How Much Does It Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Typical Range:

$1,082 - $2,558

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 18,821 HomeAdvisor members. Embed this data

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  • Homeowners use HomeAdvisor to find pros for home projects.
  • When their projects are done, they fill out a short cost survey.
  • We compile the data and report costs back to you.

Updated November 9, 2022

Reviewed by Andy Kilborn, Expert Home Building and Remodeling Contributor.

Written by HomeAdvisor.

The price to refinish hardwood floors can range between $1,082 and $2,558, with an average cost of $1,820. The cost to refinish hardwood floors varies widely based on several factors, including materials, labor, finishing choice, your home size, and the type of hardwood flooring you have. You can expect your cost for refinishing wood floors to fall between $3 and $8 per square foot.

Average cost to refinish wood floors

“Refinishing hardwood floors is a good DIY if you have experience and the tools, but it’s best left to the professionals due to the risk of damaging your floors as well as the dust associated with a rental sander,” says Andy Kilborn, Angi Expert Review Board member and owner of Andy's Handyman Service in Des Moines, IA.

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National Average $1,820
Typical Range $1,082 - $2,558
Low End - High End $600 - $4,350

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 18,821 HomeAdvisor members.

Cost to Refinish Hardwood Flooring per Square Foot

With the average cost to refinish wood floors coming in at around $3 to $8 per square foot, the size of your space will serve as one of the most important factors in your cost estimate. Refinishing a smaller room is not as cost-effective as refinishing a larger area because flooring pros need to account for materials, transportation, shipping, and equipment costs. For example, the larger the project, the lower the price per square foot. Also, some companies offer discount rates for larger spaces to encourage larger jobs. 

If you’re looking to refinish your stairs or railings, you can expect the cost to refinish stairs to come in between $4.50 and $8 per square foot.

Room SizeSq. Ft.Average Cost Range to Refinish Hardwood Floors
4x1040$200 – $350
10x10100$300 – $500
12x12144$450 – $750
16x16256$800 – $1,300
20x20400$1,200 – $2,000
24x24576$1,750 – $2,900
Small house/apartment1000$3,000 – $5,000
Medium house2000$6,000 – $10,000
Large house3000$9,000 – $15,000

Hardwood Floor Refinishing Cost Breakdown

Your wooden floor refinishing cost will largely depend on the complexity of sanding, staining, finishing, and coating your floors. In addition, you may also need to repair any underlying structural issues, scratches, or stains. You’ll need to budget an extra $990, the average cost to repair hardwood floors. However, only some wood floors require sanding, staining, finishing, and coating. If your floors are in good shape but need a new topcoat, you may be able to skip the sanding and staining. 

Below, we show you step-by-step instructions on the prices for floor refinishing.

Sanding

Close-up of a man sanding a hardwood floor
Photo: kazantsevaov / Adobe Stock

The average cost to sand hardwood floors is between $0.50 and $3 per square foot. Sanding is the process of removing the top layer of wood and smoothing out any imperfections and blemishes in your hardwood flooring. To sand hardwood floors, you’ll need a large drum sander with sandpaper and a belt sander for the perimeter. 

Next, you'll need to run the sander across the floor several times. Make sure to change the sandpaper to a lighter finish once you've sanded most of the floor so you don't grind too deep into the hardwood.  

Finish up by vacuuming and cleaning the floor, prepping your hardwood floors for the next step.

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Staining

A man staining an oak parquet floor
Photo: karepa / Adobe Stock

The process adds between $1 and $3 per square foot to the final cost, broken down between labor and the cost of materials. Once sanded, you may want to skip staining your floors and apply a finishing coat directly over the untreated wood. Staining is only necessary if you want to change or reinvigorate the color of your floors. 

Like any other design choice, the stain comes down to aesthetics. The most popular options are oil- or water-based stains. And, much like painting a room, the per-gallon price range depends on type and quality, typically between $30 and $100 per gallon.

Finishing and Coating

Close-up of a roller coating a hardwood floor with water-based polyurethane
Photo: jovkovski1969 / Adobe Stock

Once your floors are sanded and stained, the final step is adding a long-lasting topcoat finish of oil- or water-based polyurethane. Recoating costs between $1 and $2 per square foot and ranges based on labor cost and the type of coating you choose (oil or water-based):

  • Oil-based topcoats cost around $20–$40 per gallon, add a slight amber hue to your floor, and take up to 10 hours to dry.

  • Water-based topcoats dry clear but cost a bit more at around $25–$50 per gallon and only take two to four hours to dry. 

You’ll coat your floors two or three times by applying a topcoat finish with a brush or roller. Topcoat finishes run the gamut from flat to high-gloss. You can also buff the final coat for added shine. 

Adding a topcoat of polyurethane finish protects your floor from future damage while providing that high-quality shine. Depending on the initial state of your floors, recoating is either the final step in the larger process or the only step you need. 

Hardwood Flooring Refinishing Cost Factors

The average cost to refinish hardwood floors depends on several factors, including materials, labor, moving furniture, dustless options, and the type of hardwood floors you currently have. In addition, you may want to consider refinishing other areas of your home at the same time to save on equipment and labor costs. For example, the cost to refinish a deck will run you an additional $3 to $6.80 per square foot. 

Materials

Flooring professionals will include the cost of tools and materials in their price, which is essential when weighing the pros and cons of refinishing your floors yourself. As we mention in our DIY section, DIY costs for renting a sander and gathering tools can cost upwards of $1,000

When working with a pro, material costs will only vary by the room size, the type of stain and topcoat you choose, and your local prices. 

Labor

The average cost for labor is between $2 and $8 per square foot or $60 to $160 per hour. Labor plays a significant role in the cost of refinishing hardwood floors. You can expect to pay as much as 80% of the overall project price. 

Be sure to get a few estimates to compare prices. The cost will come down to the following:

  • Labor prices where you live, with metropolitan areas and the Northeast corridor charging more for labor

  • The extent of the refinishing process

  • The size of the room (some pros offer bulk discounts)

  • Other factors affecting the project length (e.g., drying time, local humidity, type of wood)

Moving Furniture

Before starting your hardwood floor refinishing project, you’ll need to move all furniture, decor, and furnishings out of the room. If you don’t handle this task, you can expect companies to charge between $20 and $50 per room for this service. If you’re up for moving these items yourself, this will cut down on your final bill and the overall project timeline.

Traditional vs. Dustless

Choosing a dustless finishing technique will require higher-tech equipment, costing between $5 and $8 per square foot. Refinishing hardwood floors is a messy job that creates a lot of dust. With dustless refinishing, pros attach a vacuum to the sander, which collects and reroutes the dust as it sands. Consider dustless over traditional sanding if you have allergy sensitivities or breathing difficulties. 

Solid vs. Engineered Hardwood

Solid hardwood flooring has the same wood throughout, while engineered hardwood has a thin top layer of hardwood attached to a plywood base. While the price to refinish engineered floors is about the same at around $3 to $6 per square foot, it does take professional experience to pull off the delicate removal. This costs less than $3 to $25 per square foot, the cost to install new engineered hardwood floors. To avoid damaging the surface layer, leave engineered floor refinishing to the pros. 

In terms of prolonged refinishing, solid hardwood flooring can withstand several refinishes over its lifetime. In contrast, engineered hardwood floors can only take one or two refinishes before the lower layers are exposed. 

Type of Hardwood Flooring

No matter the type of wood you’re working with, the cost to sand and finish hardwood floors remains about the same, typically from about $3 to $8 per square foot. The price fluctuations come down to the unique needs of each wood or manufactured material. Flooring professionals may also have more experience with common materials such as oak. For example, these materials might cost less than the cost to refinish bamboo floors.

Hardwood Flooring TypeAverage Cost Range per Sq. Ft. to Refinish
Oak$3 – $5
Cherry wood$3 – $5
Parquet$3 – $5
Engineered hardwood$3 – $5
Pine$4 – $7
Maple$6 – $8
Mahogany$6 – $8
Bamboo$2 – $6

We list the different types of hardwood and the refinishing process for each below.

Oak

 A gray sofa in a room with oak hardwood floor
Photo: FotoHelin / Adobe Stock

Expect to pay between $3 and $5 per square foot for oak refinishing. Oak is one of the most common and durable hardwood flooring types. It’s easy to finish and can withstand a lot of foot traffic. Oak floors cost around $1,320 to $6,840 to install. 

Cherry Wood

Cherry wood refinishing costs between $3 and $5 per square foot. Cherry wood is also a common and durable type of hardwood with a smooth surface, making it easy to refinish. You can expect the color of this wood to deepen over time, so you'll want to factor that into your stain and finishing options. 

Parquet

Expect parquet floor sanding to cost between $3 and $5 per square foot. Parquet flooring requires specialty sanding due to the inconsistent grain, meaning the flooring runs in different directions. 

Engineered Hardwood

Expect to pay between $3 and $5 per square foot to refinish engineered hardwood. A professional should handle the specialty sanding of the thin top layer to ensure you don’t grind too deep into the flooring. If you DIY this project, you risk damaging the layers. 

Pine

Because pine flooring requires special care when sanding, you can expect to pay between $4 and $7 per square foot. Pine is a softer wood that’s more prone to dents and scratches. 

Maple

Because incorrectly staining maple can result in imperfections, expect to pay between $6 and $8 per square foot to have it refinished. Maple is more costly yet very durable, and it’s more difficult to stain. 

Mahogany

A spacious living room with mahogany floor
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

Expect to pay between $6 and $8 per square foot to refinish mahogany flooring. Mahogany requires slow, delicate sanding to avoid damaging its dark hue. 

Bamboo

Expect to pay between $2 and $6 per square foot to refinish bamboo floors. You must sand bamboo flooring at an angle in the first round to prevent splintering. Bamboo floors cost around $1,500 to $15,000 to install.

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Alternatives to Refinishing

Depending on the condition of your hardwood flooring, you may need to replace it entirely. It might be time for a total replacement if you notice extensive damage, such as water damage (gray or black spots), deep scratches or dents, extreme fading, warping, dullness, or board separation.

On the other hand, if your floors are in good condition, you may only need to screen, buff, or polish your hardwood flooring. 

Hardwood Refinishing vs. Replacement

cost to refinish vs replace hardwood

Original hardwood floors can last over a century when well-cared-for and properly finished. Refinishing your hardwood floors will also cost two to three times less than replacing them. 

The cost to install new hardwood flooring averages $6 to $12 per square foot, not to mention $1 to $13 per square foot to remove the original boards. For higher-end wood styles, you can expect to pay approximately $13 to $25 per square foot or more. 

The average cost to replace hardwood floors ranges between $2,500 and $6,800, depending on the type of wood, supply availability, and labor costs. You can, however, replace individual floorboards in the case of the following:

  • Water damage

  • Subflooring structural issues

  • Uneven boards

  • Extreme scratches, dings, and stains

  • Brittle wood that’s too thin to sand

Screening or Buffing

You can take a different route with slightly worn floorboards by cutting out the sanding and staining process. Screening (also called buffing) uses a thinner sanding disk to remove the thin topcoat of your floors without affecting the wood below. For this step, you’ll pay between $1 and $2.50 per square foot

Polishing

Polishing hardwood keeps your floors looking new between coats and refinishes. If you take the job on yourself—which is very doable—expect to pay between $20 and $50 per gallon for hardwood floor polish, about $20 for the sponge mop to spread the polish, and between $15 and $30 for the microfiber mop to finish it off. 

Signs You Should Refinish Your Hardwood Floors

If your hardwood floors look worse for wear, it may be time to refinish them. Here are the signs to look out for when deciding whether to refinish your hardwood floors:

  • Visible scratches

  • Structural issues

  • Stains from sunlight 

  • Water damage

  • Buckling

  • Inconsistent coloration 

  • Warping

  • Separation from the walls or crown molding

DIY Hardwood Refinishing vs. Hiring a Pro

Hiring a professional hardwood floor refinisher near youmay cost more than doing it yourself, but it’s often—if not always—worth the cost. Protecting the longevity of your hardwood floors is a long-term investment, and DIY refinishing can easily go wrong. Common mistakes include the following:

  • Sanding too deep into the wood

  • Scratching the wood with the edge of the sander

  • Oversanding engineered wood

  • Ignoring major repairs before finishing

  • Failing to remove the varnish before sanding 

Even if you hire a professional, you’ll still play a role in getting the refinishing process rolling. You’ll need to clear the room, assess the state of the hardwood floors, and collaborate with professionals about your ideal stain color and finished look. 

Also, the process can be a bit disruptive between the fumes and dust, so make a game plan to stay somewhere else if necessary. 

Questions to Ask a Wood Flooring Contractor

We recommend speaking to at least three flooring contractors to compare estimates and the team’s background. When chatting with potential pros, ask the following questions:

  • Do you have experience refinishing my specific type of flooring?

  • Do you have recommendations for protecting my floors?

  • Can you provide references and testimonials?

  • How long will the project take?

  • How many workers will be there on the team?

  • Do you offer a warranty or guarantee?

  • What are your safety and ventilation procedures?

  • What’s your payment schedule?

  • Are you licensed and insured?

  • Do you charge extra for the cost to move furniture or dispose of debris?

Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors Yourself

Between the sander, finishing materials, and all the necessary tools, DIY hardwood floor refinishing will run you between $500 and $1000. It’ll take a pro around five hours to refinish 100 square feetof space. If you DIY this project, you can expect to spend an entire weekend refinishing your flooring altogether. And if you live in a humid climate, your project can take much longer due to a long drying process, making your home inoperable.

If you DIY your hardwood floor refinishing project, here are the major expenses you can expect to incur:

  • Renting a drum sander: $50–$80 per day

  • Renting an edger: $35–$45 per day

  • Handheld belt sander: $60–$100

  • Polyurethane finish: $40–$100 per gallon (you’ll need 1 gallon per 300 sq. ft.)

  • Clear varnish: $170–$360

  • Stain: $20–$60 per gallon

  • Finish application brushes and rollers: $50

  • Painter’s rags: $13 for 5 lb.

  • Sandpaper for drum sander: $60

  • Claw hammer: $25

  • Nail set: $10–$15

  • Hand scraper: $35

  • Mop: $20

  • Microfiber mop: $15–$30

  • Trash bags: $25

  • Plastic sheeting: $12–$25 per roll

  • Tape: $5–$7 per roll

Safety equipment is a must when handling potent chemicals like finish and varnish, as well as when handling power sanders. These include the following:

  • Safety goggles: $10

  • Work gloves: $10

  • Respirator: $30–$70

  • Shop vacuum: $70–$170

  • Kneepads: $10 per pair

Still Have Questions About Hardwood Floor Refinishing?
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FAQs

How often should I refinish my hardwood floor?

Aim to refinish your hardwood floors every seven to 10 years, depending on the amount of wear and tear they receive. You can also refinish your floors after removing wall-to-wall carpeting or after significant disrepair from traffic, sun, or water damage. During your hardwood floor refinishing, you might also want to consider refinishing your stairs, with the cost to refinish your stairs running between $40 and $75 per step.

How long does it take to sand and refinish a hardwood floor?

It’ll take a pro about five hours to refinish 100 square feet of hardwood flooring. However, if you’re planning to DIY this project, you’ll need to set aside two to three days for the refinishing process—and up to a week if you need to add several layers of finish or make major repairs. Some finish coats take between 10 and 24 hours to dry properly without traffic.

Can I refinish a floor without sanding?

Sanding is crucial to refinishing a floor properly, but to see whether your floor can go without sanding, perform a spot-test on an inconspicuous, small area. Rub your hardwood with a sanding screen and apply a coat of polyurethane. If there's no residue after 24 hours, you can refinish your hardwood floors without sanding. However, you don't need to sand if you're recoating or polishing floors without underlying damage.

Does refinishing hardwood create a lot of dust?

Expect a fair amount of dust to accumulate during your hardwood refinishing project. Dustless vacuuming options help pull a lot of dust and debris out of the air, but there's no such thing as a dust-free sanding process, which is why you'll want to ensure all furniture and fixtures are out of the room. You'll also need to tape plastic drop cloths around the entire perimeter of your walls to keep dust out of vents and all surfaces.

How do you maintain hardwood floors?

The best way to maintain hardwood floors is to clean them regularly with a push broom and use a mop with a cloth pad. Only use cleaning products designated for hardwood floors. Otherwise, you could damage them by stripping the finish. To remove tough stains, take steel wool and mineral spirits and buff gently with wax. Finally, you’ll want to install window treatments to ensure sunlight doesn’t discolor your hardwood floors.