How Much Does It Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors?
Hardwood Refinishing Costs at a Glance
- Average total price: $1,800
- Typical price range: $1,074-$2,481
- High-end total: $4,000
- DIY price range: $1,074+
- Price per square foot: 50 cents to $8
- Price per square foot for dustless refinishing: $5-$8
- Screen-and-recoat refinish, per square foot: $1.15-$2.25
Beautiful, durable and long-lasting, hardwood remains a popular choice for home flooring. And while multiple hacks exist to help extend the beauty of hardwood floors, sometimes there’s just no quick fix, and the only solution is to have them refinished. While you can do this work yourself once you understand the steps involved, knowing the costs associated with having hardwood floors refinished can help you decide whether DIY is worth your time.
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Read on to learn all about the cost of refinishing your hardwood floors.
Cost to Have Hardwood Floors Professionally Refinished
The average cost to refinish wood floors depends on a number of factors. Are you focusing only on a small space? Or do your wood floors cover a large area? Your location can also have a strong influence on the total cost. Prices can be as low as 50 cents per square foot and as high as $8 per square foot, depending on the location and preferred method.
In terms of total price, professional jobs cost an average of $1,800, with a typical range between $1,074 and $2,481 per job, though prices can also be much less — between $80 and $500 for a 12-foot by 14-foot room. For bigger spaces or more complex refinishing, the cost to refinish hardwood floors could be as much as $4,000.
Don’t forget to factor in small spaces, such as closets, which can add to the overall cost. Prices can also vary depending on your location and the condition of your floors.
The method makes a difference, too: There’s the traditional method, or there’s the dustless method. If you decide to go dustless, the cost could increase to between $5 and $8 per foot. With this method, advanced commercial vacuums are used to keep dust from spreading to other parts of your home. Whichever method you choose, the average cost to refinish wood floors generally includes labor and time involved, as well as the supplies needed, which can include various-sized sanders.
Cost of DIY Hardwood Floor Refinishing
If you decide you want to go the DIY route, you’ll want to understand the step-by-step cost to refinish hardwood floors. Depending on what tools and materials you already have available, this will include:
- Prepping the floor (sweeping, vacuuming), $0-$300
- Prepping the room (furniture removal, sealing air vents, pulling up molding), $0-$200
- Rough sanding the floors, $175-$2,700
- Edge sanding corners and small areas, $55+
- Buffing the floors, $749+
- Cleaning and staining, $50+
- Applying finish, $50+
Hardwood Floor Restoration
If floor refinishing costs seem too daunting, and your floor only has minor dings or scratches, you may be able to restore them, instead, for much less money. You can begin with a deep cleaning. By simply removing the dust and dirt, you may find your wood floors look as good as new. That’s because dirt does more than make the floor look dingy; it can leave behind scratches on your floor’s surface. Deep cleaning is a fairly simple, straightforward process.
- Sweep the floors with a soft-bristled brush and vacuum thoroughly.
- Apply a concentrated cleaner with a microfiber cloth, created specifically for wood floors.
- For a deeper clean, consider having your floors professionally cleaned.
Products for Hardwood Floors
If deep cleaning doesn’t make much of a difference, and you still see surface imperfections, there are special kits and products meant to help renew your wood floors. Here are a few of them:
Hardwood Floor Restorer
If you have old hardwood floors, consider trying a wood floor restorer product, which is meant to restore older floors that have been previously sealed.
Hardwood Floor Reviver
To help restore an existing polyurethane finish, try a hardwood floor reviver. Available in a high-gloss finish, it imparts a sheen that can last between three and six months. Working in a small section, use a painter’s pad attached to a long pole to spread the product across the floor.
Hardwood Floor Renewal Kit
Another method of restoring dull or scratched floors to their original shine is to use a product such as a wood and laminate floor renewal kit. For non-waxed floors, this kit can be used to help recreate your floor’s original shine.
Products meant to be applied to hardwood floors can be purchased at many home improvement stores, and you can always ask an associate there for assistance.
If you're using a professional to help you refinish your hardwood floors, keep in mind that your location plays a significant role in determining the cost of labor. You may want to consider using a wood refinishing calculator to help give you a better sense of actual cost for your area.
Labor costs will also depend on the condition of your floors. Wood floors with deep scratches that need a lot of TLC or that cover a wide area typically cost more to refinish. The method matters, as well. Keep in mind that while the dustless method costs more, it also can help you enjoy your new wood floors sooner because it doesn't take as long to complete. The collection of dust happens during sanding, so professionals spend less time cleaning up afterwards.
Professional Vs. DIY
Your decision whether to call a professional or go the DIY route should take several factors into account. When the condition of your floors is mostly a matter of dirt and grime, going the DIY route can certainly be worth the effort. However, if your wood floors need a full-scale refinishing, you may want to stop and think the DIY process through carefully. Given the complex, messy process — potentially pricey in its right — it may be a smart idea to call on the help of professionals who regularly refinish wood floors.
Here are some frequently asked questions about refinishing hardwood floors:
How long does refinishing floors take?
That depends a lot on which type of polyurethane is used: water or oil-based. Water-based types dry relatively quickly, usually within two days, though it may take longer for larger refinishing jobs. Oil-based polyurethane, on the other hand, typically takes twice as long, averaging three to four days.
Does refinishing floors produce a lot of dust?
No two ways about it, refinishing wood floors is a messy process. Typically, you can use a vacuum between rounds of sanding to pick up the dust. If you go with a professional who uses dustless sanding, they’ll often use a separator that hooks up to a vacuum and picks up dust during the sanding process. It can also help to tape plastic over all areas not being sanded that need protecting. But, even if you use plastic and opt for a dustless sanding process, there will still likely be some dust remaining.
When can the floors be walked on and furniture moved back?
Once you’ve had your wood floors refinished, generally you can walk on them between 24 and 48 hours afterwards. It’s not advisable to walk on newly refinished floors with bare feet or shoes. Stick to socks only for at least 48 hours. And although you can walk on them, it isn’t recommended to move your furniture back onto your newly refinished hardwood floors for at least four days.
How long will refinishing last?
If you regularly maintain your hardwood floors, you can expect the finish on them to last as long as seven to 10 years. You can also restore them to help brighten a dull finish, adding a coat of polyurethane and buffing it using a store-bought product, or by having a professional do it for you.
What's the difference between refinishing and restoring hardwood floors?
The main difference between refinishing and restoring hardwood floors is that the latter does not involve any sanding. Restoring, unlike refinishing, involves applying an additional coat of polyurethane to give your floors renewed sheen and protection. The process is a cosmetic one and, while it can help soften or remove minor scratches, it won’t repair deep gouges.
How much does it cost to refinish hardwood floors without sanding?
Also called a “screen and recoat,” this process involves applying an additional coat of polyurethane and buffing it to add shine and reduce the appearance of minor scratches. A screen-and-recoat job is less expensive than refinishing and costs between $1.15 and $2.25 per square foot.
Refinishing or restoring your wood floors can be a time-consuming and complex process. With a home repair plan from HomeServe, you’ll be better prepared for the many common repairs. Getting assistance is as easy as a phone call to the 24/7 repair hotline, once you’ve chosen the best plan for you.