The new year is a great time to renew your living space, and if you want to make an improvement that will have a big impact, set aside some time to refinish your floors. There are plenty of ways to revamp old carpet, aging tile or outdated linoleum. Read on for some ideas about how to start the new year with fresh floors underfoot.

Replace or refinish?

Sometimes, old floors may be beyond saving — or they would require so much work that it makes more sense to replace them. If you have an older home with hardwood floors, you may see gouges, dings and scrapes (dogs and children’s toys are especially rough on hardwoods). Refinishing badly scarred hardwoods takes a lot of time, and your hard work may be wasted if you share your home with rambunctious kids and pets.

Consider replacing hardwoods with laminate flooring, which is available in finishes that mimic natural wood. Laminate flooring is more durable and moisture-resistant than wood, so it’s a good choice for homes with pets.

Resurface linoleum

Is that ugly linoleum floor ruining your dreams of a classy kitchen? Don’t worry — you can actually change it completely without the painstaking process of peeling it up.

You can actually repaint linoleum and even add a new pattern to your floor. You’ll need to sand the surface — and possibly use a chemical de-glosser — before priming and painting your new floor. But the beauty of this method is that you can customize your floor to match your decor.

Rejuvenate carpet

Even when you vacuum every day, carpet can become matted and stained over time. But a professional cleaning can make your carpet look brand new — as well as remove deep-down allergens, grime and pet dander that your vacuum may miss.

Traditional water-extraction steam cleaning is effective, but you’ll need to allow about eight hours for carpets to dry. Vapor steam cleaning offers a faster drying time, but it may not be able to remove all stains. Some people are sensitive to chemicals used in carpet cleaning, so if you’re concerned about the use of chemicals on your carpets, make sure you ask the cleaning company if plant-based solvents can be used instead.

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Reseal tile

Many bathrooms have ceramic tile floors, because tile is water-resistant and easy to clean. But if you notice your tile or grout looking dirty even when the floor is clean, that could be because its protective top layer is wearing away.

To keep your floor looking clean and bright, you may need to spend a weekend resealing it. Thoroughly clean the grout and tile and make sure to wipe down the surface well, leaving behind no traces of cleaning product. Once the floor is dry, you can apply new sealer. You may need to apply several coats. Allow each coat to dry, and put a few drops of water on the surface — if it beads, you’ve applied enough sealer.

Rejuvenate worn surfaces

Sometimes, floors just need some extra attention in order to look almost-new. You can rent an industrial floor buffer, which allows you to quickly restore shine to aging wood and tile floors, but these machines can be a bit unwieldy. An easier solution is to buy felt buffers and manually buff floors, using cleaning compound and moving the pad across the surface in a circular motion.

Many floor refinishing projects can be completed in a day or two, so pick a weekend and devote some time to improving your living space.

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