How Often Do I Have to Recoat Hardwood Floors?

Any wood item with a finish or sealant applied to it will eventually need to be recoated, including having to recoat hardwood floors periodically. The period between recoating and refinishing depends on wear over time, the finish used, the wood your floor is made of, your lifestyle, and many other factors. The important thing to know is that recoating hardwood floors are an eventuality. It will need to happen.

Bear in mind that recoating is different than refinishing, which is a much more intensive process. A recoating is merely getting a new coat of seal, stain, or what have you onto the wood. How is recoating hardwood floors done? Let's go over that.

Reasons To Recoat Hardwood Floors

There are a number of reasons to recoat hardwood floors. The exact reasoning a person will have at the moment can vary in the specifics, of course. Generally, it gets done either as regular maintenance or because a person wants to change the finish on their floors.

Either is perfectly valid, whether it's a maintenance coat or a different finish that you'd like to apply to your floors.

In the case of a maintenance coat, you want to start thinking about recoating your hardwood floors once you start noticing scratches in the finish in more than a few isolated spots. If the finish starts to wear thin across much of your floors, it's time to start thinking about it. Wear and tear on your finish is kind of like a windshield. The more minor issues it has, the more quickly it spreads. Think of it as the integrity of your coating.

Wood Floor Refinishing Service

The duration between maintenance coats depends on wear and tear over time It's about what sort of abuse the floor and the finish receive. The finish itself also makes a bit of an impact, as every finish and sealant have their own innate characteristics. That said, you can expect about three to five years before you see sufficient wear to consider a thorough maintenance coat.

Since recoating hardwood floors is less intrusive than refinishing, you can actually extend the life of your floors with an occasional recoating. You can also put more years in between refinishing. A recoating every one to three years can stave off the need for refinishing for a very long time indeed. It's a bit like an incremental investment to spare you from a big one. Buy low kind of deal.

However, you may also want to recoat floors during remodeling to better match your home's new look. You may decide you want a different color than the one you currently have. Want a darker shade of wood to match the new furniture and paint? Then it's time for recoating hardwood floors. 

To Screen And Recoat Hardwood Floors

The how of recoating hardwood floors is most commonly through a method called a screen and recoat. To screen and recoat hardwood floors, you subject the floor to a very light abrasive. While it's called screening, or alternately scuffing or buffing in some cases, it's using fine-grit sandpaper to take off the top layer of finish.

The idea isn't to take the finish down to the bare wood. Instead, you take away the most recent finish and create a smooth surface.

At that point, you apply the next coat of finish, whether it's the same finish that was applied previously or a whole new finish. However, you should know that this method is not always appropriate, as some finishes require a different approach. The best approach is good hardwood care and prevention in most cases.

When You Have To Recoat Hardwood Floors By Other Methods

There are multiple types of finish for hardwood floors, but a few require a different approach when you want to recoat hardwood floors.

Wax finishes require a different method than a screen and recoat. Hardwood floors that have been finished with wax, even acrylic waxes, have to be chemically stripped, usually by applying ammonia or paint thinner. Without a chemical stripping, the new finish will not bond with the wood properly. If said floor has also been maintained with silicon or oil cleaners, a recoating may be all but impossible.

Additionally, aluminum oxide coatings are likewise very resistant to recoatings. These finishes have to be chemically etched - almost like scouring with acid - in order for a surface to be created that will take a new coat of finish.

While the amateur can certainly recoat hardwood floors via a screen and recoat and perform a chemical strip on wax finishes, chemical etching should be left to professionals.

Why Hire a Professional for Recoating Hardwood Floors

There are three primary reasons why it's better to hire someone for recoating hardwood floors than to do it yourself. It's a big job and can be a hazardous process depending on the tools you're using. If you're confident in your DIY abilities, then have it! It's always satisfying to work on your own home. On the other hand, here are three big reasons to call a professional:

Workload and Clean-up

It's a big job, recoating hardwood floors, and once you're in then you're in. The work tends to create quite a mess that needs to be cleaned properly, many of the chemicals used can be hazardous to your skin and eyes. Another part of the mess made is the sawdust. If you don't cover things properly or secure the room well, you'll find sawdust throughout your home and in places that would leave you wondering "how?!"

Recoating hardwood floors is more difficult than it appears. People make a common mistake when they try to do it themselves, for example, leaving the drum sander for too long in one place or not long enough. 


Recoating hardwood floors takes more than sanding down the coat, and if you think the drum sander is the only thing you need, then you're in for a wake-up call. The drum sander is no joke either, it's a heavy-duty machine, but you'll also need an edger, different kinds of sandpaper, a mask, ear protection, and safety glasses. Oh...also a floor polisher. You could rent that stuff yourself, but why do that when there are contractors prepared with that equipment already?


You can't beat someone who has recoating hardwood floors on their job list every day unless you yourself do too. They know what to look for, how much to sand, what kinds of coats do what, and any potential problems along the way. It's also quicker to have professionals come in for recoating hardwood floors. That is their day job and you have yours. Do you really want two? One you just started with? A final point, and perhaps the most important, when you hire a professional you know the recoating will be done correctly and your home is in good hands. 

Black Forest Floors Is Happy To Offer Their Recoating Hardwood Floors Services!

Considering a recoat? Contact Black Forest Floors! Hardwood floors are our business, including everything from installation to maintenance coats to complete refinishes with our dustless refinishing process.

Cost to Screen and Recoat Hardwood Floors

Screening and recoating hardwood floors involves lightly sanding the existing finish and applying a new coat of protective layer to restore the floors. The cost to recoat hardwood floors and screening them depends on several factors, such as the size, condition, labor rates, and the type of finish and equipment used. Depending on these factors, the average cost can be anywhere between $xx to $xx.

Recoating vs. Refinishing hardwood floors

These are two very different processes to enhance the appearance of your hardwood floors. They can also improve the durability of your floors. Both are different in terms of purpose, methods, and results. Recoating is adding a new coat of polyurethane over an existing finish. On the other hand, refinishing can also remove wood’s natural characteristics and patina over time. If your floors have very few scratches and dullness, consider recoating. But, if they are deeply damaged with signs of discoloration and wear, consider refinishing to enhance their appearance and durability.

How to seal hardwood floors

A great way to prevent moisture, damage, stains, scratches, and fading. By sealing hardwood floors, you can also enhance their appearance and make them easier to clean and maintain. Different types of hardwood sealants are available in the market, such as water-based, oil-based, and acrylic-based. Our experts will choose the right one for your needs. To seal hardwood floors, first, one needs to prepare the floor by cleaning and drying it. Apply the sealant, then apply additional coats. Once done, let it cure for at least 24 hours.


What do you use to recoat hardwood floors?

There are many types of sealant that you can use to recoat hardwood floors, such as water-based, oil-based, and acrylic-based polyurethane. Choose the one that is compatible with your floor.

Can you refinish hardwood floors without sanding?

Yes, you can refinish and recoat hardwood floors without sanding. You can consider using chemical or mechanical methods. The mechanical method involves buffing or abrading the existing finish. In the chemical methods, a chemical etching kit is used to dissolve the old finish.

How often do you need to buff and recoat hardwood floors?

This depends on several factors, like the wear and tear of your floor, the types of finish, and your personal preference. Generally, you should buff and recoat your floors every 3 to 5 years, even sooner, if you see signs of deterioration and wear.

Does refinishing hardwood floors really make them new again?

Yes, refinishing can make old and dull-looking hardwood floors look new again. It can remove any defects and enhance their appearance by applying a new stain and finish.

How to screen and recoat hardwood floors?

Start with preparing floors, which involves cleaning and drying. Then, use a buffer with a screen attachment or abrasive tool. Once done, vacuum the space, then use an applicator pad to apply a thin and even coat sealant or finish. Repeat and let it dry each time for at least 24 hours.

How to Refinish Hardwood Floors Without Sanding

If you want to refinish hardwood floors without sanding, consider using a mechanical or chemical method. Use a chemical abrasion kit suitable for your floor type and follow the instructions on the product label.

Article Name
How Often Do I Have to Recoat Hardwood Floors?
The period between recoating and refinishing depends on wear over time, the finish used, the wood your floor is made of, your lifestyle, and many other factors.