Houzz Logo Print

Thin (lathe?) oak flooring - refinish or replace?

9 years ago

I have a dilemma on wood floors and would love some advise. One of the big selling points when we purchased our 1976 colonial house 8 years ago was it had oak wood floors throughout. The stairs and bedrooms have always been covered by carpet and the oak is kinda yellowy color whereas the first floor was previously sanded and stained a medium brown.

Our carpeting needs to be replaced and we started to consider having the floors refinished rather than replacing the carpet. Upon further inspection we noticed the 2" wide oak wood floors appear to be very thin (3/8" thick).

Can floors this thin even be refinished? I am not 100% positive but I believe the downstairs were possibly refinished once before so they may be thinner than 3/8". We already have a few wood strips that are warping (curved).

The next question is it worth investing in these floors or putting it towards new floors. We looked at one shop over the weekend and they quoted us $3.50/sq ft to refinish plus $150 per stair step (we have 13 steps).

We also looked at their new solid wood flooring. Based on what we were seeing at this store I think we are in the $6 - $9/sq ft range for new solid wood flooring plus something like $2.70/sq ft labor for floors (not stairs..which were much more). If we replaced the floors would we get any return on our investment when we resale considering technically we already have "wood floors"?

I was leaning toward replacing with oak or a similar wood - since our stairs are oak (risers, treads, railing) and that would save us money if we didn't have to replace them with a different type of wood. Refinishing to "match" an new oak floor would be $1950 vs approx $5000 (materials and labor) to replace...and this replacement cost doesn't include a new railings. Pickets and end posts are white so they could stay.

My husband and I can't seem to agree on style. He doesn't want to replace with oak. He doesn't care for oak and says we might as well refinish if we want oak as it will ultimately look the same. He likes exotic woods like brazilian cherry, brazilian rosewood, and mahogany. While I like the grain of these woods, I don't care for the color as the ones we have seen in the stores are natural and too "reddish" for my taste. I like a slightly darker and browner floor (although we don't want to go too dark). I am drawn towards high end oaks, hickory and walnuts.

And the last question - is do we do all hardwoods (including bedrooms) or do we just do downstairs (excluding kitchen and back-entry)? Either way the flooring needs to be replaced whether we go with carpet or hardwood in the bedrooms. The bedrooms would be an additional 800 sq ft in flooring above the 875 needed for downstairs and upstairs hallway.

So I would love to know your thoughts...
Refinish or replace?
Replace stairs or keep oak? Does wood match matter?
Carpet the bedrooms or do hardwood floors?


Comments (5)

VA Exteriors, LLC
Average rating: 5 out of 5 stars3 Reviews
Loudoun County's Family Owned & Operated Exterior Construction Experts