How Much Does it Cost to Sand and Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Floor refinishing cost overview

Variables like how damaged and old your flooring is will alter the scope and cost of your individual refinishing project. However, for planning purposes, it can help to have a ballpark range in mind so you can budget accordingly. We collected estimates from the web’s most trusted remodeling cost sites, which aggregate project quotes from actual homeowners across the U.S.:

Source: HomeAdvisor Average cost to refinish floors professionally: $1,750 Average cost refinish hardwood floors DIY: $500-$1,000 Average cost per square foot: $3-$8 Low and high-end refinishing range: $600-$4,000 Methodology: Over 16,000 self-reporting users collected HomeAdvisor’s cost data for refinishing hardwood floors.

Source: Thumbtack Average cost to refinish floors professionally: $1,500 Average cost per square foot: $3 Low and high-end refinishing range: $450-$4,939 Methodology: Thumbtack tracks and collects professional quotes for projects and used 200,000 professional quotes for refinishing projects in the past year.

Source: HomeGuide Average cost to refinish floors professionally: $1,550 Average cost refinish hardwood floors DIY: $900 Average cost per square foot: $3-$5 Low and high-end refinishing range: $540-$3,118 Methodology: HomeGuide tracks millions of user-submitted project estimates and correlates them with local professional estimates to deliver an accurate national average.

How long does it take to install 1000 sq ft of hardwood floor?

Typically, installation of hardwood floor takes anywhere from 1 to 3 days. The average job size ranges from 1000 to 5000 square feet. A two-person team of installers is typically able to complete 750 to 1000 square feet of flooring each day.1 jul. 2020


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.

Is it Cheaper to Refinish or Replace Hardwood Floors?

Drumroll please… the answer is that it’s cheaper to refinish your hardwood floors rather than to replace them! In fact, compared to the cost of new floors, the cost to refinish hardwood flooring is relatively low. Here are some more specifics.

The Cost of Refinishing Hardwood Floors vs. Buying New Floors

The cost to install new hardwood floors ranges from $12 to $20 per square foot (including labor and materials). Compare that to a $3 to $8 per square foot cost to refinish hardwood flooring and it’s easy to see that the second option is cheaper. 

How much should I pay to have my wood floors refinished?

Refinishing hardwood floors costs $1,759 on average with a typical range between $1,074 and $2,486. You can expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $8 per square foot. For large and complex jobs, you might spend up to $4,000. The more area you have, the lower the square foot price.

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.



Cost to Stain Hardwood Floors

Staining is often done before applying the final topcoat, but it’s not required in all hardwood refinishing projects. If you opt to stain your hardwood floors, it will add $1 to $3 per sq.ft. to the project cost. Staining is typically done if you want to achieve a different color from the original wood color. It needs to dry completely before applying the finish, which takes about a day.

Hardwood Floor Maintenance

You can take some steps to ensure your hardwood floors will last for longer and require less refinishing. One of the main things is using only professional wood floor cleaning products that are gentle to the material and won’t eat away the topcoat. Use a soft brush attachment for the vacuum cleaner that won’t scratch the surface of the floor. If something spills on the floor, make sure to wipe it away before it penetrates the floor and damages it or the subfloor. You can place protector legs on your furniture to avoid scratching the surface of the floor and minimize the direct exposure to sunlight that may fade away the wood color.

Compare prices from hardwood floor refinishing companies near me

Refinishing hardwood floors vs. replacing with new floors cost

Hardwood floor refinishing costs $2 to $6 per square foot on average, which is cheaper than the cost to install new hardwood floors at $6 to $15 per square foot.

Refinishing hardwood floors vs replacing new floor
Refinishing hardwood floors vs replacing new floors cost – chart

Consider the floor’s current condition when deciding whether to refinish or replace it:

  • Refinish floors with scratches, dings, discoloration, or slightly uneven areas.
  • Replace floors with water damage, noticeably warped planks, subflooring issues, or wood that is too thin to sand. Flooring installation costs $6 to $18 per square foot, depending on the material.
  • Refinishing may not completely eliminate pet urine stains or odors. Consider replacing the damaged planks or the entire floor; or refinishing and covering the floor with a dark wood stain.
  • Repairing hardwood floors costs $2 to $20 per square foot or $500 to $1,500 on average, depending on the type and extent of the damage.

Is it cheaper to refinish hardwood floors or install carpet?

Refinishing hardwood floors cost $2 to $6 per square foot on average, while carpet installation costs $2 to $8 per square foot. Refinishing the floors is typically cheaper than installing new carpet, depending on the wood flooring condition.

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How Do Professionals Refinish Hardwood Floors?

While refinishing hardwood floors isn’t an inherently difficult process, it is tedious, taking time and effort to get it right. So when considering how much it costs to refinish hardwood floors, most of what you’re paying for is a quality job done correctly. Below, we’ll take a look at the process used by refinishing professionals.

Refinishing Labor Costs

Refinishing a hardwood floor isn’t the easiest job as it requires a high level of expertise and precision. If you’re confident about your DIY skills and have worked with wooden floors or challenging projects before, the cost of refinishing your hardwood floor is essentially the cost of renting an industrial sander and the cost of the new stain or finish.

Yes, you can save money when you do it yourself, but most homeowners who lack the expertise will feel more comfortable hiring a professional to achieve a consistent and seamless appearance.

Hardwood floor refinishing cost calculator

Enter the wood floor’s length and width in the calculator below to estimate the cost of refinishing.

The following table shows the average cost of a typical hardwood flooring refinishing project.

Average cost to refinish hardwood floors - chart
Average cost to refinish hardwood floors – chart

Average cost to refinish hardwood floors
National average cost $1,600
Minimum cost $300
Maximum cost $8,000
Average range $1,200 to $2,400

*Based on 369 project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

8 Best Laundry Room Flooring Options ( 3 to Skip)

This post may contain references or links to products from one or more partners of our parent company and/or subsidiaries of our parent company. For more information, visit this page. May 5, 2022 Want to give your laundry room an upgrade and looking for the best laundry room flooring? You’re in the right place! Laundry rooms […]

DIY vs. Professional Refinishing

Refinishing hardwood can be undertaken by anyone with some experience handling power tools and performing DIY projects, but it’s wise to enter into the work with a full understanding of what’s involved. The machinery used to do the sanding can often be rented from your local hardware store, along with the purchase of sanding pads, for about $300 to $400 in total cost. You will also have to purchase stains, finish, and any brushes or sprayers that will be required to apply them.

Remember that it will take a professional about five hours total to refinish 100 square feet of flooring, so factor in the time commitment when deciding whether to do this project yourself. A DIYer, on the other hand, can expect to give up the better part of a weekend to do a good job when refinishing a floor. If you happen to live in a very humid climate, then the process of drying stains and finishes can take significantly longer. This may mean that the project stretches out over more days, making the rooms inaccessible for long periods of time while they dry.

How to Save Money on the Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors

The cost to refinish hardwood floors can be pricey, and the additional costs associated with the project can quickly add up. One way to save money on the cost of hardwood floor refinishing is to find the least expensive contractor, but there are other ways to save money without compromising quality.

  • Do the prep work. Clear all furniture and personal objects out of the room to save on labor costs. If the hardwood flooring is under carpeting, rip it out on your own. These options don’t take skill, but it involves time and effort on your part.
  • Get multiple estimates. Choosing the cheapest contractor may save some money, but you get what you pay for most times. Read reviews and ask questions to get the price that’s right for you and your home.
  • Take care of the cleaning. Many contractors will charge extra for cleaning up after the refinishing job. If you don’t mind cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, and mopping up after the project is completed, this is a good way to save some cash.


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.

Finishing and Coating Cost

Recoating will cost you $1-$2 per square foot, which is quite less than refinishing. A major benefit of recoating is that you can skip sanding, which can cost hundreds of dollars. Recoating is suitable for floors with minimal scratches and gouges. Expect to pay $20-$40 per gallon for an oil-based coating. Homeowners who use a water-based coating usually pay between $25 and $50per gallon.

Process Overview

Whether you try to refinish your hardwood floors yourself or have a professional contractor do it (often the better choice), the process will follow a logical sequence. There are four major labor parts of a hardwood refinishing project that need to be accounted for in any estimate.

Preparation: This involves getting the floor ready to be refinished and consists of repairing damaged areas, cleaning the floor thoroughly, and then ensuring that the surface is completely dry and free of dust and particles before proceeding. If the floor has deep stains, they may be treated individually before refinishing begins. Broken or missing boards will need to be replaced. Any protruding nail heads will be driven down below the surface of the wood. Most contractors will remove baseboard shoe moldings to allow sanding equipment to sand right up to the wall edges. The moldings are replaced after sanding and finishing are complete.

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Sanding: This is the process of grinding the wood flooring surface down to below the level where any blemishes or treatments have penetrated. This work is usually done with an upright, walk-behind power sander fitted with a sanding disc or screen. Edgework is generally done with an edging sander or belt sander. The sanding work usually takes several passes with progressively finer sandpaper. After sanding, the floor is thoroughly vacuumed and cleaned. Be aware that some deep scratches or gouges may not be removable by traditional sanding. Your floor will look much better, but it may not be quite as pristine as a new installation.

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Staining: Once the floor has been sanded down, it will resemble new untreated wood. Depending on the wood species, some people prefer to apply a surface finish directly over the bare wood. Or you can apply various dyes or stains to color the wood before applying a surface finish. Oil- or water-based wood stain is the standard material used for coloring, applied by rubbing it into the wood with cloths or staining pads.

Topcoating: The final step is to apply a tough, durable topcoat finish, usually a water- or oil-based polyurethane. The topcoat is applied with a brush and roller or finish pad, and it usually includes two or even three coats. Polyurethane finishes come in several different gloss finishes, from flat to high-sheen. The final coat may be buffed to increase its sheen and smoothness.

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Cost to refinish hardwood floors in Westchester

So, let’s start with the basics. 

How much does it cost to sand and refinish oak floors in Westchester?

Most refinishing companies in Westchester County will charge between $2 and $3.50 per square foot for basic sanding and refinishing of oak.  If it’s natural, it will be towards the lower side, and with a stain it will cost a bit more (often an extra .50 or so). 

It will generally cost an extra $.50-.80 for an extra coat of poly. This generally is not needed when you are doing natural as you generally have 3 coats of poly on there. But, for a stain, some places will do 2 coats, others will do 3 and others will give you choices. In general, for darker colors and for heavy traffic areas, especially the kitchen, entryway and often first floor, a 3rd coat of poly will help make things last longer.  I will often recommend that customers with busy households (e.g. kids, pets, etc,) that a 3rd coat is great for the 1st floor and is optional for the 2nd floor.

Water based polyurethane often costs a bit more (usually and extra .50 or so), but this can also vary based on which type of water based poly.   The best type of water based poly is Bona Traffic HD, and this may cost you an additional .75 or so.   That means it could cost you an additional +1.25 per square foot when you add in both of these. There are a few companies around Westchester (I won’t mention their names) that tend to use a cheap water based poly which is low grade.  So, if they aren’t charging you extra for water based poly, it’s most likely because they are using a cheap brand that won’t last very long.  Bona is a wonderful water based and if your company is using that, you are probably in good shape.   Here’s more info on water borne vs oil based polyurethane.

Cost of refinishing other species of wood – pine, maple – in Westchester County

Pine and maple are more challenging woods to refinish. First, they are just more challenging to sand (and you definitely want a high quality company that is familiar with these types of woods as they require different grits and different pressures to be applied.) And, you need to add a conditioner to them to open up the pores, if you are adding a stain. Pine is challenging because it’s soft; maple is challenging as it’s a bit harder and more challenging for the stain to penetrate – in fact, due to the wood itself, it will be blotchy. Most companies will charge a bit more for these types of woods.  In addition, some of the older pines have face nails which must be countersunk, prior to sanding.  Extra costs on this can vary, but may be in the range of .20 to $1.00/sf.  

Cost for refinishing parquet and herringbone floors in Westchester County

Parquet and herringbone floors are more challenging to sand and refinish as the wood goes in 2 directions (or sometimes more), so these floors need to be handled a bit more carefully.  Most sanding companies in Westchester will charge an extra .40-.80 for this work.

Cost for dustless sanding and refinishing in Westchester County

Some companies offer DUSTLESS sanding and refinishing.  Others don’t.  We offer both a standard and dustless option. It’s important to note that dustless is not 100% dustfree…nothing is.  But, it does take care of most of the dust.  You can read more about that dustless sanding here.

Cost for white wash and/or gray floors

It definitely costs extra to do a whitewash floor, or a gray floor which uses white wash.  On the one hand, it might cost an extra .25-.80 cents to add white wash.  However, it’s not quite that simple.  When you do a white wash or gray floor, you need to use water based poly, so that will definitely add to the cost.  And, because these floors are expensive and challenging to maintain, you often want to/need to add an extra coat of poly, as well as trade up to bone traffic.  So, the costs can definitely add up.

Other items that will cost extra when sanding

  • Stair treads – the cost can vary based on type of wood, whether it’s natural (less expensive) or stained (more expensive), type of poly and number of coats, but generally, this will cost  $25-$45 per stair tread.
  • Stair risers – generally, this will cost and extra $25-$40.
  • Banisters – most flooring places will not refinish banisters as it is a different process.  These will need to be hand sanded and this work is generally done by painters.  Often, the cost can be a bit steep because the process is rather involved.  It is labor intensive and takes several trip for the coats to dry.
  • Ripping up carpet – This can often be rather costly as there is a lot of labor involved.  Ripping up carpet is relatively simple, but ripping up the staples and the tack strips can be challenging.  Most places in Westchester will charge .80-$1.30 for this work, and if it needs to be hauled away, that will certainly add to the cost as there are dumping fees.  Generally, condos, co-ops, townhouses, etc. require that the carpet be hauled away.  Ripping up carpet on steps or runners will also cost extra.
  • Ripping up vinyl, laminate, parquet, tile, etc.  This can add to the cost as well and prices can vary based on type, area and also, there could be additional repair work, especially if there were nails into the wood underneath, and/or black tar that is left behind.  Usually, this black tar can be sanded off, but it takes extra time and extra sand paper.
Missing saddles or transitions:   These can easily be added if they are missing from doorways or closets or transitions to areas not being done (e.g. if there is tile in the kitchen or carpet in the bedroom and you want a smooth transition.  These might cost $30-50 per doorway, but can vary based on what’s needed and length of transition.
  • Repair work – this can vary based on size/scope of repair needed.  Sometimes this is needed because pieces are just damaged/have big hold; other times, this is due to pet damage or water stains (i.e. if the floor is dark/black); other times, it can be due to a wall or cabinet that was moved.  The larger the scope, the more for labor and materials.  When the wood needs to be woven in, this can be more intensive.  And, when it’s pine, it will often cost more both to get the wood and to mill it down to the proper width (often pine today is cut in different widths than it was 80 to 100 yrs ago).  Again, this is why it’s best to get a flooring specialist that does this sort of repair often.
Quarter round or shoe molding  – Sometimes, after you remove the carpet, there is a gap between the base molding and the floor.  You often can’t tell whether or not this is needed until after the carpet is ripped up.  If it does happen, this is a simple solve, but it can add to your cost due to material and labor, and these will need to be painted afterwards (although most likely your base molding needs to be repainted regardless of this.
  • Furniture move – This can vary greatly.  Some companies won’t move furniture at all; others will and the price will vary.  Generally, you will need to move all of the loose/breakable items prior to their arrival.  And, often, there is a separate trip charge to move the furniture back after the floors have properly dried (i.e. a few days later).

As you can see, there are many factors that can impact the cost. It’s generally helpful to consult with a professional flooring company to get real and accurate costs. Often, you can ask them to break it out in different ways (e.g. what if we only did these rooms? Or what is the cost for natural vs. stain or what is cost of oil based vs. water based poly, etc.)

Frequently Asked Questions

a Hardwood floor refinishing in Atlanta typically costs 50 percent less than replacing hardwood flooring in Atlanta. a No. When refinishing a floor, you will first have to remove layers of old finish, and prepare it for new finish by smoothing out the surface. a 5 hours/100 sq.ft.

Looking for a remodeling expert to sand and refinish your hardwood floor? Look no further than 1st Choice Remodel. We are a trusted remodeling expert in Atlanta. Over the years, we have helped several homeowners transform their house into a home they love. To consult a remodeling expert, call us at 678.640.2272.


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