How Long Does It Take to Sand Hardwood Floors?

By Cezar

There are a number of reasons that you might need to sand your hardwood floors. The most common is refinishing your wood, but there are other reasons, such as removing paint, glue or even fixing the damage.

Many homeowners want to know how long the sanding process will take for their floors, especially if they’re trying to budget the time for a DIY project. The truth is, there are a number of factors that will determine how long it will take to have your floor sanded. This post will cover the sanding process, how to budget your time, and why it can be a great idea to call in the pros to handle your sanding needs.

Why The Sanding Process Takes Time

During the sanding process, the top surface of your hardwood floor is removed using a powerful electric sander, usually a drum sander. Depending on the condition of your floor, an initial, very abrasive sandpaper will be used for the first pass, with successively higher grits being used as your floor becomes smoother and smoother. Finally, usually, a special edge sander will be needed to complete the job, allowing you to sand down the portion of the floor near your wall or other obstacles.

A standard estimate is that a DIYer will need about 48 hours to sand down a room, while a professional will need one. That being said, let’s take a look at the factors that can affect how long the process takes.

  • Home Layout: The layout of your home and rooms makes a big difference in how long the sanding job will take. A large, open-concept main floor might be a one-day job for a professional, but a home divided into many small rooms, closets, and hallways will take longer.
  • Preparation Time: It’s wise to budget the time for preparing your floor into your estimates. A newer floor in pristine condition won’t need much preparation, but if your floor has loose nails or needs other preparation, this will definitely take longer.
  • Floor Condition: The condition of your floor will go a long way to determining the length of the job. If you’re just sanding to change the stain or remove some minor defects, you won’t have to budget for extra time. On the other hand, a floor covered in paint, carpet glue, or that is bumpy or uneven will definitely take longer.
  • Damage: A common reason for sanding and refinishing hardwood floors is to remove scrapes, dents, and other forms of damage that have penetrated into your wood floors. Small scratches or dents can be easily removed, but deep gouges or dents will require several layers of wood to be sanded off.

What Can Help To Speed Up The Work?

Before looking at some ways to make the process faster, it’s good to ask yourself – do I need sanding?

Sanding is required if you need to refinish your floor. However, you won’t always need to refinish. A screen and recoat can fix many of the problems that people often think they need sanding to address. If your floor is simply looking dull, scuffed, or suffering from some light scratches or streaks, it’s usually enough to remove the finish and replace it. This is much easier and quicker than full floor refinishing and doesn’t deplete the material of your floor.

If you do need to sand, here are some of our top tips for making the job go by more quickly:

  • Get The Right Tools: Making sure you have the right sanders is key to finishing as quickly as possible. Get the most powerful sander that you’re comfortable using, and make sure you have an alternative for any tight spots.
  • Prepare Ahead: Create a plan for moving furniture, managing dust and debris, and getting your floor ready for sanding by removing nails and other impediments.
  • Water-Based Finish: If you’re deciding between an oil or water-based finish, opt for water-based polyurethane. This is the fastest-drying finish product available, with each coat drying in just 24 hours.

Benefits Of Hiring Professionals

Hiring a pro is the best way to make your sanding go as smoothly as possible. Professionals are masters at using heavy-duty sanders and abrasive paper, and can sand your floor as quickly as possible without damage. Compared with a novice, a pro will usually finish sanding your floor 2-3 times as quickly. They usually have access to better equipment than you do, as well.

Keep in mind, time is money! When you’re calculating the extra cost of using a professional, make sure you keep in mind what you can get done with all of those extra hours.


If your house has a lot of hardwood flooring, sanding can be a big job – taking several days to complete properly. Even with good preparation, you should budget each room taking you 1-2 days to complete at the fastest. If this seems like too much time, it’s a good idea to start getting quotes from pros to tackle your sanding job as quickly as possible.