Do Your Hardwood Floors Need Refinishing?

Just like any other investment in your home, hardwood floors need to be well cared for. That requires cleaning, maintaining, and protecting them regularly to keep them looking their best. Once every few years, however, your hardwood floors may need a more extensive update: refinishing. 

A hardwood floor with a water-based polyurethane finish can last from 2 to 12 years, depending on how much use they get.  The refinishing process requires sanding the entire floor and starting over with applying at least 3 coats of water-based polyurethane.

A solid or engineered hardwood floor with a WOCA penetrating oil finish can last anywhere from 2 to 8 years, depending on how much use they get, the quality of woodcare products you use, and how often you want to refresh them. The process is dustless (no sanding!) and can be done partially, like in high traffic areas.  The refinishing process requires cleaning the area with WOCA Intensive Wood Cleaner and polishing in a coat of WOCA Maintenance Oil Diamond Active to make your floors as good as new again. 

But how do you know when it’s time to refinish your hardwood floors? We’re sharing the top signs to watch out for and ways to keep your floors in great shape in between refinishes.

Why refinish?

If you’ve ever refinished a hardwood floor before, you know that it can be time-intensive and take a lot of work. And while the end results are worth it (and long-lasting with the right products), your hardwood floors will need ongoing maintenance — just like any other floor. Foot traffic, furniture, sunlight, and time can all wear your floors down over time, and refinishing them can help bring them back to life for several more years to come.

Signs that it’s time to refinish your hardwood floors

Water damage

Water can cause minimum damage to your floors by leaving behind darker stains, or it can cause even worse, more costly problems like warping and buckling. In this case, the floor would most likely need to be replaced entirely instead of a refinish. 

Lots of staining

In addition to water stains, you may start to notice other stains show up. This is especially true in busy households with lots of footsteps, food, drinks, and toys that pass over your hardwood floors every single day. While stains are a natural part of almost any home, they can quickly build up over time and look unsightly.


Hardwood floors can start to discolor in two ways: time and the sun. Over several years, normal wear and tear can begin to chip away at the protective elements on your floors. When that happens, the wood can absorb water and begin to turn gray. 

If you’re lucky enough to have lots of natural light in your house, be sure to keep a close eye on your hardwood floors. Just as it’s susceptible to water damage, it’s also vulnerable to sunlight. Overexposure over a long time can fade and wash out the color, forcing you to refinish.

Normal wear and tear

While all of the above signs are part of normal wear and tear, there are smaller signs to watch for that might indicate it’s time to refinish your hardwood floors:

    • Scratches
    • Worn-down areas
    • Splintering
    • Dry looking
    • Soaks up water

    Pro tip: You can put your hardwood floors to the (water) test by pouring a small amount of water — about a tablespoon — on them. If it stays on the surface in a pool or small droplets, your floors are still fine. If it soaks in, it’s likely time to refinish them. Be sure to do it sooner than later, as you don’t want your floor to warp or buckle.

    Refinish your hardwood floors with WOCA

    Whether it’s time to refinish your hardwood floors or you’re ready to update the color, turn to WOCA Woodcare. Our eco-friendly refinishing products are safe and long-lasting. In addition to top-rated refinishing oils, we also have an arsenal of hardwood cleaning products to clean, protect, refresh, and keep your floors in the best shape in between refinishes. Explore our entire line of WOCA Natural Woodcare products today! 

    Reviews (1 comment)

    • Maureen On

      Quick question I just used your oil refinishing soap on my Waco floors 5tears old. How would I re oil them?
      Woca Woodcare:
      See link for products and steps to clean and re-oil

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