Should I Replace or Refinish My Stone Flooring?

Should I Replace or Refinish My Stone Flooring?

Stone flooring can add elegance and beauty to almost any space–but with the passage of time and heavy use, those stone floors or stone tile floors can eventually lose their luster and appear dull. When that happens, the big question looms: should you replace or restore your stone flooring?

Many people assume that once natural stone starts showing signs of wear and tear, replacing the floor is the only option. And since replacement can be quite expensive, they often put it off, allowing their floors to deteriorate even more. However, in many cases, stone refinishing can be a much more cost-effective solution, one that can restore your floor’s natural beauty and even extend its life so you don’t have to invest in a full replacement, possibly for many years.

So… if your stone floors look worn, should you refinish or replace them? Let’s look at a few key factors to consider.

Scratches, Cracks, and Dents

The first factor that can help you determine if stone refinishing is an option is the amount of damage present. Minor scratches and scuffs may be fixable with refinishing, but for deeper dents, chips, or cracks, refinishing alone will likely not be enough to cover that damage. However, if the damage is spotty and not widespread, you may still be able to avoid a full replacement by having a professional repair the damage with epoxies and color matching.

Bottom line–if the scratches are surface level, stone refinishing should do the trick. For deeper scratches, cracks, and dents, consider repairs if the damage is isolated to a few spots. If the damage is widespread across the floor, it may be time for a replacement.

Stains or Loss of Shine

In almost all cases, stone refinishing is the best and most cost-efficient alternative to fixing stained or dulled floors. Refinishing involves gently grinding down the stone and polishing it to the desired sheen. This surface polishing typically removes stains and buffs out scratches for a uniform look across the floor. Only in extreme cases where the stains are deep and widespread should you consider replacing the stone floor.

Financial Factors

Your budget almost always plays a key role in the decision to refinish or replace a natural stone floor. The cost of refinishing floors varies according to the amount of damage, the square footage involved, etc.–but refinishing is almost always more affordable than replacement. When you replace stone floors, you’re not only dealing with the cost of materials and labor, but also with the costs of demolition, disposal, and any downtime you might incur during construction.

At the end of the day, even the most extensive refinishing project usually costs a fraction of what it costs to replace a stone floor. That said, your budget should be your guide. If money is no object and you simply want a new look for your floors, consider replacement. (You could even change the flooring to something besides natural stone, such as solid hardwood floors, engineered hardwood, porcelain tile, or some other surface. If, however, your desire is to restore the look of your stone floors to their original beauty, refinishing is almost always more affordable, and usually just as effective.

Squeaking or Creaking

Stone floors and stone tile floors almost never squeak or creak. If they do, it’s generally a sign of a problem with the subfloor, not the stone itself. For example, if stone tiles have been laid over a wood subfloor, and the wood beneath begins to warp, cup, or crown due to moisture getting under the floor, the integrity of the floor itself may be at risk. In situations like these, replacement may be your only option because refinishing will not fix the subfloor beneath.

Issues with Grout

Grout is the material used to fill in the gaps between stone tiles, and it can become discolored or cracked over time. Refinishing the stone floors themselves will not do anything to fix underlying issues with grout. However, an expert stone care professional will typically clean and repair grout as part of a tile floor refinishing project. As a rule of thumb, if the damage to your grout is minor or spotty, chances are it can be refreshed without needing a full replacement. If the grout problem is widespread or there are signs of major deterioration, you may either need to do a full re-grouting of the floor or simply invest in replacement.

Consult a New York Stone Refinishing Professional

When it comes to stone refinishing, there are no hard-and-fast rules–but more often than not, refinishing the floors is a viable alternative to replacing them outright, not to mention more affordable. That said, the best way to determine whether stone refinishing or replacement is the right choice for your particular situation is to consult a professional stone care and restoration expert. At Statewide Stone Care (a stonework company), we have the experience, skills, and resources to assess your stone floors and make an accurate recommendation about whether refinishing can solve your problem or whether you need a full replacement. For a free evaluation in New York or New Jersey, contact us today.