There is a big difference between a screen and coat and a full refinish. The projects may seem similar at first but as we go through the details it becomes clear that the projects are very different. A contractor is a great resource for deciding between
A sand and refinish or a full refinish is a laborious project. The sanding and refinishing is a multi day job with a long list of steps. The sand and refinish project goes all the way through the finish to bare wood. The screen and re-coat is a less laborious process. It takes just a few hours to complete the whole project and there are only about four steps. The screen and re-coat does not go through the finish layer to wood and uses just a buffer to abrate the top coat.
The buff and coat can remove some superficial and surface scratches but does not go through the top layer/coat of finish. The deep scratches or dents in your floor will not be removed with this process. Staining from pets or water damage will also not be removed with this process. A sand and refinish can get out deep scratching and some staining (pet stains can be impossible to remove). A deep gouge can be challenge to remove even with a full resand but repairs and replacement boards are options when it comes to a sand and refinish.
The type of machines used in the different projects is also something to consider. The buff and coat process uses just a buffer and some small hand tools for places the buffer cannot reach. The resand requires a belt sander, hand sanding tools, edger, buffer and some companies use additional tools like a powerdrive or trio.
If your floor needs replacement boards or any extensive repairs a sand and finish will likely be needed. Screen and coats don’t ask replacement boards well and are commonly not a good choice for any extensive repair projects. The sand and refinish is the best bet for a flat and even floor.
In the end there are a lot of pros and cons to each option but the main deciding factor will be the state of your own floor. If you have worn spots, scratching or any other extreme wear and tear you will benefit the most from a full refinish. A contractor is your ideal option for better understanding what your specific project needs are and how they can help with your needs.