Buffing vs. Sanding for Hardwood Floors

Natural wear & tear can happen to any type of floor, so it’s important to keep up on the maintenance of your premium hardwood floors. Without it, floors can lose their color, protective coating and overall appearance. To avoid this, you would either need to keep up on your buff and coats, or sand and refinish the floor. 

At Barnum Floors, we are experts in the installation, refinishing, maintenance and care of hardwood floors. Our skilled professionals work every day to build hardwood flooring that lasts, using the most advanced techniques to get the job done. We’ve even put together a blog on 9 tips to caring for hardwood floors, to make sure you have all the knowledge and tools you need. 

Need help determining if your floors need to be buffed or sanded? Here is our guide to the difference between both, so you know which one is right for your hardwood floors!

What is Buffing?

Buffing wood floors involves adding new layers of protection to your existing hardwood floor.  These new urethane layers can minimize existing  imperfections in the sealant layers on your floor. Buffing instead of sanding can bring back the natural shine and luster of the sealants on your wood. At Barnum Floors, we offer a premium buffing service to extend the life of your current floors for years to come. 

Pros & Cons to Buffing

Buffi and coating is great in restoring the appearance of the sheen in your hardwood floors  while extending the lifespan at the same time. The buffing process only works if it is done within a reasonable period of time since your floors were sanded. If you have waited too long, the only choice is to refinish your hardwood. In addition, if you have used incorrect cleaning products or products with oil residue in them, the new layers of urethane will not adhere to the old layers of urethane and will begin to peel off. 

This process does require experience to correctly apply a new coat of polyurethane smoothly and correctly. It also does not correct extensive or deeper damage to your floors, which would require a more invasive technique such as sanding. Buffing freshens the floor, but if not the same as a newly sanded floor.

What is Sanding?

Sanding is using professional equipment and material to remove all the layers of finish from hardwood floors, as well as smoothing the wood underneath.This process is very rigorous as it strips everything from the floor. Sanding your hardwood floors should be considered when damages that buffing can’t fix are present, there is water damage, deep scratches, heavy damage, you’d like total restoration, or a change in color. It is recommended that you hire a professional for your sanding process as it is important you do not sand through the wear-layer of your hardwood. A good, professional sander really only removes approx 1/16th of an inch when re-sanding a floor, and can be difficult to do if you are not trained.

Pros & Cons to Sanding

Sanding is a great technique to not only fix those more in-depth damages, but it also eliminates the potential for them to worsen. It can also provide a smooth clean finish, riding the flooring of even minor scratches and dents. This process is also often considered when you would like to change the color of your hardwood to update your home. Finishes & stains are then applied for a brand new floor. 

With the benefits of sanding, come its natural downfalls. Sanding requires a lot more time than buffing and is a more expensive process.  

Which Technique Is Right For Me?

At Barnum Floors, we recommended buffing for providing new layers of urethane protection and small, minor damage in the finish and sanding for more extensive ones. Both are great techniques in keeping your hardwood floors looking beautiful, but they do have their drawbacks— especially if they are not done correctly. We would recommend seeking a professional’s opinion before determining which process is best for your floors. 

When considering floor maintenance on your own, we also recommend sticking to your gut on your DIY skill level. If there is something you’re worried about messing up, then it’s better to leave it to the professionals. The last thing you want is the maintenance or repair to end up costing you way more than it needs to be. 

Get the Professional Flooring Maintenance You Need

Whether you’re in need of buffing or sanding, our experts at Barnum Floors have got you covered. The care and maintenance of your hardwood flooring is our priority. Contact us today for any inquiries on buffing, sanding or other floor maintenance services!