How Much Does It Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors?

One of the biggest advantages of hardwood flooring is that you have the option to refinish it even before it develops signs of damages such as scratches and dents. The process of refinishing hardwood floors includes sanding, reapplying stains or color treatments, and sealing the wood with your preferred finish. This process allows you to restore the natural look and feel of your hardwood without the need to replace your entire floor. However, when we talk about hardwood flooring maintenance and repair, we can’t help but think about the cost associated with it. How much does it really cost to refinish hardwood floors?

refinish hardwood floors

In today’s blog, we will address this question along with the benefits and process of refinishing hardwood floors. Let’s find out if it’s cheaper and worth enough to do it yourself or hire a professional hardwood floor refinishing contractor near you.


What Are The Benefits Of Refinishing Hardwood Floors?

Over time, your hardwood floor will tarnish and lose its luster. When you see damages such as small scratches and dents on the surface floor, you may think that it’s the right time to replace it. Luckily, surface damages can be resolved by refinishing your floor. Let’s take a look at some benefits when you refinish hardwood floors in your home.


Looks Like Brand New

Refinishing your hardwood floor can create wonders. This is because it gives you an opportunity to remove all the dents and scratches that look unsightly on your floor. Getting rid of these gritty surfaces means that you are creating an almost newly installed flooring.


Enhances Your Home’s Resale Value

If you plan to market your property for sale in the future, it is very advantageous when you refinish hardwood floors. It is no longer a secret that hardwood floors are always a top flooring choice for home buyers. A freshly refinished hardwood floor is contributory to increase the resale value of your home—making it a substantial investment in the long run.


Wards Off Insects And Pests

Crevices on a damaged wood floor can become a breeding ground of termites, ants, and other pests, which may exacerbate the damage if left untreated. When you refinish hardwood floors, it allows you to further evaluate your wood flooring and detect any invasive damages caused by pests.


Addresses Possible Hazards

Aside from preventing termites or any pest infestations, refinishing hardwood floors can also address potential safety issues in your home. Damaged hardwood flooring does not only appear unpleasant, but it also causes accidents and possible injuries. For instance, splintering on your hardwood floor can cause a foot injury when you accidentally step onto it. However, if you refinish hardwood floors, it will help you determine which areas require immediate attention and repair to prevent any safety hazards.


Saves You Money 

One of the great benefits of hardwood floor refinishing is that it saves you money in the long run. The main reason why you refinish hardwood floors at home is to prevent a total floor replacement, which will significantly yield more expenses. With hardwood floor refinishing, you can avoid superficial damages from becoming worse. Hence, you are saving more money by reducing maintenance costs.


Related: 7 Signs You Need to Refinish Hardwood Flooring Right Away


What Factors Are Affecting The Cost To Refinish Hardwood Floors?

If you plan to hire a professional, several factors can impact the cost of refinishing your hardwood floors. Here are the things you need to consider.

refinish hardwood floors

Labor Cost

When hiring a professional to refinish hardwood floors, expect that larger contracting companies will charge you more as opposed to small contractors in the area. This is because the demand for bigger companies is much higher. However, if you’re a seasoned and experienced DIYer, you can refinish your wood floors yourself, which will save you from labor expenses. If a DIY project is not your cup of tea, do your research and look for the best contractors in Maryland that can offer cost-effective services. Make sure that the contractor you will choose is highly skilled and well-experienced.


Related: Tips for Choosing The Right Flooring Contractor in Maryland


Moving Your Furniture

Before you start to refinish hardwood floors, the project area should be clear from any impediments. Meaning, you need to expose the entire floor by removing all the furniture in the room that you will be working on. More often than not, moving furniture is not part of the estimate for a refinishing project. If you ask the contractor to move the furniture instead, you must anticipate extra charges. If you want to save money on this part, you can do it yourself. 


Dimension Of The Floor

refinish hardwood floors

You may think that smaller rooms will cost you less to refinish hardwood floors, but it isn’t. In general, smaller rooms are relatively more expensive to sand and refinish per square foot. It is because the tools and equipment for sanding and refinishing are quite hefty. It will be difficult for contractors to get them into smaller rooms or maneuver heavy equipment in tight or narrow areas. This is quite challenging if you do it yourself and forgo the help of professional contractors. Larger rooms, on the other hand, are less costly per square foot. Some contractors are even willing to give discounts if you plan to refinish multiple rooms in one visit.


Repairs Before Refinishing

Before you start sanding or refinishing, you need to assess the project area for any damages. Floors must be repaired first before refinishing it. Most floor refinishing contractors can work on this repair, but they may charge you extra.


Removing Other Floor Materials

There are some cases where the hardwood floor is underneath a different floor covering such as vinyl or carpet flooring. If you want to remove this old floor covering before refinishing your hardwood, most contractors will ask for an additional charge for this service.


Cleaning Service

It can be messy to refinish hardwood floors. That is why some contractors may charge you for cleaning services. However, others will specify and include this on the contract. So, make sure to ask your prospective contractor if cleaning services are part of the quotation. 


What Is The Process In Refinishing Hardwood Floor?

Refinishing your hardwood flooring is no easy feat. Whether it be a DIY project, or you hire a professional floor refinisher to do the job, the process simply follows a logical sequence. Here’s the overview of the process. 


Preparation Stage

A fair amount of preparation is required to guarantee that things will go smoothly as planned. First, you need to clear the project area of everything you can. You must get all the furniture out to give yourself or your floor contractor a room to work on. Expose the entire floor, which means that the room that you will be working on should be free of all objects, even curtains. 

refinish hardwood floors

Part of the preparation stage is to completely cover any doors that may lead in or out of the project area. Make sure that you should know how to cleanly exit once the refinishing project is done. Tape all outlets, cracks, and gaps under doorways because dust may easily sneak out on these areas. Keep in mind that you must also isolate the project area since refinishing hardwood floors can be messy. If you are doing it yourself, prepare all the tools, equipment, safety items, and products you need. 


When preparing the room, you must ensure that damaged areas are repaired. Replace any missing or broken boards. Also, the surface needs to be dry and free from any dust or dirt before you start to refinish hardwood floors. 



This is the process where you need to grind the hardwood floor. Typically, you must sand your hardwood flooring three times: first with coarse-grit sandpaper, second with the medium grit, and lastly, the finer grit. Don’t forget to wear a respiratory mask while sanding because the entire process creates a lot of debris and dust. Make sure that the floor is leveled as well. This is because any warped or wavy hardwood flooring will require a different kind of sanding method. 

refinish hardwood floors

The goal of the first sanding pass is to remove any existing wood finish. You can use a drum sander, then work along the edges of the project area using an edge sander. For the second sanding pass, the goal is to get rid of the remaining finish and any scratches made during the first sanding pass. Use an 80-grit or finer sanding paper, then repeat it with the edges. After the second sanding pass, you can expect that the floor appears like new wood. 


In your third and final sanding pass, you can use a 100-grit sanding screen on a buffer to guarantee that any remaining scratches and blemishes are even out. Work back and forth and make sure to not leave any marks. To buff the edges, you can also use a random orbital sander. Keep in mind that in between each sanding, you must clean the project area, so it maintains the level of dust lower in the room.



Staining and Sealing 

refinish hardwood floors

After sanding, your floor will appear like a freshly new untreated hardwood. At this stage, you can apply stains before sealing. Staining is not a mandatory procedure, but it helps to provide extra protection on your hardwood floor. If you choose not to apply stains, you can put a sanding sealer on your wood floor instead. Make sure to let it dry completely before you start to refinish hardwood floors. 



refinish hardwood floors

The last step is to apply a hardwood finish of your choice. You can begin with smaller brushes in applying wood finish around all corners or edges of the room. Start in 5-foot swaths, then keep moving. Refinish the bulk of the floor using a roller. Once done, let the wood finish dry for 24 hours or depending on the type of finish you applied. Always check the floor before applying a second coat. Don’t forget to remove all the debris and dust using a dust mop before you apply the second coating. Once the first coating dries up completely, apply another coat of wood finish. Recoating your hardwood floor provides more appeal and elegance. 


Related: Choosing the Right Hardwood Floor Finish


How Much Is The Average Cost To Refinish Hardwood Floors?

According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of refinishing hardwood floors is ranging between $1,074 and $2,482. This is approximately $3 to $8 per square foot. You can expect to pay up to $4000 for large and complex jobs. However, the larger the project area is, the lower the cost per square footage. Other services such as repairs, moving furniture, or clean up services must also be considered.  

refinish hardwood floors

The cost of sanding hardwood floor alone ranges from $0.50 to $3 per square foot. If you have a room with a dimension of 12×14 feet, it will cost you approximately $80 to $500 for sanding. However, this depends on the number of passes it needs. On the other hand, the cost of staining the hardwood floor is an extra $1 to $3 per square foot. The price may vary depending on the labor expenses and the type or quality of wood stain you will apply. Furthermore, the finishing and coating cost varies depending on the type of wood finish you will choose. The average recoating cost is ranging from $1 to $2 per square foot. To get better pricing and options, you may want to talk to your local hardwood floor refinishing contractor


How Much Is The Average Cost To Refinish Hardwood Floors Yourself? 

The least expensive option to refinish hardwood floors is by doing it yourself. If you choose the DIY route, the average cost is between $500 and $1000. In this cost, you don’t need to factor in any labor expenses. You just simply rent the correct equipment and tools before you start refinishing. This makes it very ideal for seasoned and experienced DIYers who are also on a tight budget. However, if a DIY project is not something you are good at, it is better to leave the job to the professional.  

refinish hardwood floors

Are There Any Risks If You Decide To Refinish Hardwood Floors Yourself?

While it is true that you can spend less if you choose to refinish hardwood floors yourself, it is not always the best choice. Refinishing your hardwood floor is quite daunting and messy that any inexperienced homeowner can easily ruin the process. If you’re not a highly skilled and seasoned DIYer, bigger risks and higher costs are involved. For one, you should be adept how to use a sander or any finishing materials. Not having enough knowledge about these tools and equipment may cause you to sand down the floor multiple times that it eventually becomes too thin or uneven. 


Refinishing hardwood floors is also time obligated. You need to endure long hours of waiting for the first coating to dry up completely before you apply the second one. Not all wood finishes are created equal, so you have to make sure the right time and interval between coating. Also, if you don’t know how to fill in cracks correctly, your staining may become disorderly instead of being evenly distributed. A DIY project may come with many risks and possible hidden costs that you may end up paying two to three times higher than getting help from a professional refinishing contractor in the first place. 


Is It Cheaper To Replace Hardwood Floors Than Refinish It?

Typically, refinishing a hardwood floor is less expensive than replacing floorboards. The average installation cost of hardwood flooring is ranging between $6 and $12 per square foot. If you have a 500-square foot room, the average total cost is between $3,000 to $6,000. This price still depends on the complexity of the project and the type of wood species you will install. However, keep in mind that not all hardwood flooring can be refinished multiple times. There are several signs to know if it’s time to replace your hardwood floor than to refinish it. For instance, severe water damage such as bubbling or cracking will require you to replace your hardwood floor. In this case, you may want to speak to your hardwood floor contractor, so your flooring can be evaluated thoroughly. This way, you will know if refinishing your floor can remedy the situation. 


Related: Replace vs Refinish Your Hardwood Floors: Which One You Should Do?


How Long Does It Take To Refinish Hardwood Floors?

It normally takes approximately three to seven days in refinishing hardwood floors. However, length and duration will depend on the complexity and size of the project. It will also vary on the wood finish you will choose and the number of coats you need to apply until it dries completely. 


Related: An Ultimate Guide to Refinishing Hardwood Floor


Hire a Professional Hardwood Floor Refinishing Contractor Today

Refinishing hardwood floors may appear like an easy DIY project; however, it is labor-intensive and needs expertise. It requires a great deal of knowledge and skills to get a professional-quality outcome. Although it is not impossible to refinish hardwood floors yourself, keep in mind that a simple mishandling of a sander or any finishing equipment can screw up your hardwood flooring in the process. Anything can happen—from excessive finishing to uneven buffing or sanding, and everything in between—if you don’t have the skills and expertise needed to refinish hardwood floors.  


So, to avoid the slightest blunder, make sure to hire a professional hardwood floor refinishing contractor for the best results. If you need one today, don’t hesitate to connect with us. Schedule a free in-home consultation!