Here's How Much It Really Costs To Update Your Floors

Wood floor water damage repair cost

Wood floor water damage repair costs $10 to $80 per square foot. Costs depend on if contractors replace a section or the entire floor, subfloor, and joists. Common water-damage symptoms include buckling and warping of floors.

Repairing a water damaged floor can include:

  • Mold removal costs $15 to $30 per square foot.
  • The average cost to refinish hardwood floors is $2 to $6 per square foot.
  • Subfloor repair costs $35 to $80 per square foot for replacing small sections.
  • The cost to replace a subfloor is $500 to $2,100 for a 200- to 500-square-foot room.
  • The cost to replace floor joists is $2,000 to $10,000 per 200- to 500-square-foot room or $100 to $300 per joist.

Hardwood floor water cupping repair costs

Hardwood-floor cupping repair costs $2 to $6 per square foot for sanding and refinishing the area. Other fixes include drying out the floor and dehumidifying the area. Moisture or high humidity causes wood expansion that curls up the edges of the planks.

  • Finding leaksPlumbing repair costs $150 to $850 on average for detecting and fixing a leak.
  • Dehumidifying – Installing a whole-house dehumidifier costs $1,000 to $3,000 on average. Portable dehumidifiers cost $170 to $300 for the unit alone.

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Wood Floor Repair Cost by Method

There are various methods for repairing hardwood flooring, depending on the damage. Each method has an associated cost, ranging from $10 to $2,000. To repair small surface blemishes like scratches, use wood filler. For more extensive damage, such as rot, you may need the flooring replaced.

Type of RepairAverage Repair CostsFilling$10 - $15

Type of RepairAverage Repair Costs
Filling$10 – $15/per package
Polish$100 – $300
Patching$600 – $1,600
Refinishing$800 – $1,600
Replacing Floorboards$800 – $2,000
Resurfacing$1,200 – $2,000

Hardwood Floor Filling Cost

You can repair various blemishes, including scratches, chips, and gouges, with a wood filler. This can usually be done DIY. Purchase fillers at a home improvement store for $10 to $15 for a 16-ounce package. There are multiple filler types. Stainable wood fillers can be stained, meaning once the blemish is filled, you can stain over it to match the existing floor. Water-based fillers are specifically formulated for indoor use and can also be stained. Wood fillers are intended only for superficial issues. If the damage is severe, consult a professional flooring contractor.

Hardwood Floor Polishing Cost

The cost to polish hardwood floors ranges from $100 to $300. Hardwood floor polishing is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to even out imperfections and bring out the shine. The process normally involves clearing and cleaning the surface area, removing dust and dirt, and using a flat-head mop with a microfiber cleaning pad to apply the desired polish. Only use polish on hardwood floors that have been previously finished with a waterproof barrier like urethane. Floors that are finished with oil-based products require wax instead of a polish.

Hardwood Floor Patching Cost

The price for hardwood floor patching averages $600 to $1,600, depending on the cost of the wood. Hardwood floors need patching when cabinets or walls are moved, duct openings become obsolete, and pet stains become too deep. Patching is a complicated process because it involves carefully cutting into the existing floor, removing the damaged boards, measuring and cutting the replacement boards, and securing the patches. If the patches do not match your existing floor exactly, they need to be stained for an additional fee.

Hardwood Floor Refinishing Cost

Refinishing a 200 sq.ft. floor costs between $800 and $1,600, with most people paying around $1,200 to clean, stain, and apply a finish. Refinishing your hardwood floors brings them back to their original shape and shine. Most hardwood floor materials can be refinished four to five times before needing to be replaced. The process involves scuff-sanding down the surface beyond the current finish, removing any blemishes, and applying a color treatment and a top-coat finish, either a water-based or oil-based polyurethane.

Replacing Hardwood Floorboards Cost

The cost to replace hardwood floors averages $4 to $10 per sq.ft., including materials and labor. Expect to pay between $800 and $2,000 to replace a 200 sq.ft. area. For hardwood flooring with water damage, rot, or mildew, replacing the damaged areas or the entire floor is recommended to maintain cohesiveness. If your flooring is older and has already been sanded down multiple times, consider replacing it. Replacing hardwood flooring is almost always more expensive than refinishing it because there are additional costs, such as new wood, installation, and sometimes removing the old wood.

Resurface Hardwood Floors Cost

To resurface all the floorboards in a 200 sq.ft., room, expect to pay between $1,200 and $2,000. Resurfacing is for extensive damage and is more complex and expensive than refinishing. It requires removing the old floorboards, grinding down any uneven boards until they match the replacement boards, and reinforcing the new boards with nails. It may also require stain and polish to match the rest of the flooring.

Labor Costs

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.

Common Hardwood Issues and Repairs #

Most hardwood floor issues fall into one of the following categories:

  • Wear and Tear: Floors take a lot of abuse, especially if you have pets or children. Over time splits, cracks, and scratches can develop in the wood. Nails and wood putty can be used to address splits and cracks, while touch up kits should take care of minor scratches. Note, however, that boards with significant damage might need to be replaced altogether, while damage to multiple boards could be better addressed by hardwood floor refinishing.
  • Water/Humidity Damage: The principal enemy of wood is moisture. Serious moisture problems can lead to warped or sagging floors and seasonal fluctuations in humidity can cause gaps between planks as well as cupping. Although some moisture-related issues will self-correct as the weather changes, others might be the result of a humidity imbalance that will need to be addressed. Even once the problem has been dealt with, you may consider refinishing your floors to restore their original beauty.
  • Separation From the Subfloor: If your wood floors begin to buckle, it means they’ve detached from the subfloor beneath them. A number of issues could cause this to happen. A flooring expert should be called in to diagnose and fix the cause of the buckling.

4. Consider a Recoat Instead of a Refinish

One final option to save some money is to choose a recoat instead of a refinish. When you recoat your floor, it simply gets buffed with an abrasive pad and then recoated to restore the gloss and sheen. It does not get sanded down, though.

Translation: this is not the best choice if you have scratches, discoloration, or dings you want to fix. But if you just want to restore some shine to the floor, this option might work for you!

Questions to Ask About Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Asking a professional the right questions about floor refinishing can help minimize miscommunication, save money, and get the desired results. Here are some questions to ask about the cost to refinish hardwood floors.

  • Can you provide a list of references?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Does the estimate include the cost of moving furniture and cleaning?
  • How long will the refinishing take?
  • Do you offer a warranty?
  • Are you insured and bonded?
  • What are the payment plan options?
  • How will you protect my home from all the dust?
  • How soon can I walk on the floor after it’s refinished?
  • What kind of stain and coating is best for my flooring?
  • How do you handle damage that happens during the job?

Hardwood Floor Maintenance

Although hardwood floors are amazingly beautiful and durable, they are not indestructible. The best floor maintenance plan for hardwood floors include regular vacuuming or sweeping with a soft bristle broom, especially in high traffic areas. Removing dirt or grit from your floors will reduce scratches. Vacuums with rotary brush heads can also scratch your floors.

Wipe up spills promptly and use a specialized hardwood floor cleaner. Avoid using water, oils, and paste wax, as these build up a residue. Also, chlorine, silicon, or ammonia-based cleaners or full-strength vinegar can damage your varnished surfaces.

Keeping your pets groomed, particularly pedicures, will prevent scratching to your floor. Furniture movement causes scratches and grooves too. Always use felt under furniture legs, lift and carry, or use a dolly when moving furniture.

Other countermeasures can include covering your windows with UV-Ray protective films to prevent fading, periodically rearranging furniture to ensure your floors wear evenly and using a whole-house humidifier to maintain a consistent humidity and reduce wood shrinkage and floor buckling.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • DIY. There are some repairs you can do yourself. For light scratches, small dents, and cupping, there are easy and cost-efficient solutions like buffing out the top layer of the floor or using a dehumidifier. For more severe damage, such as deep gouges, water damage, and mildew, consult a professional flooring contractor.
  • Pet proofing. Hardwood floors are susceptible to scratches, dents, and gouges from dogs’ nails, especially those from larger dogs. While they are not guaranteed scratch-resistant, there are hardwood flooring options. The first option is a factory-finished wood sealed with multiple layers of aluminum oxide-urethane. The second is a distressed or hand-scraped wood, essentially hiding scratches and dents because it is designed to look rough. Wood materials with strong graining, such as red oak, can easily hide blemishes.
  • Furniture removal. Furniture removal is not usually included in the price to repair hardwood flooring. The cost to remove it depends on who you hire, how much furniture needs to be removed, and the furniture size. Prices increase if the furniture needs to be disassembled and reassembled. Costs range from $20 to $100 per furniture item.
  • Discounts. Hardwood floor repairs average $1 to $100 per sq.ft., depending on the damage. When repairing multiple areas, the price per square foot decreases as the area increases.
  • Difficult areas. If the damage is in a difficult-to-reach area, such as under heavy furniture or in a tight corner, it takes longer to fix. The equipment contractors use is typically large and not easy to maneuver in small or tight areas. Therefore, labor costs increase to $75 to $150 per hour from $50 to $100. Material costs are dependent on the damage type and extent but will likely be priced similar to the same price per square foot.

Sagging Floor Repair Cost

The cost of repairing a sagging floor is similar to leveling, because sagging is one of the common reasons why a floor is no longer level.

Sagging can occur as a result of water damage, rotting and destruction of the subfloor and/or floor joists, or even an issue with the foundation of the home. For minor issues involving just the subflooring, sagging can be an inexpensive DIY project.

Bigger problems mean a heftier price tag, depending on the source of the issue. If your floor is sagging and you’re wondering about the sagging floor repair cost, speak to a trusted contractor or structural engineer to first determine the source and extent of the issue.

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Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors: Do I Need to Refinish My Hardwood Floors?

Refinishing hardwood floors will eliminate scratches and gouges and reveal the natural warmth and beauty of the wood flooring. If there is water or UV damage to the flooring, a full refinish will restore the luster and shine. Here are some reasons to consider refinishing your hardwood floors.

Dents or Scratches Are Visible

If the flooring is scratched up in multiple areas and has seen better days, it’s time for a refinish. Sanding the floor to a smooth finish is the best way to get your hardwood floor looking like new. Deeper scratches may require some extra repair, and a professional will be able to ensure that the repairs blend seamlessly into the rest of the floor.

Refinishing your floors?Some jobs are better left to the pros. Get free, no-commitment estimates from licensed flooring contractors near you. Find local pros ++

Boards Are Turning Gray or Black

Even regular cleaning can cause water damage if the protective layer has worn off the hardwood flooring. Water-damaged hardwood flooring will turn gray or black if enough water has soaked into it. The darker the wood is, the more damage it has. Refinishing the floor before the damage gets too extensive will ensure the structural integrity of the flooring. Keep in mind that if the damage is widespread, some boards may need to be replaced.

The Colors Are Fading

Sunlight streaming across a radiant hardwood floor may look appealing, but damaging UV rays can take a toll. Hardwood flooring can fade and become discolored by sunlight. If you notice that your flooring is looking dull and faded, a refinish will help restore the wood’s natural color. Refinishing also allows you to alter the color if you’re not happy with the wood’s natural hue. For example, if you don’t like the reddish hue of cherry flooring, a different color of stain can make the flooring appear more neutral.

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Hiring a hardwood flooring repair contractor

Before hiring a floor repair contractor near you:

  • Get at least three in-person estimates.
  • Check for certifications from the NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association) or other woodworking credentials.
  • Look at their reviews on HomeGuide and Google.
  • Seek certified, insured, and bonded companies with 5+ years of experience.
  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before work begins.
  • Avoid companies with the cheapest quotes as quality may suffer.
  • Don’t make full payments upfront. Use a payment plan and keep receipts.

Questions to ask

  • Do you have experience repairing wood flooring?
  • Can you show me a list of references and past projects?
  • Do you provide free estimates?
  • Will you move furniture? If so, does that cost extra?
  • Are prep work and cleanup costs in this bid? What additional fees can I expect?
  • How should I prepare my home for this project?
  • Do you replace damaged floorboards? If so, what is the cost per board?
  • Can you use nontoxic solvents if I’m allergic to heavy chemicals?
  • Can you use a dustless-sanding method?
  • Will you fill gaps and bleach stains before refinishing the floor?
  • Do you water pop the floor to make it porous before staining?
  • Will you use commercial-grade stains?
  • Do you take humidity readings in between coats?
  • What waterproofing and sealant options do you have?
  • Do you handle the project yourself or use subcontractors?
  • How long will the project take?
  • Do you offer a warranty or guarantee?
  • Will you provide a signed copy of the agreement?

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+ 2 Sources

Craftsman National Estimator Cloud. (2021). HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO FIX SAGGING FLOORS? (2021).

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