Spot Repairs Vs Full Refinishing: Advice on Timber Flooring

24 Jan 2024

Like any flooring type, timber flooring is susceptible to wear and tear. Preserving both the aesthetic appeal and functional durability of your timber flooring involves making informed choices between spot repairs and full refinishing. In order to assist you in making the right decision, we've gathered useful tips on which options to consider.

Preserving the Timeless Beauty of your Timber Flooring

Timber flooring is a preferred choice for many homeowners for its elegance and durability over long periods of time. However, like any other flooring type, over time it is prone to wear and tear. When it comes to maintaining the aesthetic and functional integrity of your timber flooring, knowing whether to opt for spot repairs or a full refinishing is crucial. Both approaches have their merits, but the right choice largely depends on the extent and nature of the damage. To help owners make an informed decision, we’ve compiled some helpful tips on what options you should use.

Spot Repairs

Spot repairs are an ideal solution for localised damage or wear, such as minor scratches, nicks, or small areas where the finish has worn away. One of the best ways to do this is by cleaning the area first and ensuring no dust or debris is in the area, then buffing the small area with sandpaper and refinishing the small area with the exact coating used when the floor was installed (UV oil finish, stain or lacquer - check with your supplier to ensure you use the correct finish). Another form of spot repair is by replacing the damaged wood with a new plank or planks, especially if the flooring was pre-finished when installed, or if the area spans over more than one plank. This is one of the reasons why it is important to keep a few extra planks after you install your new timber floor in order to have some readily available for any future needs to replace damaged planks.

 Spot repairs are a cost effective and quick solution if the area is small and isn’t a large consistent area. Here some of the other reasons why spot repairs are a great option:

Economical and Less Time-Consuming

Spot repairs are notably more economical and quicker than a full refinishing, especially when the damage is confined to one or two areas of the floor. The cost savings can be significant, making spot repairs a budget-friendly option for many homeowners.


Simpler spot repairs can often be tackled by homeowners using basic tools and materials. For instance, worn spots can be treated by applying a matching stain in a circular motion and letting it sit for a day. This DIY-friendly nature can also contribute to further cost savings.

Maintains Original Finish

If the rest of the floor is in good condition, spot repairs allow you to maintain the original finish and colour of the wood. This is a significant advantage for those who are fond of their current flooring aesthetics.

Preservation of Historical Authenticity:

For older homes with historical or unique flooring, spot repairs can preserve the original character of the floor, which might be lost with a full refinishing.

Havwoods HW1391 Versailles Antique timber flooring | The Old Rectory, UK

Full Refinishing

A full refinishing is a more extensive process that addresses widespread damage or wear across the entire floor. Here's a deeper dive into the merits and considerations of full refinishing:

Restores Uniform Appearance:

When surface blemishes are prevalent and not limited to one area, refinishing restores a uniform appearance to the flooring. This can significantly enhance the overall look and feel of your home.

UV Damage Reversal:

Over time, UV exposure can fade or darken your floors. A full refinish can help to restore the original colour to the effected areas and ensure consistency throughout the space.

Longer Lifespan:

A full refinishing can further extend the lifespan of your flooring, especially when there's significant wear or damage which can begin to allow dirt and moisture to seep in. A full refinishing done correctly, can help to restore the integrity of the floor and prevent further damage occurring.

Professional Assistance Recommended:

Given the complexity and the specialised equipment needed, it's often advisable to hire professionals for a full refinishing job. This ensures the job is done correctly, preventing further damage and ensuring the longevity of your floor.

Increased Home Value:

A well-executed refinishing job can significantly boost the value of your home. It's a worthy investment if you plan on selling your home in the near future.

Tips on Maintaining Your Timber Flooring

To help increase the longevity of your timber flooring, here are some tips on regular maintenance of your floor to help reduce the need for spot repairs or full refinishing:

  • Furniture Pads: These are a homeowner's best friend when it comes to wood floors. By placing felt pads underneath the legs of your furniture, not only do you prevent potential scratching, but you also reduce the wear and tear from frequent movement. It's an easy, cost-effective method that goes a long way in maintaining your floors.

  • Rugs and Runners: Consider these as protective shields for your floors. Strategically placing area rugs or runners, especially in high-traffic zones like hallways or living areas, can dramatically decrease the daily impact on your floors. Besides protection, they also add a touch of style and comfort to your space.

  • Keep Pets’ Nails Trimmed: Our furry friends, as loveable as they are, can sometimes be culprits of scratches on wood floors. An easy way to mitigate this is to ensure their nails are consistently trimmed and smooth. It’s a win-win - it keeps your pets comfortable and your floors scratch-free.

  • Routine Maintenance: Think of this as a daily health check for your floors. By regularly sweeping and cleaning, you eliminate the small particles of dirt and debris that, over time, can act as abrasive agents, causing scratches and deteriorating the finish of your floors. Also checking on the colouring of your floors can ensure you are strategically rotating rugs, or closing curtains during high summers to reduce the amount of damage and lightening of your timber floors.

    You can learn more about the care and maintenance of lacquered and oiled floors here.

The choice between spot repairs and full refinishing comes down to the extent of damage, your budget, and long-term goals for your flooring. Spot repairs are practical for minor damages, while a full refinishing is better suited for extensive wear or for those looking to rejuvenate the aesthetics of their flooring. Whichever route you choose, ensuring that the repairs or refinishing are done correctly is crucial to maintaining the beauty and durability of your timber flooring for years to come.

Havwoods HW16088 Ferro Herringbone timber flooring | Ridgeway House, UK

Expert Guidance for all things Timber Flooring

Before deciding on which route you should take when repairing damaged areas of your floor, you should consider professional advice especially if you are not confident in fixing the area yourself. By speaking to one of our Havwoods expert consultants we can provide you with the tools and knowledge of the exact care program for your floor. Get in touch with us today or visit one of Havwoods showrooms today where one of our friendly experts can help you with any questions you have.

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