Cracks between planks can help you determine the thickness of the floor.
High-quality hardwood floors increase the value of a home, so check yours regularly to make sure they are in good repair. Wooden floors can be deceptive. Discolorations, scratches and dings on your hardwood floors don’t necessarily mean the wood needs to be refinished — and a surface that looks smooth and uniform might actually need some touching up. If your floor does need to be refinished, take care of it right away to prevent permanent damage to the wood.
- Locate the section of the floor that gets the most daily traffic. This is the area that is most likely to need refinishing.
- Pour a tablespoon of water onto the section of floor and watch what it does. If it forms droplets that rest on top of the wood, the finish is in good condition. If it soaks into the wood slowly, the finish is wearing thin, but you can probably postpone the job if you need to. If the water quickly penetrates the wood and leaves a dark splotch, the floor needs to be refinished right away.
- Wipe up the water with a paper towel if any remains on the surface of the wood. Repeat the test in other areas if you think you might not need to refinish the entire floor surface.
- Find two floorboards that meet imperfectly, with a deep groove between them. Insert a business card into the groove as far as it will go. Use a pencil to mark the place on the card where the top of the floor hits.
- Remove the business card from the groove. Measure the depth of the crack by measuring from the edge of the business card to the pencil mark with a ruler. If the mark on the card is less than 3/4-inch from the edge, hire a professional to refinish your floors rather than attempting to do it yourself. To refinish the floors, you must sand off the old finish. If the floor is less than 3/4-inch thick, sanding it is a delicate job best handled by a professional.