Hardwood flooring is visually appealing and durable. Hardwood material is unique in that the flooring can be refinished to look brand new even after showing significant signs of aging and wear.
But how exactly does revitalizing hardwood floors work, and how much does hardwood floor refinishing cost?
Cost To Refinish Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floor refinishing cost is anywhere between $2.90 and $7.70 per square foot. This means that refinishing an average sized 340 square foot living room will cost homeowners a total of $918 and $2,618.
Of course, the average cost differs based on the project’s complexity, labor availability in the area, and total square footage. For example, refinishing just one room costs more per square foot than refinishing an entire home.
Refinish or Replace?
While refinishing old hardwoods is less expensive overall, due to intensive labor involved, it might make sense for some homeowners to consider installing new hardwood floors instead. Typical cost to refinish hardwood is about $5.50 / sq. ft., while cost to install is about $3.50 / sq. ft., which is a $2.00 saving.
While you do need to also buy the material when installing new floors, some basic hardwoods like white oak, cost about $4-5 pre square foot. Therefore, for just $2-3 more you can get brand new floors.
If you have really worn-out, warped, beat up hardwood, it might just make sense to pay a little more (about 25% of the total) and get new floor instead of sinking funds into repairs.
Hardwood Floor Types And Refinishing Prices
There are several types of hardwood flooring used in American households, and they are all very similar in price when it comes to refinishing projects.
|Material||Refinishing Cost per Square Foot||Refinishing Cost Per 100 Square Feet||Refinishing Cost Per 1,000 Square Feet|
|Oak||$2.70 to $4.70||$270 to $470||$2,700 to $4,700|
|Bamboo||$1.70 to $5.70||$170 to $550||$1,700 to $5,500|
|Parquet||$2.70 to $4.70||$270 to $470||$2,700 to $4,700|
|Pine||$3.70 to $6.70||$370 to $670||$3,700 to $6,700|
|Mahogany||$5.70 to $7.70||$570 to $770||$5,700 to $7,700|
|Cherry||$2.70 to $4.70||$270 to $470||$2,700 to $4,700|
|Engineered Hardwood||$2.70 to $4.70||$270 to $470||$2,700 to $4,700|
|Maple||$5.70 to $7.70||$570 to $770||$5,700 to $7,700|
Refinishing an oak hardwood floor can run homeowners between $2.70 and $4.70 per square foot for a standard job.
The cost per square foot can be higher when using dustless sanders.
Refinishing bamboo hardwood floors costs $1.70 to $5.70 per square foot.
That may sound like a lot, but it’s cheaper than a new bamboo flooring installation, which can be double the cost.
A parquet floor can incur costs of $2.70 to $4.70 per square foot, which quite similar to oak and other popular types.
Note that hardwood floors less than 2mm in thickness can’t be sanded and refinished.
Pine flooring is slightly more expensive to refinish because it’s a softer wood.
Contractors must handle it with care to avoid denting and scratching. As such, the pine hardwood floor refinishing cost ranges between $3.70 and $6.70 per square foot.
A mahogany hardwood floor is a premium product. But there’s another reason why the mahogany hardwood floor refinishing cost is higher than other types of wood.
The sanding process for mahogany is complex since it must avoid ruining the dark wood color. Prices start from $5.70 and go up to $7.70 per square foot.
Cherry hardwood floors have midrange refinishing costs between $2.70 and $4.70 per square foot.
Although cherry wood is less commonly used, the refinishing process is similar to that of oak flooring. It’s easy to accomplish, and the results are amazing
Engineered Hardwood Floors
The engineered hardwood floor refinishing cost is between $2.70 and $4.70 per square foot.
But not all engineered floors can withstand refinishing. Due to the risks and various other conditions, a contractor might charge extra or refuse to refinish engineered floors.
Maple hardwood flooring is pretty much on par with mahogany regarding refinishing costs.
Maple flooring is tough and requires more effort to sand.
Maple flooring also takes longer to absorb stains.
Maple hardwood floor refinishing cost ranges between $5.70 and $7.70.
Did you know? Wood hardness can be measured using the Janka hardness test designed to measure resistance against wear and denting. This test is conducted on 2 x 6-inch samples that are at least 6mm thick.
Maple carries a 1,450 Janka hardness rating, which puts it well above oak and other wood flooring types.
How Much Does It Cost To Sand And Stain A Wood Floor?
Sanding and refinishing projects for hardwood floors typically cost about $2.70 to $7.70 per square foot.
This price includes labor and materials used to remove scratches, discoloration, and other imperfections.
Sanding the hardwood is a task that can range from $0.40 to $2.90 per square foot, depending on the tools used, floor materials, room size, etc.
Staining is slightly more expensive than sanding. It often costs between $0.70 and $2.70 per square foot.
The stain type, quality, labor prices, absorption rate, humidity, and other factors determine the cost.
Cost To Refinish Hardwood Floors 2,000 Square Feet
A large refinishing job for roughly 2,000 square feet of hardwood flooring can cost homeowners between $5,400 and $15,400.
Is It Cheaper To Refinish Hardwood Floors Or Replace?
Choosing between refinishing and replacing hardwood floors is a big decision for any homeowner. Fortunately, it’s also an easy decision.
Completely replacing hardwood floors can cost from $3.90 to $13.60 per square foot when factoring in materials and labor.
Besides, refinishing hardwood flooring is considered more environmentally friendly. Add to that the fact that some hardwood floors can be refinished up to 10 times, and forgoing replacement projects becomes an excellent decision.
But despite the obvious winner in cost, refinishing is not always an option.
Refinishing only makes sense if the hardwood floor is still thick enough and hasn’t sustained significant structural damage. Affected subflooring or extreme water damage can eat away at even the best hardwood floors.
Since refinishing hardwood floors doesn’t extend the flooring’s service life but rather restores its aesthetic appeal, sometimes replacing is the only option that makes sense.
In addition, once hardwood flooring reaches its limit of sanding and staining procedures, it’s best to replace it or leave it as is. Another refinishing job might ruin it completely.
Solid Hardwood vs. Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Another interesting topic is what flooring is best to use in a home.
Solid hardwood and engineered hardwood can look very similar in appearance. But the two varieties are quite different when it comes to durability, maintenance, and price.
Did you know? Engineered hardwood flooring comes in a hardwood finish but may feature multiple designs like veneer and print.
Solid hardwood flooring features a single type of wood. Engineered hardwood is the cheaper variety because it uses a thin layer of hardwood on top of affordable plywood or particleboard.
Due to these differences, engineered hardwood won’t resist the same refinishing intensity as solid hardwood. The thin hardwood layer must be carefully sanded to avoid wearing it too thin.
Solid hardwood is more expensive but can withstand up to five refinishing processes, depending on its thickness and material.
Engineered hardwood flooring can be sanded up to two times before the outer layer wears down completely.
Factors Affecting Hardwood Floor Refinishing Cost
Several factors determine the overall cost of a hardwood floor refinishing job.
Think of the floor size factor in terms of retail. Buying wholesale in bulk is cheaper than paying retail. The same principle applies to hardwood floor refinishing jobs.
Smaller surface areas can be more expensive to sand and stain than larger areas.
In addition, the equipment used to refinish hardwood flooring can be difficult to maneuver, especially in narrow or tight spaces. Therefore, it’s a good idea to postpone a refinishing project until more rooms in the house are ready to receive the treatment.
The labor cost is a significant variable when calculating a refinishing job. Some companies ask more for their services due to high demand in the area. Others charge more because labor costs are higher in the region or the entire state.
It’s also worth noting that some companies have higher labor costs because they bring more expertise to the table. That’s not to say that a bargain quote equals shoddy work, but many premium-priced hardwood floors refinishing experts are likely to do a better job.
There are many ways to refinish hardwood floors. You could stain, sand, refinish, screen, buff, recoat, and even repair hardwood floors. In some cases, parts of the flooring may need replacing.
Each of these factors contributes to the project complexity and the final quote for the job.
If you also want a professional cleanup afterward, that can add up to even more money.
Removing Furniture, Carpeting, and Furnishings
Here’s something you might hear from a hardwood floor refinishing company. Is the floor accessible or not?
Just because homes have hardwood floors doesn’t mean they’re always visible in their entirety. People sometimes use area rugs, have a lot of furniture, perhaps cover the floor with other flooring materials, etc.
The more work contractors must do to clear the room and work on the flooring, the higher the cost of the refinishing job.
Refinishing Hardwood Floors: DIY vs. Hiring A Professional
Refinishing hardwood floors on your own can be tempting. Many homeowners believe they can save a lot of money, and that’s worth spending more time to complete the job. But that’s not always the case.
A DIY hardwood floor refinishing job would require at least some basic power tools. Sure, manually sanding is always an option, but it takes too much elbow grease and time. You can probably rent some equipment from a hardware store for a couple hundred bucks. After that, you’ll need finish, stains, brushes, and other products.
Did you know? Oak engineered flooring is the most popular type of engineered flooring. But while red oak is arguably more stylish, white oak is more resilient and long-lasting.
While watching some tutorials will definitely help, inexperienced homeowners can easily mess up refinishing hardwood floors and shorten their durability and service life, not to mention ruin the visual appeal.
Professional hardwood floor refinishing jobs take five hours on average for every 100 square feet.
This is for a job that includes staining, sanding, and refinishing treatments. The speed is worth the extra money, especially in humid climates and during the winter.
Stains and finishes already take a long time to dry, so you’ll likely want a professional that moves quickly and efficiently. That way, the rooms won’t be inaccessible for days.
There’s one more reason to consider hiring professional contractors for hardwood floor refinishing projects. Many of them have insurance and offer warranties on the final outcome.
Homeowners who make mistakes when sanding or staining have to pay for those mistakes out of pocket.
Even homeowners with experience in refinishing hardwood flooring can make costly mistakes. And while refinishing with rented tools is inexpensive, conducting repairs is a different story. Choosing the right contractor means that the contractor and not the homeowner covers any accidents and mistakes.
There are many ways to save on refinishing costs, like starting a larger project, using midrange products, doing your own cleaning afterward, etc.
Traditional vs. Dustless Refinishing
Traditional hardwood floor refinishing creates a lot of dust and sends it flying everywhere. This creates a dangerous environment for any asthmatic and makes the clean-up significantly harder.
Dustless refinishing is accomplished with more advanced tools that can be connected to vacuums.
Coupling the sander with a vacuum hose minimizes the quantity of dust. It can cut the cleaning time significantly, keep the work area safer to breathe in, and reduce the likelihood of errors during staining.
The only downside is that it’s more expensive.
How To Prepare For Refinishing Hardwood Floors
There are a couple of things you can do before greenlighting a hardwood floor refinishing job. Remove furniture, rugs, appliances, and other objects from the room. The less the contractor has to move around, the cheaper the quote.
Get some protective particle masks. Even if you’re not sanding the floors yourself, plenty of dust can still make its way into other areas of the house.
Consider temporary lodging if you’re waiting on a long hardwood floor refinishing project. This can keep you safe from inhaling dust and toxic fumes from staining and finishing products.
If you want to save even more money, ask for a service that doesn’t include cleaning since you can do it yourself.
Questions To Ask About Refinishing Hardwood Floors
You may also want to get multiple hardwood floor refinishing quotes and ask plenty of questions. It’s essential to understand what each contractor can bring to the table.
- What experience do you have?
- Is there a warranty included?
- What services does the quote include?
- Is your company insured?
- Do you offer payment plans?
- How long will it take to finish?
- What products do you use for stains and finishes?
- Are damages covered?
- How do you manage dust?
- Can you share some references?
Did you know? Pre-finished hardwood flooring may last up to 50 years, and it can have a low carbon footprint production when made from locally-sourced woods.
How Long Does Refinishing Hardwood Floors Take?
Depending on the job’s complexity, refinishing 100 square feet of hardwood flooring can take between three and five hours.
It may go over five hours if the job includes moving furniture, removing old flooring, making repairs, and cleaning after completion.
How Much Does It Cost To Refinish 1,000 Square Feet Of Hardwood Flooring?
Refinishing 1,000 square feet of hardwood flooring can cost homeowners between $2,700 and $7,700 depending on the floor’s condition, material, and job complexity.
How Much Does It Cost To Refinish 500 Square Feet Of Hardwood Flooring?
Refinishing 500 square feet of hardwood floors costs from $1,350 to $3,850, depending on various factors.
Does Refinishing Floors Produce A Lot of Dust?
Refinishing hardwood floors can create and expel large quantities of dust when using traditional power tools and hand sanders.
However, the dust can be countered and even negated by using included vacuums with sanders that suck in the dust before they can expel it.
What Is the Best Way To Clean Hardwood Floors?
Specialized equipment or expensive cleaning products are unnecessary to clean hardwood floors.
A traditional mop and cloth pad are sufficient for regular hardwood floor cleaning.
Mineral spirits can be used to deal with hardwood floor stains in combination with steel wool.
Should I Refinish Or Replace My Hardwood Floor?
Installing new floors can be up to three times more expensive than hardwood floor refinishing cost.
That said, some types of hardwood flooring can not support refinishing.
In some cases, as with engineered hardwood flooring, the floors can be refinished only once or twice. Therefore, the decision depends on what type of flooring you have and how many times it has been refinished.
How Often Should I Refinish My Hardwood Floor?
Brand-new hardwood floors maintain their appeal for about 10 years when properly maintained.
Once the first hardwood floor refinishing job is complete, you can repeat the process every seven or 10 years, based on the signs of wear and damage.
What Are Some Signs I Need To Refinish My Hardwood Floors?
Refinishing hardwood flooring can help fix stains, warping, discoloration, splintering, and scratches. Therefore, these are all signs that a floor is in need of some form of refinishing.
Well Maintained Hardwood Flooring Can Last A Lifetime
All hardwood flooring differ when it comes to strength, aesthetic appeal, and longevity. But a quality hardwood floor can last a lifetime if properly maintained and expertly refinished a few times.
Unlike other flooring materials, hardwood flooring can easily outlive a home’s original owners and still look great.
Choosing hardwood flooring is an environmentally-conscious decision with long-term financial benefits and many other advantages.
Considering that wood floors may even improve indoor air quality and that each real hardwood floor has a unique look, it’s no wonder it’s a popular choice.
Of course, whether or not you should refinish your hardwood floor and when, comes down to specific circumstances.
Thinner or structurally damaged hardwood flooring might need replacing.
Some signs of wear on your hardwood floor may need light refinishing work, while others could require extra care.
Making a decision on whether to refinish your floor is a lot easier after contacting a professional contractor with years of experience refinishing different types of hardwood floors.