How Much Does It Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors?

by Team HomeServe
Rotary Sander on a New Hardwood Floor

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.

This May Also Interest You: Here's How to Clean Your Hardwood Floors for That Flawless Shine

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.

Cost to Have Hardwood Floors Professionally Refinished

According to data from HomeGuide, 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? Prices can be as low as $1.50 (CAD 2) per square foot and as high as $7 (CAD 9.50) per square foot, depending on a number of factors.

In terms of total price, professional jobs cost an average of $1,600 (CAD 2,180), with a typical range between $1,200 and $2,400 (CAD 1,635 and CAD 3,270) per job, though prices can also be much less, depending on the size of the room.

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.

If you decide to go with dustless refinishing, the cost could be $2 to $4 (CAD 2.75 and CAD 5.50) extra per square 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 of refinishing hardwood floors. Depending on what tools and materials you already have available, this will include:

  • Prepping the floor, sweeping and vacuuming: $0 to $180 (CAD 0 to CAD 245)
  • Furniture removal, sealing air vents and pulling up molding: $0 to $90 (CAD 0 to CAD 125)
  • Rough-sanding the floors: $75 to $130 (CAD 105 to CAD 175)
  • Edge-sanding corners and small areas: $37 to $46 (CAD 50 to CAD 63)
  • Cleaning and staining: $1 to $3 (CAD 1.36 to CAD 4) per square foot
  • Varnish: $30 to $90 (CAD 41 to CAD 123) per gallon

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.

Hardwood Floor Restoration Costs

If floor refinishing costs seem too daunting, you may be able to restore your floor for much less money. 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. 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.

Can You 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 $1.00 and $2.50 (CAD 1.40 and CAD 3.40) per square foot.

Products for Hardwood Floors

If a 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.

More Related Articles:

Labor Costs

If you're using a professional to help you refinish your hardwood floors, keep in mind that the cost of living in your area plays a significant role in determining the cost of labor.

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 afterward.

Professional Vs. DIY

You should take several factors into account when deciding whether to do this project yourself or pay a pro to do it for you. 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.

How Long Does It Take to Refinish Hardwood Floors?

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.

Once you’ve had your wood floors refinished, generally, you can walk on them between 24 and 48 hours afterward. 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.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.