Is It Time to Refinish Your Hardwood Floors? Here's How Much It Costs

Ginny Bartolone
Written by Ginny Bartolone
Updated October 20, 2021
Modern living room with hardwood floor
Photo: Photographee.eu / Adobe Stock

Refinishing your floors costs between $600 and $4,000

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We take great pride in a well-preserved, richly-hued hardwood floor to add a touch of classic coziness to our home. But while this floor favorite is both beautiful and sturdy, it can get scratched, warped, and faded over the years from typical wear and tear. 

When the time comes to fully refinish your floor, expect to pay an average of $1,800 depending on the size, shape, and style of your hardwood.

How Much Does It Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors per Square Foot?

Above all else, your final hardwood floor finish cost will likely come down to square footage. A smaller space will, naturally, mean a lower price tag in the long run. However, you may receive a more affordable per-square-foot quote for larger spaces—a bit like buying in bulk.

Overall, professional floor refinishers will charge anywhere from $3 to $8 per square foot. The cost jumps a bit to between $5 and $8 per square foot for the less-disruptive dustless refinishing method—a process that requires commercial vacuums. These numbers come from the combined cost of the job from start to finish, including sanding, staining, and finishing.

For example, sanding alone costs $0.50 to $3 per square foot, while staining adds $1 to $3 per square foot. The team will top everything off with a coat of finish, running you $1 to $2 per square foot.

On top of your square-foot base price, expect extra costs for factors like labor costs, overhead, travel, and specialty options such as buffing, dust-free refinishing, or a special coat for an older wood. 

Here are some general price ranges depending on the size of your space:

SizeCost
10-by-10 small bedroom$300 – $500
16-by-16 living room$800 – $1,300
24-by-24 open living space$1,750 – $2,900

How Much Does It Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors Near You?

The average cost to refinish floors may not look the same in a large city as it does in the countryside, but perhaps not in the way you expect. Regions with larger homes—and therefore more square footage—may see higher prices in the end than those with one-bedroom apartments in Manhattan. 

On the other hand, overhead costs are typically higher in big cities, as are the costs to maneuver through a tricky building with stairs, elevators, and oddly shaped spaces. Here are some examples of common price ranges to refinish hardwood floors across the country.

StateCost
Illinois$1,100 – $2,400
Ohio$1,100 – $2,300
Florida$1,330 – $2,800
New York$970 – $2,250
South Carolina$2,250 – $4,300
Texas$1,100 – $2,600

How Much of My Floors Can I Refinish on My Budget?

Let's say you have a whole home filled with elegant hardwood floors. If you're ready to have them all refinished, what kind of budget should you expect? Let's take a look at a few common projects and price ranges.

Less Than $300

You may not find refinishing prices this low, but the cost to polish hardwood floors can cost as low as $100 for small spaces, especially if you rent the polisher yourself.

$300 to $1,000

Refinishing small rooms like bedrooms, studio apartments, and small side rooms—think offices, small dining spaces—will likely fall in this range. Expect higher prices if your floors are made of pine, maple, or mahogany.

$1,000 to $2,500

As you'll notice from our state averages above, this is the most common price range for refinishing floors. This will cover most mid-sized spaces like dining and living rooms.

$2,500 and Up

Refinish an entire apartment or more than one room in your house once you go over $2,500. Some complex jobs, such as those involving stairs, can also reach this price range.

How Much Does It Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors Yourself?

Person refinishing hardwood floors of home
Photo: Digitalskillet1 / Adobe Stock

Tackling floor refinishing yourself is not recommended for those new to DIY home repairs. It may look a bit like painting a room at first glance, but the hardwood sanding process adds a complicated layer that requires a professional eye. Incorrect sanding or sanding too often could lead to having your hardwood floors replaced—a much costlier undertaking. It’s better to hire a flooring pro near you.

All this being said, you'll likely pay between $500 to $1,000 to refinish hardwood floors yourself after renting or purchasing all the necessary materials and equipment.

Here are some costs to keep in mind:

Tools and EquipmentCost
Sander rental$60 a day or $100 – $200 a week
Stain$27 – $40 a gallon
Varnish$165 – $360
Belt sander and other sanding materials$140
Edger rental$37 a day
Tools and painting equipment$125
Cleaning and safety tools$150

If you're feeling brave and confident enough to take on the project yourself, keep a few things in mind when refinishing your floors. For example, sanding may not be necessary, cutting down one of the trickiest parts of the process.

Hardwood Floor Cost Breakdown

Like most home renovation jobs, nailing down your specific price will depend on your unique home. When you receive a quote from your local floor team, expect the price tag to come down to the following factors:

  • Labor costs

  • Materials and equipment

  • Sanding costs

  • Staining costs

  • Coating and finishing costs

  • Additional repairs (water damage, board replacement, etc.)

How Much Do Other Types of Hardwood Refinishing Cost?

If the wood beneath your floor's finish is in great shape but has simply lost its luster, you may be able to skip the full refinishing process.

For example, screening and buffering take off the top layer of polyurethane but don't cut into the wood below. You'll see prices ranging from $1 to $2.50 per square foot.

You may also get away with a thorough polishing—a great DIY job without the risk of floor damage. Professionals will charge between $100 to $300, or you can take on the job for between $50 to $100.

How Much Does Refinishing the Floor Cost by Wood Style?

The variety of wood on your floors will affect the cost as well. Some wood styles are softer and therefore easier to dent such as pine. Harder woods like maple and mahogany require special skills to properly sand away ingrained imperfections. 

Oak and cherry wood, on the other hand, are the most commonly found materials, so you don't have to search as far to find pros familiar with how to handle it. Here's how they break down.

MaterialCost
Oak and cherry wood$3 – $5 per square foot
Pine$4 – $7 per square foot
Maple and mahogany$6 – $8 per square foot
Parquet and engineered wood$3 – $5 per square foot

What Factors Influence the Cost to Refinish a Floor?

Now that you have a better sense of the floor refinishing process, it's easier to wrap your head around the quote you'll receive from your local wood flooring refinishing professional. In addition to the size and shape of your room, damage that requires extra care or wood that calls for a special finish could affect the costs. A full list of cost factors include:

  • The size of the room

  • Complexity of the space and your home

  • State of the floor

  • Age of your flooring

  • Style of wood

  • Type of polyurethane

  • Where you live

FAQs About Refinishing Hardwood Floors

How often should I refinish my hardwood floors?

Professionals recommend refinishing your floors every 10 to 20 years depending on their condition. If your floors suffered effects of humidity, water damage, fading from the sun, or major scratches from furniture, bump up the date to ensure your floors are protected.

What is the best way to clean hardwood floors?

Between polishes and refinishing, properly cleaning your floors will lengthen the time between visits from the flooring team. For best results: Between polishes and refinishing, properly cleaning your floors will lengthen the time between visits from the flooring team. For best results:

  • Always choose the best cleaner for your specific type of finish

  • Avoid saturating your wood with too much water

  • Address stains before they set

  • Use gentle tools for stains and grit

What other projects should I do at the same time?

If you discovered damaged floorboards before starting the refinishing process, be sure to address these flooring repairs first. The polyurethane will not protect against ongoing water damage or structure issues.

Once the refinishing process is complete, your fresh new floors may spark your drive to make the rest of your home as clean and shiny. Make a home cleaning checklist to complete once the floors are dry. When returning furniture, drapes, and area rugs to the space, you'll want to make sure they come back as clean as possible.

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