The cost of refinishing hardwood floors varies with each individual job, but there are some common price ranges that you can except your job to fall into. We share those ranges of costs on this page.
Also, nearly everyone who wants to refinish their hardwood floors at some point wonders if they should do the work themselves. We help you decide whether you should go that route, as well.
Benefits Of Refinishing Your Hardwood Floors (Refinishing vs. Replacing Hardwood Floors)
The cost of refinishing hardwood floors is always going to be lower than the cost of replacing those same hardwood floors. Simply put, that’s the core item when considering the benefits of refinishing your hardwood floors over replacing them — it’s significantly cheaper.
A full floor replacement is usually something people do only when their floors are so badly damaged or so worn (there comes a point when floors have been worn down too much to refinish) that refinishing can’t fix them. A good refinishing job can get your hardwood floors close to looking brand new, anyway.
The benefits of refinishing hardwood floors can be broken down into the benefits derived from the three main steps in the process:
- Sanding hardwood floors gets them back to smooth, even shape and remove irregularities.
- Staining hardwood floors gives them refreshed color or even a new color if that’s what you desire—either way, it adds new vitality to old floors.
- Finishing hardwood floors gives them a new protective coat and attractive sheen.
So, while weighing the cost of refinishing hardwood floors, keep in mind that there are few singular modifications you can make to your house that can improve it more significantly.
Factors That Determine the Cost of Refinishing Hardwood Floors
In exploring the cost of refinishing hardwood floors, we have two directions to go in. First is the cost of hiring a professional, and second is the cost of refinishing hardwood floors yourself.
In the next two sections we’ll explore those two broad options.
Cost of Hiring a Professional
Before we go any further, let’s reiterate that these costs can range widely from one area to the next. Some places are simply more expensive than others. Still, we do have a rough range to work in. That range is:
- If you need only minor work such as recoating hardwood floors without sanding, your costs can be as low as $1 to $2.50.
- If you need hardwood floors refinished completely, which includes a full sanding, professionals typically will charge about $1.50 to $7 per square foot.
- All told, the average cost of refinishing hardwood floors is between $1,075 to $2,500.
Cost of Refinishing Hardwood Floors Yourself
In this section, we’re going to discuss only the typical cost of refinishing hardwood floors yourself. We’re not going to include the extra costs that may come from having to fix any mistakes you may make, which is a distinct possibility.
We love the do-it-yourself spirit, but the truth is that refinishing hardwood floors is not easy work. The sanding alone often leaves people wishing they’d just hired someone else. Lay on top of that the possibility of an untrained amateur damaging their hardwood floors, perhaps catastrophically, and one seriously has to wonder if those savings are worth it.
For those brave souls determined to drive onward, here are some costs to expect:
- Drum sanders run from about $60 to $100 per day. Some places allow you to rent in smaller time chunks, such as four hours. While going that route, be realistic and know that even if you think a job will take four hours, it can take a lot more. (This is another area where professionals can help significantly because they have topline equipment and skills for sanding that will mitigate the amount of dust in your house.)
- Stains and sealants run between $125 and $250 for all that you’ll need. There are eco-friendly options in this category. They tend to be a little expensive or to have some functional limitations, but if being eco-friendly is a priority for you, know that eco-friendly options do exist.
Important: If you decide to do this work yourself, know that you first much ensure that the boards of your hardwood floors are thick enough. This is critical, because if they’ve been refinished too many times already, they can be too thin to be worked again. The cost of refinishing hardwood floors will be wasted if you try it on floors that are too thin, ruin them, and have to replace them completely anyway.
- An edging sander will run between $25 and $50. This tool is essential for sanding the corners, edges, and otherwise difficult to reach portions of hardwood floors.
- A handheld belt sander goes for $60 to $100.
- The sandpaper for the sanders costs about $60.
- Claw hammers cost around $25.
- Furniture movers typically cost between $70 and $400. This cost won’t be necessary for everyone, but remember that all the furniture will have to be re moved from the hardwood floors prior to sanding.
- Nail sets (for securing loose boards) run about $10.
- Mops go for about $10 to $20 (microfiber mop is more like $15 to $30).
- Trash bags for cleanup cost from $5 to $25.
- Shop vacuum for $70 to $170
- Safety equipment generally can’t be rented and will have to be purchased. Some items you’ll need to acquire:
- Knee pads at $10 a pair
- Work gloves at $10
- Safety goggles at $10
- Respirator at $30
Even at the low end, the cost of refinishing hardwood floors can seem overwhelming. That’s why many people consider doing it themselves, and some even end up doing so, but that doesn’t mean they’re happy that they did. Doing it yourself usually isn’t cheap, either, and with a professional you have peace of mind that it will be done right.
The benefits of refinishing your hardwood floors are significant. There are few home projects you can take on that will enhance your home more.