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Screening vs. Refinishing Hardwood Floors. What's the Difference and is either right for you?

Flooring is an essential component of any living space, providing a stable and durable foundation to support our daily activities. Over time, however, floors can become worn, scratched, or stained, losing their original luster and shine. Two common methods of addressing these issues are screening and refinishing. Let's explore the pros and cons of these two methods, discussing their advantages and disadvantages, and ultimately providing you with the information necessary to make an informed decision for your specific flooring needs.

Screening Floors:

Screening floors, also known as buffing, is the process of lightly sanding the top layer of a floor to remove scratches, scuffs, and other surface-level imperfections. Unlike refinishing, screening does not remove any of the floor's original material, making it a less invasive and less time-consuming process. It is an excellent choice for floors that are only mildly worn or need a quick touch-up. Furthermore, it is a great option for floors that have been previously refinished and require a maintenance coat.


  1. Cost-Effective: Screening is significantly cheaper than refinishing. It requires less labor and fewer materials, making it an excellent option for those on a budget.

  2. Time-Saving: The process of screening is much quicker than refinishing, with most projects taking only a few hours to complete.

  3. No Dust: Because screening does not involve removing any of the floor's material, there is no sawdust or debris produced during the process.

  4. No Fumes: Unlike refinishing, which involves the use of chemical-based products, screening does not produce any fumes or unpleasant odors, making it an ideal option for those with allergies or sensitivities.


Surface-Level: Screening only addresses surface-level imperfections, making it unsuitable for floors that require more extensive repairs or deep scratches.

  1. Limited Life: The effects of screening are short-lived and may require more frequent maintenance than refinishing.

  2. No Color Change: Because screening does not remove any of the floor's original material, it is impossible to change the floor's color during this process.

Refinishing Floors:

Refinishing floors involves removing the top layer of a floor to expose the fresh, unblemished wood underneath. It is a more invasive and time-consuming process than screening, requiring more labor and materials. Refinishing is a great option for floors that are significantly worn or damaged, or those that require a significant color change.


  1. Deep Repair: Refinishing removes a significant amount of the floor's material, making it an ideal option for floors with deep scratches, stains, or other severe imperfections.

  2. Long-Lasting: Refinished floors are durable and long-lasting, with the effects lasting for many years.

  3. Customizable: Refinishing provides an opportunity to change the floor's color, tone, and sheen, allowing you to achieve your desired look.

  4. Adds Value: Refinished floors add value to your home, making it a great investment for those looking to sell.


  1. Costly: Refinishing is significantly more expensive than screening, requiring more labor, materials, and time to complete.

  2. Dust: The sanding process produces a significant amount of sawdust and debris, which can be challenging to clean up.

  3. Fumes: The chemicals used during refinishing produce strong fumes and unpleasant odors, requiring adequate ventilation during the process.

  4. Time-Consuming: Refinishing is a time-consuming process, with most projects taking several days to complete.

So what to choose? Both screening and refinishing are viable options for restoring the beauty and luster of your floors. The choice ultimately depends on the extent of the damage and the desired outcome. What's your budget and timeframe? Give RemodelNY a call or email and we will happily walk you through the process to find the best resolution for you!

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