What Is the Difference Between Recoating And Refinishing Hardwood Floors?

What Is the Difference Between Recoating And Refinishing Hardwood Floors?

What Is the Difference Between Recoating And Refinishing Hardwood Floors? 150 150 digdev

Difference between recoating and refinishing hardwood floors

Questioning yourself what is the difference between recoating and refinishing hardwood floors? When it comes to hardwood floors, there are various methods available to restore their beauty and prolong their lifespan. Two popular options that homeowners often consider are recoating and refinishing. But what exactly sets these methods apart? How do they impact the appearance, durability, and cost of your hardwood floors? And most importantly, which option is best suited for your home flooring needs?

Let’s explore the key distinctions between recoating and refinishing, providing you with the knowledge and insights to make an informed decision. We will discuss the processes involved, the benefits and drawbacks of each method, and help you determine which approach aligns better with your vision for your hardwood floors.

Understanding Recoating Hardwood Floors

When discussing the difference between recoating and refinishing hardwood floors, it’s important to understand that recoating involves applying a new layer of finish to an existing hardwood floor. This process is typically chosen for floors that exhibit minor wear, such as surface scratches or a general lack of sheen, indicating that the underlying wood is still in good condition. 

Recoating helps to renew the floor’s appearance without the extensive labor involved in refinishing, which requires sanding the wood down to bare material before applying a new finish. Thus, recoating is a less invasive and quicker option compared to refinishing, making it suitable for floors with less severe damage.

The Recoating Process

The process of recoating hardwood floors consists of several steps. First, the floors need to be thoroughly cleaned to remove any dirt, debris, or residue. This ensures that the new finish adheres properly to the surface. Next, any visible scratches or imperfections may be lightly sanded to create a smooth and even base.

Once the preparation is complete, the new layer of finish is applied using a brush, roller, or sprayer. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the appropriate type of finish for your specific hardwood floors. After the finish is applied, it needs to dry completely before any furniture or rugs are placed back on the floors.

Benefits and Limitations of Recoating

There are several benefits to recoating hardwood floors. First and foremost, it is a more cost-effective option compared to refinishing, as it requires less time, labor, and materials. Recoating also offers a quicker turnaround time, allowing you to enjoy your refreshed floors in a shorter period.

Furthermore, recoating is a less invasive process compared to refinishing. It does not involve sanding down the entire surface, which means there is minimal dust and disruption to your home. Recoating is a great option for homeowners who want to enhance the appearance of their floors without the need for extensive renovations.

However, it is important to note that recoating is not suitable for all situations. It is only effective for floors with minor surface damage or wear. If your hardwood floors have deep scratches, stains, or significant discoloration, refinishing may be a more appropriate solution.

In the next section, we will discuss the process of refinishing hardwood floors and explore its advantages and limitations compared to recoating.

The Process of Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Refinishing hardwood floors is a thorough process that significantly enhances the look of your flooring, making it appear brand new. This method involves multiple steps crucial for obtaining optimal results. Understanding the difference between recoating and refinishing hardwood floors is key. 

While recoating adds a new layer of finish to the existing surface to address minor blemishes and dullness, refinishing involves more intensive procedures. Refinishing requires sanding the floor down to the bare wood, repairing any damage, and then applying a new finish. This makes refinishing ideal for floors with extensive wear or damage, providing a complete transformation compared to the simpler recoating process.


The first step in refinishing hardwood floors is sanding. This process involves using specialized equipment to remove the top layer of the flooring, including any scratches, stains, or imperfections. Sanding creates a smooth and even surface for the subsequent steps of refinishing.


Once the sanding is complete, staining comes into play. Staining allows you to customize the color of your hardwood floors, giving you the opportunity to match your existing decor or try something new. Various stain options are available to achieve desired shades, from light and natural to deep and rich tones.


Sealing is a critical part of the refinishing process as it provides essential protection to your hardwood floors. It involves applying a protective layer, usually polyurethane, to shield the wood surface from damage, moisture, and everyday wear and tear. Sealing also enhances the durability and longevity of your hardwood floors.

Refinishing hardwood floors offers several benefits. It restores the natural beauty of your flooring, eliminates scratches and stains, and gives a fresh lease of life to worn-out surfaces. By refinishing, you can also change the color and finish of your floors, allowing for customization to match your evolving style preferences.

As with any flooring restoration method, refinishing also has its drawbacks. The process can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, especially if you have a large area to refinish. Additionally, during the refinishing process, you may need to vacate the area temporarily to ensure a safe and proper application of the stain and sealant.

Overall, refinishing hardwood floors is an effective way to revitalize your flooring and bring new life to your space. By understanding the steps involved and weighing the pros and cons, you can make an informed decision about whether refinishing is the right approach for your home.

Differences in Appearance and Durability

When rejuvenating your hardwood floors, it’s essential to grasp the difference between recoating and refinishing hardwood floors in terms of appearance and durability. Each method provides distinct benefits that significantly affect and transform the overall look and longevity of your flooring. Recoating simply involves applying a new layer of finish to enhance the existing surface, which is ideal for floors with light wear and tear. 

This method preserves the floor’s current state while adding a layer of protection. On the other hand, refinishing is a more extensive process where the floor is sanded down to the bare wood, any damages are repaired, and a new finish is applied. This can drastically improve the appearance and durability of floors that have suffered more significant damage.


Recoating hardwood floors involves applying a new layer of finish over the existing one. This process aims to refresh the appearance of the floors by enhancing their luster and sheen. Recoating is particularly effective for floors that are still in good condition but have minor surface scratches or wear. It can bring back the original beauty of the wood and improve its overall appearance.

Refinishing, on the other hand, entails sanding off the existing finish, removing imperfections, and exposing a fresh layer of wood. This method allows for more significant changes in appearance, including the option to change the color and stain of the floors. Refinishing is recommended for floors with deeper scratches, stains, or discoloration that cannot be addressed through simple recoating.


While both recoating and refinishing can improve the durability of hardwood floors, there are some differences to consider. Recoating provides a protective layer that can help prevent minor damage from everyday wear and tear, such as scuff marks and light scratches. However, it does not address more significant issues or damage to the wood itself.

Refinishing, with its sanding and sealing process, offers a more comprehensive restoration of the floors’ durability. It not only addresses surface imperfections but also provides a new protective layer that can withstand heavy foot traffic and potential spills. Refinished floors are often more resistant to scratches, stains, and fading, leading to enhanced durability in the long run.

In summary, recoating is suitable for maintaining and refreshing the appearance of hardwood floors, while refinishing is recommended for more extensive repairs and aesthetic changes. When choosing between these methods, consider the current condition of your floors, your desired look, and the level of durability you require for your lifestyle and home environment.

Cost Comparison: Recoating vs. Refinishing

When deciding between recoating and refinishing hardwood floors, an essential factor to consider is the cost. Grasping the financial implications of each method can assist you in making an informed choice tailored to your budget, especially when evaluating the difference between recoating and refinishing hardwood floors.

Recoating hardwood floors generally costs less than refinishing. This method involves applying a fresh layer of protective finish over the existing surface, which is less labor-intensive and quicker, thus more cost-effective. The cost of recoating can be influenced by factors such as the type of finish used, the size of the floor area, and any required additional services like cleaning or minor repairs. The condition of the floor also affects the price; floors that exhibit more significant wear may need extensive prep work before recoating.

Refinishing hardwood floors, in contrast, entails a more comprehensive process that includes sanding down the floor to remove the old finish, applying a new stain (if desired), and sealing it with a protective coating. This laborious process demands more time and effort, which translates to higher costs. Factors impacting the cost of refinishing include the floor’s size, the wood type, the chosen stain color, and any additional required services such as repairs or restoration.

It’s vital to recognize that while refinishing might be more expensive initially, it can dramatically transform your hardwood floor appearance and provide a more durable finish. Recoating is a budget-friendly alternative that focuses on maintaining the existing finish and shielding the floors from everyday wear and tear.

Ultimately, the choice between recoating and refinishing will depend on your specific needs, budget, and the desired outcome. Understanding the difference between recoating and refinishing hardwood floors in terms of cost and impact can guide you to a decision that aligns with your financial constraints and flooring conditions. Consulting with a flooring professional can also provide valuable insights tailored to your situation.

Time and Disruption Considerations

When deciding between recoating and refinishing hardwood floors, it is important to consider the time and disruption associated with each process. Understanding the duration of the project and the level of inconvenience it may cause can help you make an informed decision that aligns with your lifestyle and priorities.

Recoating hardwood floors is generally a quicker process compared to refinishing. Recoating involves applying a new layer of finish to the existing floor surface without fully sanding or removing the old finish. This means that the application and drying time for recoating is relatively shorter, typically taking a few hours to a day. This can be a significant advantage if you are looking for a timely solution that requires minimal disruption to your daily routine.

In contrast, refinishing hardwood floors involves a more extensive process that includes sanding, staining, and sealing the floors. The sanding process alone can take several days, depending on the size of the area being refinished. After sanding, the staining and sealing steps also require adequate drying time. Overall, the refinishing process can take anywhere from a few days to a week, depending on various factors such as the condition of the floors and the number of coats applied.

It is important to note that both recoating and refinishing processes may involve certain precautions and limitations. For example, during the application and drying stages, it is advisable to avoid walking on freshly coated or refinished floors to prevent any damage or disruption to the finish. Additionally, furniture and other items may need to be temporarily moved or protected to ensure a smooth application and drying process.

Considering your schedule and the level of disruption you are prepared to tolerate can help guide your decision in choosing between recoating and refinishing hardwood floors. If you are looking for a quick and convenient option that requires minimal downtime, recoating may be the preferred choice. On the other hand, if you have the flexibility to temporarily relocate furniture and prioritize a more comprehensive restoration, refinishing could be the better option to achieve a long-lasting and transformative result.

DIY vs. Professional Services

When it comes to recoating and refinishing hardwood floors, one important decision you’ll need to make is whether to take the DIY (do-it-yourself) route or hire professional services. Both options have their own set of pros and cons, so it’s essential to consider what fits best with your skills, resources, and time availability.

DIY offers the advantage of cost savings, as you won’t have to hire professionals and pay for their services. You can find plenty of online tutorials and guides to walk you through the process, making it accessible even for beginners. However, keep in mind that recoating and refinishing hardwood floors require specific skills and expertise.

Pros of DIY

  1. Cost savings: You can avoid paying for professional services and potentially save a significant amount of money.
  2. Sense of accomplishment: Completing the project on your own can give you a sense of pride and satisfaction.
  3. Flexibility: You can work at your own pace and schedule, allowing for greater flexibility in completing the task.

Cons of DIY

  1. Skill and knowledge requirements: Recoating and refinishing hardwood floors requires specific skills and knowledge to achieve the desired results.
  2. Time-consuming: The process can be time-consuming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the techniques involved.
  3. Equipment and material costs: While DIY may save you money on labor, you will still need to purchase or rent the necessary equipment and materials.

On the other hand, hiring professional services ensures that experienced and skilled individuals take care of your hardwood floors. Professionals have the expertise and specialized tools to deliver excellent results efficiently. They can offer valuable advice on color choices, finishes, and maintenance techniques.

Pros of Professional Services

  1. Expertise and experience: Professionals have the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver high-quality results.
  2. Time-saving: Hiring professionals can significantly speed up the process since they are experienced in completing recoating and refinishing projects.
  3. Professional-grade results: With access to specialized tools and products, professionals can achieve a level of finish that may be challenging to replicate on your own.

Cons of Professional Services

  1. Cost: Hiring professional services comes with a price tag. You will need to factor in the cost of labor and materials into your budget.
  2. Less hands-on control: If you prefer to have full control over the project and its execution, hiring professionals may limit your involvement.
  3. Scheduling constraints: You will need to coordinate with the professionals’ availability, which may not align with your preferred timeline.

Ultimately, choosing between DIY and professional services for recoating and refinishing hardwood floors depends on various factors such as your skills, available time, budget, and personal preference. Assessing your capabilities and weighing the pros and cons of each option will help you make the best decision for achieving the desired outcome for your hardwood floors.

Maintenance Requirements and Longevity

Proper maintenance is crucial for preserving the appearance and extending the lifespan of your hardwood floors, whether they are recoated or refinished. Understanding the ‘difference between recoating and refinishing hardwood floors’ is essential as each method requires specific care practices to ensure their durability and beauty over time.

For recoated hardwood floors, routine maintenance includes daily sweeping or vacuuming to remove dirt and debris, which could scratch the surface. It’s important to use gentle cleaning products and avoid excessive water to protect the new finish layer. pH-neutral cleaners designed for hardwood floors are ideal. Promptly wiping up spills and careful handling of heavy furniture can also help prevent scratches and dents.

Refinished hardwood floors, while similar in their maintenance needs, benefit from a more robust protective layer due to the refinishing process. This makes them more resistant to wear and tear. Regular cleaning with a damp mop or specialized hardwood cleaner will help manage stains or spills. As with recoated floors, it’s advisable to avoid too much moisture and be mindful of potential damage from high heels or heavy furniture.

Considering the ‘difference between recoating and refinishing hardwood floors,’ it’s important to note the longevity each method offers. Recoated floors might need additional recoating every 3 to 5 years depending on foot traffic and wear. In contrast, refinished floors can last between 10 to 20 years, with only occasional touch-ups or complete refinishing required over time.

Choosing the Best Method for Your Hardwood Floors

After exploring the differences between recoating and refinishing hardwood floors, it’s time to choose the best method for your specific needs. Here are some factors to consider:

Firstly, assess the current condition of your hardwood floors. Recoating is ideal for floors with minor scratches and dullness, as it provides a protective layer and enhances their appearance. On the other hand, refinishing is a better option for severely damaged floors that require sanding and a fresh finish.

Secondly, consider your budget and timeline. Recoating is generally more cost-effective and time-efficient compared to refinishing. If you’re on a limited budget or have a tight schedule, recoating might be the best method for you.

Lastly, think about your long-term goals for your hardwood floors. If you’re aiming for a complete transformation, refinishing offers the opportunity to change the stain color and achieve a brand-new look. However, if you’re satisfied with the current color and want to prolong the lifespan of your floors, recoating can help maintain their beauty and durability.

By carefully considering these factors along with the information provided throughout this article, you can confidently choose the best method (recoating or refinishing) for your hardwood floors. Remember, each option has its own benefits and limitations, so weigh your priorities and consult with flooring professionals if needed.

Choose the Best for Your Floors with Tri Point Flooring

Are you considering updating your hardwood floors but not sure whether to recoat or refinish? Let us at Tri Point Flooring guide you through the choices. Recoating is perfect if your floors have light wear and just need a fresh shine while refinishing is ideal for more worn floors needing a complete restoration. 

Trust us to assess your floors and recommend the best option that suits your home’s needs and your budget. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help transform your space. Choose us for your flooring needs and experience the difference with our expert craftsmanship and dedication to quality.

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