How much does it cost to refinish a hardwood floor?

Find out about the typical cost of refinishing a hardwood floor.
Refinishing can provide a cost-effective alternative to replacing a hardwood floor.This process removes dirt, signs of wear-and-tear, and other imperfections and can restore sheen to the surface of the hardwood.

Typical Hardwood Floor Refinishing Costs

  • Recoating cost: The cost for recoating, or screening, a hardwood floor is typically in the range of $1 to $2 per square foot.

  • Complete refinishing:An extensive refinishing project, which includes sanding and application of several layers of finish, ranges from $2 to $5 per square foot.

  • Vintage or high-end wood floor: The cost for refinishing a vintage or high-end hardwood floor is around $4 to $5 per square foot.

  • Oil-rub: Special oil is applied and rubbed into the wood. The oil bonds with the pulp and hardens. This gives the floor a matte finish that doesn't show scratches. $2.50 to $5 per square foot.
Note that darker stains can push the per-square-foot cost up a little. And some companies will charge a minimum of about $450, regardless of job size.
  • Do-it-yourself: The cost for items needed for do-it-yourself refinishing, including a commercial sander, buffer, and finish solution, typically range from $150 to $500.

Low-End Estimate for Hardwood Floor Refinishing

For recoating: About $1 per square foot.

High-End Estimate for Hardwood Floor Refinishing

Refinishing a vintage or high-end wood floor: About $5 per square foot.

What to Expect

  • Timing: Hardwood floor refinishing can take two to four days, depending on the size of the room.An oil rub generally takes one to two days.

    "It's almost easier to just plan this big construction job when they are on vacation," says Bob Rowley, president of Restor-It Flooring in Marietta, Ga. "That's what a lot of residents do. They just hand us over the keys and say, 'See you in 5 days.'"

  • Mess: Homeowners should know that, although flooring professionals can trap nearly all of the mess during a job, refinishing a floor is a major process and a lot of dust could be created. Homeowners also should know that some touch-up paint might need to be done after a floor is refinished. Flooring pros might be able to quote the painting job along with the refinishing, but that should be discussed during the quoting process.

Tips for Refinishing Hardwood Floors

  • To test the state of hardwood flooring, a water droplet can be applied and observed. If the water soaks in immediately, refinishing is recommended. If the water beads up or soaks in very slowly, recoating may be all that is necessary.

  • The chemicals involved in the refinishing process can have a very strong odor.Homeowners may need to stay in an alternate location while the process is underway.

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