I’m Thinking About Refinishing: What Is the Cost of Refinishing Hardwood Floors?

Hardwood is a timeless choice for your floors, combining a great appearance, durability and longevity. However, over the years wear and tear will begin to take its toll on the surface of your floor. If you’re beginning to notice the shine on your floor beginning to dull, or you can see scratches, scuffs, or other marks, it’s time to consider refinishing. As a basic rule of thumb, you should probably be refinishing once every 3–5 years.

Wood floor refinishing will leave your floors looking as good as new. However, the caveat is that it can only be done a limited number of times over the lifespan of your floor.

Cost of Refinishing Hardwood Floors

How Much Will My Refinishing Cost?

If you start asking around, you’ll find that wood floor refinishing runs from between $6–$10 per square foot. This is a wide range, and we’ll get into exactly what will land you on one side of it or the other. Typically, the entire refinishing process will run you from $2000 to $3000 and up depending on the size.

The cost for refinishing hardwood includes the skilled labour of a flooring contractor, the rental of specialized sanding tools, sandpaper, and new polyurethane varnish to be applied to your floors. It’s a good idea to check in with your contractor to make sure of exactly what they’re doing, and that any other chores such as moving furniture are included in the process.

Factors Affecting Cost

If you want to get an idea in advance of how much you’re likely to pay, here is a breakdown of the most important factors that will affect your cost.

  • Size: Typically, the larger the area you are refinishing, the cheaper cost per square foot you’ll receive from contractors. Small areas like bathrooms, closets, or other cramped spaces will increase your unit costs. Stair treads are also expensive.
  • Geometry: Large, open, spaces are the easiest to refinish. A large, open-concept home with many wood floors will probably have a low cost per square foot. If your home has many different rooms or an unusual layout, this will probably increase it.
  • State of Your Floors And Room: Most contractors will charge extra for preparation work like moving furniture, removing old nails from your floor, or other necessary preparation tasks. If you want to save some easy money on refinishing, keep prep work for your contractor to a minimum.

Refinishing Process

When it’s time to start refinishing, your contractor will first make sure that your floors are ready. This means that they should be totally clear of any furniture or debris, and any stray nails, screws, or other snags are removed.

First, the floor will be screened to remove whatever is left of the old polyurethane finish. Once this is done, sanding will begin. Your contractor will use a special sander, such as an upright or belt sander, that can easily remove the top layer of your floor. Once a new layer of raw, unfinished wood is visible, they’ll continue to sand until the surface is smooth. This deep sanding is why refinishing is such a powerful process. Even deep scratches that might have penetrated your original finish can be completely wiped out when you refinish.

Sanding your floor produces a large amount of dust, which will need to be removed before continuing the refinishing process. Once your floor is pristinely clean, your contractor will begin applying a new finish, usually in the form of polyurethane varnish. Usually, two coats are required, and it might take several hours before the floors are completely dry and your furniture can be returned.


Refinishing your floor will keep it looking its best and help to protect it from damage and everyday wear and tear. It’s best to perform this process at least once every three to five years, and even earlier if you notice heavy wear. Some people may find the prices quoted in this post to be expensive – and you might be wondering about DIY solutions. While some people do opt for DIY projects, we recommend that you hire a professional. Not only is refinishing a messy process, but your hardwood floor is an expensive investment that you want to protect. Nothing would be more annoying than having to hire a professional to fix your own DIY refinishing attempt!

Lastly, you may be unlucky enough to encounter problems too serious for refinishing to solve. This can happen if you inherit solid wood flooring when you take possession of a new property. These problems include warped or bent floorboards, gaps, very deep scratches, or other problems. If you notice any of these issues with your floor, simple refinishing isn’t enough to solve them. You’ll need to opt for a full hardwood restoration for your floors, which can be even more expensive than refinishing. However, it is usually still much cheaper than replacing your floor.

We hope that this simple guide has helped you understand the right time for hardwood floor refinishing and how much you should expect to pay. While refinishing can seem expensive, it’s worth it to keep your hardwood in top condition.

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