How Much Does Hardwood Floor Refinishing Cost?

National Average Costs
? All cost data throughout this article are collected using the RSMeans construction materials database.
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$300 - $8000

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Updated On

April 16, 2024

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After years of heavy foot traffic, a hardwood floor will begin to show signs of wear, so you might be researching hardwood floor refinishing costs. Your hardwood floor’s color may have begun to fade in the kitchen, while there might be dings, scratches, and dents around the dining room table. Unfortunately, these marks can be unsightly, creating a dingy appearance in your home.

Luckily, refinishing hardwood floors is a great way to refresh them and restore them to their former glory. Our goal is to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date cost information possible. That’s why we pulled together hardwood floor finishing quotes, analyzed the data, and created cost estimations for you. This article explores the average costs associated with refinishing a hardwood floor and common factors that impact the price to help you as you prepare for this project.

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Highlights
  • Most homeowners pay around $2,000 to refinish hardwood floors.
  • Average project costs are highly dependent on square footage, refinishing type, wood type, and DIY versus professional.
  • Refinishing your floors as a DIY project is doable, but for most homeowners, the professional route is ideal.

Want to see a floor refinishing project in action? Check out the video below:


How Much Does Hardwood Floor Refinishing Cost?

The cost of refinishing hardwood floors depends on factors specific to your situation, including the size of the floor, the type of refinishing you plan to do, and whether you DIY the project or hire a professional.

On average, most homeowners pay around $2,000. However, some may pay as little as $300 for smaller projects or as much as $8,000 for massive projects. It all depends on factors specific to your situation.

LowAverageHigh
$300$2,000$8,000

How Do Hardwood Floor Refinishing Costs Differ By Wood Type?

Hardwood floors can feature various types of wood from bamboo to maple. The type of wood you have in your home can greatly impact the overall refinishing costs, as certain types of wood require more care and effort to complete the wood floor refinishing process, including repairs if needed.

Extra time and effort drive up the final total on your refinishing bill, so it’s important to consider wood type, especially if you’re choosing new floors. The table below outlines common refinishing costs based on specific wood types to help you gauge average project costs for your home.

Wood TypeCost per Square Foot
Bamboo$3 – $6
Cherry$3 – $5
Engineered wood$3 – $6
Mahogany$5 – $8
Maple$5 – $8
Oak$3 – $5
Pine$4 – $7

Bamboo

As a sustainable, more eco-friendly alternative to other types of wood floors, bamboo is another popular flooring option. Technically, bamboo isn’t wood — it’s a type of grass. Even still, it offers many of the same advantages as hardwood floors, including durability, beautiful looks, and versatility.

Bamboo can be tricky to work with, as certain types of bamboo don’t take stain well. This can drive up the overall cost, but on average, most homeowners pay between $3 and $6 per square foot to refinish their bamboo floors.

Cherry

Cherry is known for its trademark color — a rich, warm, and inviting hue that brightens a room. It features deep red tones, a subtle grain pattern, and impressive durability, making it a strong contender among wood species for hardwood floors.

If you want to stain cherry floors, you might have a tricky time achieving a smooth, even color. This wood is very dense and has a tight grain, so it takes some effort to work the stain into the wood. On average, it usually costs between $3 and $5 per square foot to refinish cherry floors.

Engineered Wood

Engineered wood floors aren’t made of solid wood like other hardwood floors. Instead, these floors feature mostly synthetic materials save for an ultra-thin layer of real wood atop the synthetic core.

Since the wood layer is so thin, refinishing engineered wood floors is risky, as you chance blazing through the wood layer and exposing the core. On average, it’ll cost you between $3 and $6 per square foot to refinish these floors if it’s doable.

Mahogany

As one of the hardest woods used for flooring, mahogany is an outstanding option. This hardwood far surpasses the hardness ratings of other woods including oak and pine. It offers exceptional durability, water resistance, and scratch resistance, so it’s an excellent choice for flooring.

While mahogany isn’t the hardest wood to refinish, it usually costs more to complete the task — $5 to $8 per square foot.

Maple

Maple boasts a stunning light natural finish, subtle grain pattern, and clean looks, making it a popular choice for many homeowners. It works beautifully in large, open spaces, particularly those with a contemporary design.

Unfortunately, the clean, sleek looks make maple hard to refinish. It can be tricky to achieve an even finish and smooth sanding, as every imperfection is put on display. Because of this, refinishing maple is usually pricier than other options at around $5 to $8 per square foot.

Oak

Oak floors can be made of different types of oak, including red oak and white oak. This type of wood is known for its beautiful natural colors, durability, density, and attractive grain patterns, making it a go-to pick for many homeowners.

Oak floors are easy to work with, so they feature one of the most affordable refinishing costs at $3 to $5 per square foot.

Pine

Although pine is a softwood and isn’t as durable as oak or maple, it’s a standard option for many wood floors. It’s affordable, decently durable, and easy to refinish, so its popularity makes sense.

Given the softness of pine, it can be more challenging to work with, especially when sanding. On average, refinishing a pine floor costs between $4 and $7 per square foot.

How Does the Refinishing Method Affect Hardwood Floor Refinishing Costs?

The method of refinishing you plan to do also contributes to the number on your project bill. Certain types of refinishing projects are pricier than others due to difficulty, material cost, and the time necessary to complete them.

The chart below reviews common costs based on specific refinishing processes.

Refinishing MethodAverage Cost
Buffing$1 – $2.50 per square foot
Recoating (for minor fixes)$1 – $2 per square foot
Oil-based topcoat$20 – $40 per gallon
Sanding$0.50 – $3 per square foot
Staining$1 – $3 per square foot
Water-based topcoat$25 – $50 per gallon
Wax finish$35 – $55 per gallon
Whitewashing$2 – $7 per square foot

Preparation

Thorough sanding is an essential part of the refinishing process. The length of time it can take will vary based on the thickness of the existing stain or sealant and the overall quality of the floor. To prep the floor for refinishing by sanding usually costs between $0.50 and $3 per square foot.

Adding Color

Once the floors are sanded and ready to go, you can add color to the mix by staining or whitewashing the wood to achieve a different result. If you decide to stain the wood, you will likely pay between $1 and $3 per square foot. Whitewashing the wood usually costs between $2 and $7 per square foot.

Finishing

When you’re done staining or whitewashing and the product has dried into the wood, it’s time to add the finish. Protecting hardwood floors with a topcoat is crucial, as wood is susceptible to damage from water, dings, and dents without it.

Oil-based topcoats usually cost between $20 and $40 per gallon, while water-based topcoats cost between $25 and $50 per gallon. Wax finishing is the costliest at $35 to $55 per gallon.

Final Touches

The final touches complete your floor and leave it with a smooth, beautiful finish. Buffing usually costs between $1 and $2.50 per square foot. If recoating is necessary a few years after your refinishing, you can expect to pay between $1 and $2 per square foot.

How Does the Project Size Impact Hardwood Floor Refinishing Costs?

The size of your project will play a vital role in determining the final cost of your wood flooring refinish. Whether you opt for sandless floor refinishing or another method, in general, smaller projects are more affordable than their larger counterparts, as bigger projects demand more time and effort to complete.

However, in some cases, prices for larger projects might be cheaper per square foot than those for smaller projects. The lower cost is usually doable for contractors as they already have their equipment set up, allowing them to offer a slightly lower cost per square foot.

The chart below outlines prices based on various space sizes to help you gauge how much it’ll cost to complete your project.

Project Area (in square feet)Average Cost Range
40  (4’ x 10’)$300 – $600
100 (10’ x 10’)$300 – $800
144 (12’ x 12’)$500 – $1,100
400 (20’ x 20’)$1,200 – $2,000
576 (24’ x 24′)$1,500 – $2,800
1,000$2,000 – $4,000
2,000$4,000 – $6,000
3,000$6,000 – $8,000
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Which Factors Impact Hardwood Floor Refinishing Cost Estimates?

Aside from the primary factors impacting the cost of refinishing a hardwood floor, it’s important to consider things like labor costs, your location, and the difficulty of the project.

Floor Condition

The condition of your hardwood floors is an important factor in the cost of refinishing them. For example, floors that need repairs, lots of sanding, and additional prep work will cost more to refinish than floors in good condition. Deep stains, water damage, bad scratches, warped boards, loose boards, and cracked planks are all conditions that substantially affect the cost.

The difficulty of the project ties into labor costs, driving up the overall cost of your project.

Labor

The labor necessary to complete your refinishing project is one of the biggest factors affecting your total cost. Most of the project is labor intensive, so amounts rack up quickly as your contractor works on sanding, staining, finishing, and buffing. If you have deep scratches (find out how to repair dog-scratched hardwood floors) and gouges in the top layer, it will take more time to complete the job. The longer the project takes, the more you’ll pay.

You can expect to pay between $60 and $160 per hour for floor refinishing labor, or between $2 and $8 per square foot.

Location

Your location can play a significant role in the final cost of your project. Some locations have a higher cost of living than others, leading to a higher overall cost to refinish wood floors. For example, if you live in a city with a higher cost of living, you’ll likely pay more for your project than someone with a similar project in an area with a lower cost of living.

3 Tips for Saving Money on Hardwood Floor Refinishing Costs

Refinishing hardwood floors can be a pricey venture, but luckily, there are a couple of ways to save on your project. Here are three tips to help you save money on your hardwood floor refinishing project.

Prep Well

Preparation can be a major factor contributing to labor costs associated with hiring a professional to refinish your floors. So, save yourself money by saving your contractor time. Prepare the area for the project by removing all furniture and items, sweeping debris, and mopping up mud or gunk as needed.

Some contractors will do this part for you, but it’ll add to the number on your final bill.

DIY the Project

Hiring a professional to complete your hardwood floor refinishing project can add a significant amount to the final cost. In most cases, labor amounts to 80% or more of the total project cost. By refinishing the floors yourself, you can save thousands of dollars.

Of course, this might not be an option for everyone, as refinishing floors can be tricky. 

Shop Around

If you decide to go the professional route, get quotes from a number of service providers. The first quote you get isn’t always your best bet. We recommend shopping around to obtain a few personalized quotes, as this will help ensure you get the best price for your project. Of course, cheaper isn’t always better, but the same goes for ultra-pricey services.

Once you get a few quotes, choose the option that best matches your budget and needs.

Professional vs. DIY Hardwood Floor Refinishing

If you want to cut costs and have experience refinishing hardwood floors, this project is DIY friendly. However, if you’ve never refinished hardwood or doubt your ability to produce a product you love, it’s best to hire a professional. Here’s what to know before making your choice.

Doing Hardwood Floor Refinishing Yourself

Refinishing your own hardwood floors is a doable process, albeit a time-consuming one. If your project is straightforward, requiring nothing more than basic sanding, staining, and sealing, you might be able to complete it on your own.

Of course, you’ll need to rent equipment to complete the project, including a floor sander (also known as a belt sander or drum sander). You’ll also need safety gear to protect yourself during staining and sealing, as fumes (like volatile organic compounds) from these floor finish products are often hazardous. While the rentals and tool costs can add up, you’ll still save on the project over hiring a professional.

However, if your project requires complex repairs, such as replacing rotted slats or addressing moisture damage, it’s best to leave the project to a professional. While some avid DIYers can tackle these projects, they usually require extensive know-how to achieve a smooth, polished finish.

Hiring a Professional for Hardwood Floor Refinishing

For many homeowners, hiring a professional for this home improvement project is the best option. By hiring a professional for a floor refinishing job, you can eliminate the headache of trying to do it yourself and help ensure your project is done safely. Working around your daily schedule, especially if you work frequently, can be a hassle, so hiring a professional is the logical option.

Plus, professionals are trained to handle complexities that may arise throughout the project, including water damage, mold, mildew, and board replacements. They may also have special equipment to perform dustless refinishing, which will keep your home clean during the process. So, if you’re even slightly unsure whether you can complete your hardwood floor refinishing project, we recommend consulting the pros.

Here’s how to find a hardwood flooring professional in your area:

  1. Research your options: Before you choose a professional, you’ll need to know your options. Do a quick internet search and talk to family and friends for recommendations.
  2. Choose top providers: Check online reviews on sites like Google, Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau to identify highly-rated providers and select the best-rated ones in the bunch.
  3. Get quotes: Contact your top picks to get a personalized estimate for your flooring project.
  4. Compare and contrast: Weigh your options using the estimates you receive from each provider. Choose the provider that best matches your needs.
  5. Schedule an appointment: Once you select a provider, set up an appointment to complete your hardwood floor refinishing project.
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So, Is Hardwood Floor Refinishing Worth the Cost?

Refinishing your hardwood floors can be an excellent way to breathe life into tired, sad-looking hardwood flooring. Sanding, staining, and resealing can work wonders, revitalizing your floors for a few more decades of use.

For most homeowners with hardwood floors, refinishing them is well worth the cost. Ultimately, it hinges on factors specific to your situation. Suppose you decide to move forward with the refinishing process. In that case, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $6,000, with the price highly dependent on the conditions of your floors, type of flooring, method of finish, square footage, your location, and any floor repairs required.

FAQs About Hardwood Floor Refinishing

Is it cheaper to refinish or replace hardwood floors?

For the most part, it’s cheaper to refinish your hardwood floors. However, if the entire floor is in terrible condition, tearing out the entire floor and starting from scratch might be the more logical option.


Does refinishing hardwood floors add value?

Refinishing your hardwood floors is an excellent way to add home value, especially if your current floors look worn out. You can even add value to your home before selling by refinishing your hardwood floors to mirror the more popular finishes in current design trends.


Is it worth refinishing hardwood floors yourself?

If you want to save money, refinishing your hardwood floors yourself is definitely worth it. However, if you’re short on time, you might be better off hiring a professional to complete the task.


How long does hardwood floor refinishing take?

The time it will take to refinish your hardwood floors depends on how much time you can devote to the project and how large the floor is. On average, it takes between two and five days to complete the project.


Editorial Contributors
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Jonathon Jachura

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Jonathon Jachura is a two-time homeowner with hands-on experience with HVAC, gutters, plumbing, lawn care, pest control, and other aspects of owning a home. He is passionate about home maintenance and finding the best services. His main goal is to educate others with crisp, concise descriptions that any homeowner can use. Jon uses his strong technical background to create engaging, easy-to-read, and informative guides. He does most of his home and lawn projects himself but hires professional companies for the “big things.” He knows what goes into finding the best service providers and contractors. Jon studied mechanical engineering at Purdue University in Indiana and worked in the HVAC industry for 12 years. Between his various home improvement projects, he enjoys the outdoors, a good cup of coffee, and spending time with his family.

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Roxanne Downer

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Roxanne Downer is a commerce editor at Today’s Homeowner, where she tackles everything from foundation repair to solar panel installation. She brings more than 15 years of writing and editing experience to bear in her meticulous approach to ensuring accurate, up-to-date, and engaging content. She’s previously edited for outlets including MSN, Architectural Digest, and Better Homes & Gardens. An alumna of the University of Pennsylvania, Roxanne is now an Oklahoma homeowner, DIY enthusiast, and the proud parent of a playful pug.

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