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When you stop and think about it, your floor is the site of dozens of important moments: Family tickle sessions. Baby’s first steps. Muddy boot prints on a snow day. Snuggles with the dog after a tough day at school.

After settling into your starter home, it makes sense that one of the first renovation projects you’d want to tackle is redoing the hardwood floors to match your style.

Sure, it’s a big undertaking with kids and work, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. And, when you’re finished, you’ll have a blank canvas for creating the cozy home you’ve always dreamed about. Here are seven tips for replacing your hardwood floors. 

1. Prep your house

With little ones running around, finding the time (or the energy) to clear out your living room ahead of a home renovation project can be a challenge. Let ClosetBox take over. Their team will pick up your belongings and store them in a private vault. Then, when your new floors are installed and your house is back in order, they’ll return your furniture and other household items.

Now for the fun part: Playing interior decorator and rearranging your furniture in what will feel like a brand new space.

2. Decide on the scope of the project

Before you begin, you’ll want to consider whether it’s best to replace or refurbish those old hardwood floors.

“One of the beauties of wood flooring is the ability to refinish existing floors,” says Katie Schenk, a spokeswoman for the National Wood Flooring Association. By sanding and refinishing old floors, you can update them to match current trends or to reflect your own personal style while maintaining some of the historic charm of the house.

If you see or suspect any water damage, or find any structural issues, it’s probably best to start from scratch. If previous owners already sanded and refurbished the floors multiple times, there may not be enough wood left for another refinishing.

If just a few boards need replacing, you can easily sand and restain your existing floors. Remember, though, that if your home is older, you may not be able to find replacement boards that are a perfect match.

3. Set your budget

Yes, hardwood floors are beautiful and they’re on everyone’s wish list. But before you jump in, take a long, hard look at your finances. Home renovation projects are notorious for costing more (and taking longer) than you think. Case in point: A 2017 survey from Houzz found that the top challenge renovators faced in 2016 was staying on budget.

Though it’s easy to go gaga over high-priced finishes, be realistic about your project budget. There are dozens of types of wood flooring options, all at different price points. Plus, many retailers hold seasonal sales, so do a little research before paying full price.

Remember, too, that with a growing family, you may soon want to sell your home and move into a larger space. Keep resale value in mind, suggests Tonya Bruin, CEO of To Do Done Renovations and Handyman Services.

“Upgrades that are based on your own personal taste or too luxurious for your neighborhood, while they may be appreciated by you, will not hold their investment value when it comes time to sell,” Bruin says. “Unless you are looking to stay in the home long-term, this may not be the wisest way to spend your renovation budget.”

4. Create a safe space

Whether you’re doing the work yourself or have hired a contractor, a renovation project can make your home feel like a disaster zone. Designate at least one room or area of the house as your safe space, where you can retreat from all the noise, dust and commotion, suggests the National Association for Home Builders.

5. Pick the material

There are two main types of wood floors on the market today: engineered and solid wood. As the name suggests, engineered floor boards are created using multiple layers of wood. Solid wood floor boards, on the other hand, are made from a single piece of wood. There are pros and cons for both types of flooring, including how many times they can be refinished and on what levels of your home they can be installed.

Consider reading flooring reviews (like these from Consumer Reports) to learn more about which type is best for your project.

6. Hire an expert—or become one

In an ideal world, you would be Super Dad, going to work every day, being an awesome parent at night and doing all your home renovation projects yourself on the weekends.

Time for a reality check: You probably can’t do it all. Plus, there’s something to be said for having a project done within a few days by a team of experts, rather than dragging the project out for weeks or months as you work on it between tee-ball games each weekend.

The same goes for refinishing existing wood floors, says Adam Williams, a spokesman for Palo Duro Hardwoods. A DIY sanding job can lead to scratches and gouges in the floor, he says. Plus, you may not select the best (or the safest) finish for your family, and you’ll likely end up with clumps and an uneven application.

But, if you’re set on going the DIY route, make yourself a total expert before you begin. Immerse yourself in YouTube videos and consider attending an in-person workshop at your local hardware store. Home Depot, for example, offers DIY classes for adults nearly every Saturday.

7. Understand cleaning and maintenance

Your renovation project doesn’t stop once the new floors are in. Remember that the long life of your floors depends on regular cleaning and maintenance.

The National Wood Flooring Association recommends sweeping or dusting your floors daily and vacuuming with the “bare floor” setting once a week. They also suggest using a wood floor cleaner once a month and applying a new coat of finish every three to five years. Every few decades, you should sand and refinish the floors.

Keep a humidifier running during the winter months to prevent your floors from drying out and place stick-on felt pads on furniture legs to prevent scratches.