, for example, tend to have a clear and glossy appearance. This can enhance the natural beauty of the wood and give it a polished look. Oil-based polyurethane finishes, on the other hand, have a slightly amber tone that can add warmth and richness to the wood. Natural oil finishes, meanwhile, provide a more matte and natural look, allowing the true character of the wood to shine through. Ultimately, the choice of finish will depend on your personal preference and the overall aesthetic you want to achieve in your space.

Maintenance is another important factor to consider when selecting a finish for your hardwood floors. Water-based polyurethane finishes are generally low maintenance and easy to clean. They are resistant to stains and spills, making them a good choice for households with children or pets. Oil-based polyurethane finishes, while more durable, may require periodic refinishing to maintain their appearance. Natural oil finishes also require regular maintenance, including reapplication of the oil to keep the wood nourished and protected. It’s important to factor in the time and effort you are willing to invest in maintaining your hardwood floors when choosing a finish. Choosing Hardwood Floor Finishes

Maintaining Your Newly Refinished Hardwood Floors

To ensure your refinished hardwood floors stay in optimal condition, regular maintenance is crucial. This entails performing routine cleaning using a soft broom or microfiber mop. It is important to avoid the use of excessive water or harsh cleaners, as they have the potential to cause damage to the wood and finish. Placing rugs in high-traffic areas can help minimize wear and tear. Additionally, keeping your pets’ nails trimmed and utilizing furniture pads can prevent scratches. By providing proper care, your hardwood floors can retain their beauty for an extended period of time.

To effectively maintain the appearance of your refinished hardwood floors, it is essential to engage in regular maintenance practices. This involves utilizing a soft broom or microfiber mop for routine cleaning purposes. It is crucial to refrain from using excessive amounts of water or harsh cleaning agents, as they possess the potential to inflict harm upon the wood and finish. Placing rugs in areas that experience high levels of foot traffic can significantly reduce the occurrence of wear and tear. Furthermore, keeping your pets’ nails trimmed and implementing furniture pads can effectively prevent scratches. By diligently adhering to these maintenance measures, your hardwood floors will continue to exude their natural beauty for an extensive duration. Maintaining Hardwood Floors

Why Would A Hardwood Floor Need Sanding and Refinishing?

The main purpose of sanding and refinishing your hardwood floor is to restore its original beauty. You may want to do this for several reasons, you may be planning on selling your house or generally just want your flooring to look better.

If your hardwood floor has many scratches, signs of water damage, or is losing its colour slightly, sanding and refinishing should remove most of these issues. This process allows you to re-stain your flooring to whatever stain colour you’d like before applying the final finish.

Even though your hardwood flooring won’t need to be sanded and refinished regularly if maintained well, it’s something that you may consider when it comes. The idea seems pretty logical, so why wouldn’t you do it? Before going ahead with the idea, we recommend you consider some disadvantages of sanding and refinishing your hardwood.

Sanding and refinishing solid hardwood floors in Vancouver

What is Sanding and Refinishing?

Before we get into a few reasons why you shouldn’t sand and refinish your Vancouver hardwood flooring, you should know where this practice has come from. Previously, we didn’t have any pre-finished hardwood flooring products in the market. Therefore, getting a wood floor would normally include installing the unfinished wood planks, then applying the stain and finish on-site. It’s also worth mentioning that our finishes were not as strong in the past, so we often have to sand and refinish our floors constantly to maintain the look.

Do We Think It is Worth It?

In most cases, the answer is No. Sanding and refinishing will only lead you down a dead-end street of disappointment. Vancouverites have learned firsthand by experiencing all too many home renovation projects gone wrong in recent years. Let me explain why:

Engineered hardwood installation in West Vancouver BC
Boen hardwood installation in West Vancouver

Anti-scratch Performance:

The Bona finish that we apply on-site is only 1/3 as strong as the average factory finish applied to pre-finished wood in the flooring industry.

Pre-finished hardwood flooring is normally layered with an ultra-strong aluminum oxide finish. This anti-scratch topcoat is then properly cured by applying UV radiations and maintaining ideal curing conditions during manufacturing.

To summarize, an on-site finish will never be as strong as your factory finish, and you should only expect a third of the normal performance.


There are limitations when it comes to sanding and refinishing your floor. First of all, you cannot sand all hardwood floors. Your floor has to be securely attached to the sub-floor. Meaning floor types that are floated aren’t an option. Only floors that have been nailed or glued can be sanded as these are solidly attached and can handle the heavy machinery used for sanding and refinishing. In addition, you have to make sure that you have a thick enough wear layer for sanding down your hardwood floor.

Engineered hardwood flooring being installed in Vancouver BC

Style Restrictions:

Remember, you can change the colour of your Vancouver hardwood flooring by staining it. However, you aren’t able to change the physical appearance, in particular the width of the boards. If you’re looking to modernize your home, sanding and refinishing your old hardwood flooring isn’t the correct way to go about it. In Vancouver, our flooring trend is going towards wider and longer boards. Therefore, sanding and refinishing your 2(1/4)” hardwood planks won’t hide the age of your floor.

You’ll want to purchase wider planks to achieve a more modern look. Wider boards will make the room much more spacious while giving it that extraordinary modern feeling. If this is something you are trying to accomplish, the only way you can do this is by purchasing engineered flooring that offers wider planks.

In certain applications, if your existing hardwood planks are nailed or glued to the subfloor, you may be able to leave them underneath and just simply float your new hardwood on top of the existing floor. This would save you a lot of cost and time. However, you need to talk to a professional to ensure this is something you can or cannot do.

As you can see, sanding and refinishing your hardwood flooring may bring back a small bit of life out of your hardwood flooring. In our eyes, it may not be worth the effort in the long run. Purchasing the right hardwood floor is a much better alternative and something people should consider before refinishing their hardwood floors.

Key Considerations When Choosing to Sand and Refinish your Hardwood Flooring in Metro Vancouver.

Experience and Expertise:

One of the first things to consider is the company’s experience and expertise in hardwood floor refinishing. Look for businesses that have a solid track record in the industry. This can be gauged by the number of years they have been in operation and the skills of their workforce. Experienced professionals are more likely to understand the nuances of different wood types, finishes, and techniques required for effective sanding and refinishing.

Quality of Materials and Equipment:

The quality of materials and equipment used by a business is also a vital consideration. Ensure that the company uses high-grade sanders, stains, and finishes. Quality materials contribute to a durable and aesthetically pleasing result. Ask if they use dustless sanding equipment, which minimizes the amount of airborne dust produced during the process, making it safer and cleaner for your home environment.

Customer Reviews and References:

Customer reviews and references are invaluable when selecting a hardwood flooring company. Look for reviews on independent websites or ask the company for references from past clients. This will give you insights into their reliability, quality of work, and customer service. Positive feedback from previous customers is a strong indicator of a company’s competence and professionalism.

Customization Options:

Each home is unique, and so are your preferences for your hardwood floors. A good company should offer a range of customization options, including different types of finishes (e.g., glossy, matte, satin) and stains. They should be willing to provide samples or mock-ups to help you make an informed decision about the final look of your floors.

Licenses and Insurance: Ensure that the company you choose is licensed and insured. This is crucial for your protection in case of accidents or damage during the refinishing process. A licensed business is more likely to adhere to industry standards and regulations, providing peace of mind about the quality and safety of their work.

Cost and Value:

While cost should not be the only factor in your decision, it is certainly an important consideration. Request detailed quotes from several companies and compare them. Be wary of quotes that are significantly lower than others, as this might indicate a compromise in quality. Remember, the cheapest option is not always the best in terms of long-term value.

Timeframe and Flexibility:

The time taken to complete the project is another critical factor. Discuss with the company how long the process will take and ensure their timeline aligns with your schedule. A professional company should be able to provide a clear and realistic timeframe for completion, including any drying or curing time for the finishes.

Aftercare Services:

Post-refinishing services are an aspect often overlooked. Inquire if the company offers aftercare or maintenance services. This includes advice on how to maintain your newly refinished floors and any follow-up services they might provide.

Engineered hardwood versus Solid hardwood

Choose Canadian Home Style for your Vancouver flooring projects.

Canadian Home Style is your family-owned and operated flooring retailer with a showroom in North Vancouver, BC. We provide full-service commercial and residential flooring solutions across the Lower Mainland with an extended warranty. We are proud members of the BC Floor Covering Association (BCFCA) and the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). In addition, we have won the Consumer’s Choice Awards back-to-back in 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024 for our commitment to business excellence. We are considered the highest-rated flooring experts in Metro Vancouver. We pride ourselves on holding the highest standards in the flooring industry. To uphold our high standards, we have a strict policy of “not selling or displaying any products that we wouldn’t want in our own homes.” Before we select a product to feature, we carefully assess product quality, off-gassing, warranties, and responsible sourcing. Book now to visit our North Vancouver flooring showroom; we can help you choose the perfect floor for your home or business.

Our mission is to help homeowners create beautiful homes that reflect their lifestyles while reducing energy consumption and conserving resources. We do this by providing our clients with innovative products, services and education. Our vision is to become Canada’s leading sustainable flooring solutions provider. Our values include integrity, respect, honesty and transparency. These principles guide us as we strive to provide outstanding customer service.

We believe that our success depends on the success of our clients and their customers. We work hard to ensure our clients get the most out of their investments. Our team consists of highly skilled professionals who are experts in their field. They have years of experience working together and know what works and what doesn’t. They understand how to solve problems quickly and efficiently. We are committed to providing excellent customer service. We listen carefully to our client’s concerns and suggestions. We take these into account when planning and executing projects. We always strive to exceed expectations.

Why Choose Us?

Expertise in Hardwood and Wood Flooring: Canadian Home Style specializes in hardwood and wood flooring, offering a wealth of knowledge in these materials. Their expertise ensures that every aspect of your hardwood flooring – from the type of wood to the grain pattern – is considered during the refinishing process. This expertise results in a finished product that not only looks beautiful but also maintains the integrity of the wood.

High-Quality Varnish and Wax Selections: The quality of varnish and wax used in refinishing hardwood floors significantly impacts the durability and appearance of the final product. Canadian Home Style offers a wide selection of top-quality varnishes and waxes, catering to different aesthetic preferences and functional needs. Their products are sourced from reputable manufacturers, ensuring a perfect finish that protects the wood and enhances its natural beauty.

Professional Equipment Usage: While many homeowners are tempted by ‘do it yourself’ approaches, the use of professional equipment like sanders and lumber edgers by Canadian Home Style makes a significant difference in the quality of the refinishing job. Their team uses state-of-the-art equipment, which ensures an even, smooth finish that is difficult to achieve with DIY methods.

Manufacturing and Refinishing Expertise: Canadian Home Style’s understanding of the manufacturing process of wood flooring adds an extra layer of expertise to their refinishing services. They comprehend how various treatments and finishes interact with different types of wood, which allows them to make informed decisions that lead to superior results.

Effective Floor Scrubbing Techniques: The preparation process in refinishing is crucial. Canadian Home Style employs effective floor scrubbing techniques that thoroughly clean the wood before any refinishing work begins. This step is essential for ensuring that the refinishing materials adhere properly and last longer.

Customized Refinishing Solutions: Every home and every floor is unique. Canadian Home Style offers customized refinishing solutions that take into account the specific type of your wood flooring, the current condition of the floors, and your personal style preferences. This personalized approach ensures that the final result aligns perfectly with your expectations.

Transparent and Competitive Pricing: Concerning the average cost of refinishing hardwood floors, Canadian Home Style is known for its transparency and competitive pricing. They provide detailed, upfront cost estimates, ensuring that there are no surprises at the end of the project. Their pricing reflects the quality of their materials and services, offering great value for your investment.

Long-term Durability and Maintenance Support: Finally, the longevity of your refinished hardwood floors is a critical consideration. Canadian Home Style doesn’t just stop at refinishing; they provide guidance and support for maintaining your floors. This ensures that your investment remains protected and your floors stay beautiful for years to come.

Area of Services:

Our most recommended oak hardwood floors:

  • Purparket – Made in Croatia and finished in Canada
  • Mercier – Made in Canada
  • Lauzon – Made in Canada
  • Preverco – Made in Canda
  • Boen – Made in Europe

Frequently Asked Questions about Sanding and Refinishing wood flooring.

Can you only sand and refinish solid hardwood?

No, You can also sand and refinish engineered hardwood flooring as long as it’s stapled or glued to the subfloor with enough wear layer to be sanded down.

To learn more about solid versus engineered hardwood, check out our blog: Is Solid Hardwood Better Than Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

Can I sand and refinish my hardwood floors myself?

No, this is something that takes lots of experience and also special types of equipment.

Should I remove baseboards before refinishing hardwood floors?

No, there’s no need to re and re your baseboards when sanding and refinishing wood floors.

How many times can I sand my engineered wood?

It depends on the thicknesses of the wear layer. However, if you have a 3 mm Lamella (industry standard for quality hardwood flooring). You should be able to sand and refinish the floor up to 2 times.

Is Solid hardwood better than engineered hardwood for sanding?

Not necessarily! However, you are almost certain you can sand and refinish your solid wood since you’re not worried about the wear layer and the installation method. The same can’t be said about engineered wood flooring products.

My hardwood has a wired brushed surface; will that be gone after sanding?

Unfortunately, you would most likely sand past the brushed surface during this process.

Can laminate flooring also be sanded and refinished?

No! Laminate has not engineered hardwood and cannot be sanded at all.

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