Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors

Don’t let your remodeling budget go over-board by hidden surprises – understand what the average cost to refinish hardwood floors are in your zip code by using our easy to use calculator.

As an experienced licensed home improvement contractor, I know first hand what it should cost for various levels — from Basic, Better, and of course the best.

The cost to refinish hardwood floors estimator will provide you with up to date pricing for your area. Simply enter your zip code and the square footage, next click update and you will see a breakdown on what it should cost to refinish hardwood floors at your home.

*Note: 10’x10′ area is considered 100 square feet.

Refinish Hardwood Floors Costs Zip Code Square ft.
Basic Better Best
Refinish Hardwood Floors – Material Prices $130.00 – $160.00 $225.00 – $270.00 $300.00 – $350.00
Refinish Hardwood Floors – Labor Cost $275.00 – $335.00 $350.00 – $400.00 $425.00 – $450.00
Refinish Hardwood Floors – Total $405.00 – $495.00 $575.00 – $670.00 $725.00 – $800.00
Total average cost to refinish hardwood floors per square Foot $4.50 $6.22 $7.63

How much does it cost to refinish hardwood floor?

The total average cost to refinish hardwood floors for a typical dining room equaling 280 square ft. will run you: $4 to $7.50 per sq ft. depending on options and preparation work.

There isn’t a one-size fits all approach to home improvement, other factors have to taken into consideration when it comes down to costs, such as:

  1. Will carpeting need to be removed – ( Cost $.80 – $3.00 per sq to remove)
  2. Preparation: This involves removing any wall-hangings, furniture, covering HVAC vents, covering doorways for dust control, etc.
  3. The condition of your floor: A professional flooring contractor will be able to spot any imperfections your floor might have before sanding. They should also be able to test if your flooring is thick enough for a sand and refinish.
  4. Are there closets, tight spaces, radiators – these would require hand sanding and scraping.
  5. The number of finishes or coats applied
  6. Refinishing vs recoating
  7. Stairs

Additional Wood Floor Refinishing & Recoating Cost

Flooring Repairs

Most flooring repairs involve using wood filler to fill in the gaps in your flooring due to expansion and contraction caused from worn out finishes that exposes untreated flooring. This is normally included in the price and is the second stage of prep after sanding.

However, in some cases where you can’t simply use wood filler to repair a gap, your flooring contractor will need to replace the section of damaged boards and this will run you: $12 – $18.00 per lineal ft. for materials and installation.


Stairs have got to be the most time consuming part of the refinishing process. Why is that? First off, you can’t use any large sanding tools and most has to be done with hand scrapers and palm sanders. You need to be able to patiently and evenly remove existing finishes around balusters or spindles, and carefully sand the nosing of the stair tread.

Expect to pay: $30- $45.00 per step to refinish your stairs on average.

Hand sanding

Hand sanding takes place in areas where the floor sander can’t access due the depth of the space or obstruction in it’s way. For example, some linen closets don’t have enough depth to get a floor sander inside and require hand sanding. Also keep in mind, angle changes, radiators, baseboard heaters need to be hand sanded.

Expect to pay around $100 – $200.00 per room

Staining or recoating:

Staining or recoating with a clear-coat finish, carries similar labor and material costs. Staining basically takes the look of your existing floors and gives them either a lighter or darker finish. Whereas, installing a few coats of polyurethane can give you the appearance of natural wood and is what most seek in a finish — just be sure to have samples of low, semi, and high gloss to compare.

Expect to spend in the ballpark of: $4.50 – $7.50 per square foot on average to refinish wood flooring.

Average cost to refinish floors by room size

* The cost varies due to unforeseen costs such as having to replace a bad section of wood that was damaged from water, splitting, etc.. The price rises based on how many coats of poly you go with and if your flooring contractor uses a dustless system. The amount of “Jogs” or “angle” changes will increase the cost as well as the amount of hand sanded that is required.

Room Size Square Ft.
Labor cost Per Sq. Ft.
8′ x 10′ 80 $400 – $650
10′ x 12′ 120 $600 – $1,000
16′ x 16′ 160 $800 – $1,300
16′ x 24′ 384 $1,800 – $3,900
Whole house 1200 $4,900 – $7,700
Whole house 1500 $5,400 – $8,000
Whole house 2000 $6,700 – $9,200

DIY Hardwood floor refinishing or leave it to professionals?

There are pros and cons to both DIY and professional hardwood floor refinishing. Which is the right choice for you?

If you’re tempted to try DIY refinishing, be aware that it’s a challenging job. It can be difficult to get a smooth finish, and even harder to match the color of the wood exactly. If you’re not confident in your skills, it’s best to leave the job to a professional. On the other hand, professional refinishers may not be the best choice if you’re on a tight budget. The cost of hiring a professional can be significant, and you may end up with a finish that’s not quite what you wanted.

After the cost of tool rental and materials, DIY refinishing can be a more affordable option, especially if you have a lot of flooring to cover. However, if you make a costly mistake, the cost of fixing it could be even higher.

In the end, the best choice for you will depend on your skills, your budget, and your goals for the project. If you’re not sure which option is best for you, talk to a professional refinisher for advice.

Cost to screen or buff and recoat hardwood floors

The cost of screening, buffing, and re-capping hardwood floors is between $1.75 and $3.50 per square ft. Screening uses a fine buffing disc to remove the old finish without sanding the wood underneath. Recoating restores small scuffs and scratches on the surface while giving it a fresh glossy look. Deep scratches, stains, or color flaws cannot be removed by screening and recoating.

Sandless floor refinishing cost

The cost of sandless floor refinishing depends on the size and condition of the area to be refinished, but will run in the neighborhood of $1.75 and $3.75 per square ft. Sandless refinishing employs chemicals to remove the old finish, then a tinted finish that masks scuff marks and restores the wood’s color and sheen. Sandless techniques are ineffective for floors with scratches, stains, or damage.

Refinish Hardwood Floors – Pricing and Installation Cost Checklist

  • Expect the Refinish Hardwood Floors prices to fluctuate between various companies – each and every company have different operation expenses and over-head.
  • Try to get prices in late Fall, early winter – you should expect aggressive pricing discounts by waiting for a contractor’s down season.
  • Try to budget and additional 7-15% more on top of what our calculator gives out for Refinish Hardwood Floors cost.
  • Visit every supply house that sell your particular brand of refinishing flooring products and try to negotiate a better price with each supplier – I save on average 20%.
  • Refinish Hardwood Floors isn’t an easy task to perform and can leave you with a sore back. You might find it more cost effective to hire a Flooring Contractor, or a General Contractor to perform the work for you. Flooring contractors and General Contractors will most always get better prices on Refinishing products — saving your back any additional costs of Refinish Hardwood Floor materials, so shop around, ask your neighbors if they can recommend someone.

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Author S Krone

A lawyer never retires. So I would just say that I am not as active as I used to be. Now I simply dedicate myself to fishing, my hobby, and my grandchildren. For Business Finance News I write about legal aspects of mortgage policies, mostly regarding the rights of policyholders. I also have articles about personal injuries.

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