How Much Does It Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors?

How Much Does It Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors
by Tamara Rein - September 19, 2022

The price of refinishing hardwood floors is determined by a number of factors, including the state of the floors, the size of the area that needs to be refinished, and the location of the home in which the floors are located.

Refinishing hardwood floors can offer coziness and beauty to practically any house, regardless of whether you are moving into a home that needs some work or you are just seeking to freshen up the space you already have.

The cost to refinish hardwood floors will vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of wood, the size of the area you intend to refinish, the current state of your floors, and where you reside.

But even before you begin soliciting quotes for your job, you need to evaluate whether or not your floors actually require refinishing (which involves sanding off the present finish all the way down to the bare wood) or whether or not they should merely be "screened and recoated" (sprucing up an existing coat of polyurethane by lightly sanding the old finish and top-coating it).

Screen And Recoat

Anita Howard, chief executive officer and spokesperson for the National Wood Flooring Association, states that homeowners may never have to refinish their hardwood floors if they do routine maintenance.

As a protective coating, polyurethane is applied to many wood floors. This covering is worn away over time by normal use. Every few years, before the protective coat becomes too thin, a new coat must be applied. The flooring must be cleaned first. The finish layer is then abraded to provide something for the new finish to adhere to, and a fresh finish is then applied.

This method, also known as "pad and recoat," is considerably less expensive than comprehensive floor restoration, costing between $1,000 and $1,500 for 800 square feet.


If you decide to employ a professional to refinish your floors, you should begin by requesting referrals from friends and neighbors, followed by comparison shopping. Ask possible employees:

  • How much experience do you have?
  • Who will perform the work? The proprietor of the firm may be a salesperson but not a refinisher. Determine the qualifications of the employees who will be performing the task and inquire about their supervisors.
  • Can you offer references? In addition to speaking with these references, you should also visit companies or households where the contractor has performed work. Be aware of contractors that refuse to provide references from previous clients.
  • Who is accountable for moving big furnishings and appliances? How will you safeguard your built-in cabinets and shelves?
  • Who is responsible for cleanup and debris disposal at project completion?
  • How will the remainder of my home be protected from dust?
  • What are your payment terms, and to what extent do you guarantee your work?

This project's expenses will vary substantially based on the costs of materials, delivery, disposal, and labor. According to the vendor-neutral, online home resource Homewyse, the typical refinishing project in 2014 cost between $3.32 and $3.43 per square foot. This amounts to $2,656 to $2,960 for the refinishing of 800 square feet of hardwood flooring.

Note: If your flooring is constructed of cumaru, ipe, wenge, or any exotic wood, you will likely be charged extra. Some exotic woods are highly sensitive to variations in humidity, while others are so difficult to sand that they can burnish. In addition, the dust of many alien species is extremely toxic and must be handled with utmost caution.

DIY Refinishing

If you lack funds but possess time and talent, you may wish to refinish your own flooring. This is a dirty and time-consuming task. That being said, it is possible.

A drum sander will be required to complete the work. Because floor refinishing is not something you will frequently do, it makes more sense to rent this instrument than to purchase it. Numerous hardware and home improvement businesses hire these machines for around $60 per day or $120 for the weekend. Drum sanders are large, loud, and may gouge a floor in mere seconds if not handled properly; consult the personnel at the location where you rent the equipment for guidance and best practices.

A claw hammer ($25), a belt sander ($60 to $100), sandpaper for both sanders ($60), a shop vac for cleanup ($70 to $170), a nail set to countersink nails ($10), a paint roller, roller covers, and extension pole for applying varnish ($50), water-based polyurethane clear varnish (4 gallons will cover 800 square feet at a cost of $165 to $325), and painter's rags for dust

Self-refinishing 800 square feet of hardwood flooring would likely cost between $600 and $915 if you had to purchase all of the necessary tools and materials.

To learn more, visit our blog.

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