Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to refinish hardwood floors?

$1.50 – $5 per square foot (without staining)
$2 – $7 per square foot (with staining)
$1,200 – $2,400 Average refinishing project

The average cost to refinish hardwood floors is $2 to $6 per square foot or $1,200 to $2,400. Refinishing hardwood stairs costs $25 to $85 per step. The cost to buff and recoat hardwood floors is $1.00 to $2.50 per square foot. DIY costs to redo and resurface wood floors yourself is $600 to $1,100.

Get free estimates from contractors near you or view our hardwood floor refinishing cost calculator below.

Reviewed and approved on April 19, 2021, by Tom Grupa and 6 expert hardwood floor refinishers on HomeGuide.

Cost to refinish hardwood floors

Professional hardwood floor refinishing costs $1.50 to $5.00 per square foot without staining. The average cost to sand, restain, and refinish wood floors is $2 to $7 per square foot. Refinishing hardwood stairs costs $25 to $85 per step. DIY costs to redo and resurface wood floors is $600 to $1,100.

Cost to refinish hardwood floors by room - chart
Cost to refinish hardwood floors by room - chart

Cost to refinish hardwood floors
Room size Square feet Average cost
4x10 40 $300 – $500
10x10 100 $400 – $600
12x12 144 $500 – $900
16x16 256 $700 – $1,500
20x20 400 $1,000 – $2,000
24x24 576 $1,200 – $2,800
Stairs (12 to 14 steps) -- $300 – $1,200
Whole house 1,000 $2,000 – $4,000
Whole house 1,500 $2,800 – $6,000
Whole house 2,000 $3,400 – $8,000

*The cost of labor increases for smaller spaces due to minimum job fees.

Hardwood floor refinishing in kitchen - before and after
Hardwood floor refinishing in kitchen - before and after

  • Wood refinishing jobs typically removes pet stains, water damage, scratches, dings, fading, sun damage, discoloration,
  • Polishing, buffing, and recoating cost less but only removes minor scuffs and scratches and adds a new sheen.
  • Hardwood floor refinishing is a time-consuming home improvement project and takes 2 to 6 days on average.
  • Hardwood floors should be refinished every 7 to 10 years, depending on thickness, species, and age.
  • Pine, bamboo, and parquet floors require special care while sanding or staining, but costs the same to refinish.

Hardwood floor refinishing cost calculator

Enter the wood floor's length and width in the calculator below to estimate the cost of refinishing.

Hardwood floor refinishing cost calculator
Width of the floor in feet
Length of the floor in feet

The following table shows the average cost of a typical hardwood flooring refinishing project.

Average cost to refinish hardwood floors - chart
Average cost to refinish hardwood floors - chart

Average cost to refinish hardwood floors
National average cost $1,600
Minimum cost $300
Maximum cost $8,000
Average range $1,200 to $2,400

*Based on 369 project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

Average cost to refinish hardwood floors

Hardwood floor refinishing costs depend on the square footage, layout, location, staining, finish type, number of coats of finish, and local labor costs. Moving furniture, removing wax build-up, removing carpet, or refinishing stairs increases the cost.

Hardwood floor refinishing costs by option - sand, stain, and finish vs. buff and recoat - chart
Hardwood floor refinishing costs by option - sand, stain, and finish vs. buff and recoat - chart

Hardwood floor refinishing costs by option
Option Cost per square foot
Sand and refinish $1.50 – $5.00
Sand, stain, and refinish $2.00 – $7.00
Screen, buff, and recoat $1.00 – $2.50
Find top-rated wood refinishing pros near you. View Pros

Common factors that increase the overall cost to redo wood floors include:

Additional costs to redo hardwood floors
Factor Additional cost
Dustless refinishing $2 – $4 per square foot
Additional coats of finish $0.50 – $1.75 per square foot
Moving furniture $20 – $50 per room
Removing wax build-up $100 – $200 per room
Carpet removal & disposal $0.25 – $1.00 per square foot
Refinishing stairs $25 – $85 per step
Wire-brush finish $2 – $5 per square foot

Cost to sand and refinish hardwood floors

Sanding and refinishing hardwood floors costs $1.50 to $5.00 per square foot for labor and materials. Sanding removes the old finish and the surface layer of the wood to eliminate scratches, dings, and discoloration. After sanding, contractors apply multiple coats of clear finish seal and protect the floor.

Hardwood floor finish types
Finish type Pros and cons
Water-based polyurethane
  • Low odor and low VOCs
  • Durable, smooth, and shiny finish
  • Comes in satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss
  • No yellowing
  • Each coat dries in 2 to 4 hours
Oil-based polyurethane
  • Stronger odor and higher VOCs
  • Durable and resists moisture
  • Comes in satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss
  • May yellow over time
  • Each coat dries in 8 to 10 hours
Wax finish
  • Little odor and low VOCs
  • Not as durable but easy to touch up
  • Low sheen varnish
  • Yellows or darkens over time
  • Requires multiple coats but dries within a few hours
Acid-cured / Swedish finish
  • Strong odor and very high VOCs
  • Extremely durable
  • Best varnish for exotic wood or parquet floors
  • Difficult to touch up
  • Requires relocating for several days to air out home

Engineered hardwood flooring living room after refinishing process
Engineered hardwood flooring living room after refinishing process

Cost to stain or restain hardwood floors

Restaining hardwood floors costs $0.50 to $2.00 per square foot alone. Sanding, staining, and refinishing wood floors costs $2 to $7 per square foot total. Staining is only necessary to change the wood color. Staining requires sanding first, applying two coats of stain, then adding a clear finish.

Check with the contractor to confirm the wood will absorb the stain evenly. Not all hardwood species are suitable for staining.

Wood floor refinishing in bedroom - before and after
Wood floor refinishing in bedroom - before and after

Cost to whitewash hardwood floors

Whitewashing hardwood floors costs $2 to $7 per square foot and requires sanding to remove the old finish and then applying a light wash and clear polyurethane topcoat instead of a darker stain. Whitewashing is also known as pickling.

Never use paint to whitewash a floor. Paint will seep through the cracks between the planks and prevents the polyurethane sealer from adhering to the wood.

Cost to refinish hardwood stairs

Refinishing hardwood stairs costs $25 to $85 per step, depending on the stairway style and if the treads and risers are refinished. Stairways with spindles take longer to sand and are priced at the higher end of the range.

Cost to rip up carpet and refinish hardwood floors

Carpet removal and disposal costs $0.25 to $1.00 per square foot alone, plus $2 to $7 per square foot for hardwood floor refinishing. Removing carpet from stairs adds $7 to $10 per step.

Hardwood floor restoration cost by location

Prices to refinish hardwood floors are higher than the national average in major cities or areas with a high cost of living.

Hardwood floor restoration cost by location
City, State Cost per square foot
Atlanta, GA $2.25 – $6.75
Austin, TX $2.25 – $6.75
Boston, MA $2.75 – $8.25
Chicago, IL $2.30 – $6.90
Denver, CO $2.20 – $6.50
Detroit, MI $2.15 – $6.40
Houston, TX $2.50 – $7.60
Los Angeles, CA $2.20 – $6.50
Miami, FL $2.00 – $6.10
Minneapolis, MN $2.25 – $6.80
Nashville, TN $2.00 – $6.10
New York, NY $2.60 – $7.90
Newark, NJ $2.25 – $6.70
Philadelphia, PA $2.25 – $6.70
Phoenix, AZ $2.10 – $6.20
Pittsburgh, PA $2.15 – $6.40
Portland, OR $2.20 – $6.60
San Diego, CA $2.20 – $6.50
San Francisco, CA $2.55 – $7.60
Seattle, WA $2.25 – $6.70
Washington, D.C. $2.25 – $6.75
Get free estimates from floor refinishing professionals near you. View Pros

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Cost to resurface or redo hardwood floors

Alternative methods to redo hardwood floors are typically cheaper, but do not remove deep scratches, stains, or discoloration.

Hardwood floor polishing cost

The average cost to polish hardwood floors is $40 to $80 for supplies, plus $50 to $80 per hour to hire a local handyman. Floor polishing is an easy DIY project that restores the wood's sheen without sanding but will not remove scratches or discoloration.

  • Liquid polish costs $12 to $20 to cover 500 square feet and works best on floors sealed with polyurethane.
  • A sponge mop to spread the polish costs $10 to $30.
  • Flathead microfiber dust mops cost $15 to $30.

Cost to screen or buff and recoat hardwood floors

The cost to screen, buff, and recoat hardwood floors is $1.00 to $2.50 per square foot. Screening uses a thin buffing disc to remove the old finish without sanding the wood beneath. Recoating removes minor scuffs and scratches on the surface and adds a new sheen to dull floors.

Screening and recoating will not get rid of deep scratches, stains, or discoloration.

Hardwood floor refinishing vs. recoating
Floor condition Refinish Recoat
Scuffs and scratches that only penetrate the finish No Yes
Deep scratches that penetrate the wood Yes No
Stains, gray patches, or UV discoloration Yes No
Floors with non-waxed polyurethane finish Yes Yes
Floors with wax finish Yes No
Want to change the wood color Yes No
Screening only works on floors with a non-waxed polyurethane finish. Waxed floors must be sanded and refinished instead of screened.

Sandless floor refinishing cost

Sandless floor refinishing costs $1.50 to $4.00 per square foot. Sandless refinishing uses chemicals to etch the old finish off, followed by a tinted finish that hides scuff marks and restores the wood's color and sheen. Sandless methods are not effective for floors with scratches, stains, or damage.

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Cost to refinish wood floors by type

Refinishing wood floors costs $1,200 to $2,400 for the average home, regardless of wood type. Hardwoods such as pine, bamboo, and parquet require special care while sanding or staining, but the total cost is the same to refinish.

Cost to refinish engineered hardwood

Refinishing engineered hardwood floors costs $2 to $6 per square foot on average. Engineered flooring features a base layer with a solid hardwood wear layer on top. Engineered floors may be sanded and refinished 1 to 5 times, depending on the wear layer's thickness.

Refinishing engineered hardwood floors
Wear layer thickness Can you refinish? How many times?
Less than 2 mm thick No 0
2 mm thick Yes 1
3 mm to 4 mm thick Yes 2 – 3
5 mm to 6 mm thick Yes 3 – 5
Acrylic impregnated No 0
  • Wear layers less than 2 mm thick should not be sanded.
  • Engineered hardwood with acrylic impregnated wear layers cannot be sanded and refinished but may be screened and recoated instead.
Compare quotes to restore your hardwood floors. View Pros

Cost to refinish oak or pine floors

Refinishing oak, cherry, or pine floors costs $1.50 to $5.00 per square foot without staining or $2 to $7 per square foot with staining. Oak is the most common hardwood for flooring. Pine is softer than oak and requires extra care when sanding to prevent grooves or chatter marks in the wood.

Cost to refinish parquet floors

Refinishing parquet floors costs $2 to $6 per square foot, depending on the type of refinishing and if any repairs are needed. Sanding parquet floors requires special care from a professional because the wood grain runs in several directions.

Cost to refinish bamboo floors

Refinishing bamboo floors cost $2 to $6 per square foot, which is cheaper than the cost to install new bamboo flooring at $5 to $10 per square foot. Solid and engineered bamboo floors may be sanded and refinished if the veneer layer is at least 2 mm thick.

Bamboo flooring should be sanded at an angle to the grain on the first pass to reduce the chance of raising splinters.

Can you refinish Bruce hardwood floors?

Bruce hardwood floors may be professionally sanded and refinished 1 to 3 times, depending on the type and thickness. DIY sanding voids the warranty.

Can you refinish Pergo or laminate floors?

Pergo and laminate floors cannot be sanded, refinished, or screened and recoated like solid hardwood. Laminate floors feature a top layer of veneer that is too thin for sanding.

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Refinishing hardwood floors vs. replacing with new floors cost

Hardwood floor refinishing costs $2 to $6 per square foot on average, which is cheaper than the cost to install new hardwood floors at $6 to $15 per square foot.

Refinishing hardwood floors vs replacing new floors cost - chart
Refinishing hardwood floors vs replacing new floors cost - chart

Consider the floor's current condition when deciding whether to refinish or replace it:

  • Refinish floors with scratches, dings, discoloration, or slightly uneven areas.
  • Replace floors with water damage, noticeably warped planks, subflooring issues, or wood that is too thin to sand. Flooring installation costs $6 to $18 per square foot, depending on the material.
  • Refinishing may not completely eliminate pet urine stains or odors. Consider replacing the damaged planks or the entire floor; or refinishing and covering the floor with a dark wood stain.
  • Repairing hardwood floors costs $2 to $30 per square foot or $400 to $1,200 on average, depending on the type and extent of the damage.

Is it cheaper to refinish hardwood floors or install carpet?

Refinishing hardwood floors cost $2 to $6 per square foot on average, while carpet installation costs $2 to $8 per square foot. Refinishing the floors is typically cheaper than installing new carpet, depending on the wood flooring condition.

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Cost to refinish hardwood floors DIY

DIY hardwood floor refinishing costs $600 to $1,100 for equipment rental and supplies. Refinishing floors yourself without experience can easily ruin hardwood floors. Sanding incorrectly may cause uneven floors or deep gouges in the wood, requiring the replacement of individual planks or the entire floor.

DIY cost to refinish hardwood floors yourself - chart
DIY cost to refinish hardwood floors yourself - chart

Costs to refinish hardwood floors yourself
Tool or material Average cost
Floor sander rental $60 – $70 per day
Edger rental $37 – $46 per day
Belt sander rental $16 – $26 per day
Sandpaper for both sanders $30 – $60
Knee pads $10 – $20
Respirator $30 – $70
Safety goggles $5 – $20
Mop $10 – $30
Shop vacuum $40 – $180
Plastic sheeting $12 – $25 per roll
Tape $4 – $7 per roll
Wood filler $5 – $15
Hand scraper $20 – $35
Claw hammer $20 – $30
Nail set $6 – $15
Molding pry bar $10 – $20
Paintbrush $4 – $7
Painter's rags $8 – $15
Stain $20 – $60 per gallon
Clear varnish $30 – $90 per gallon
Paint roller frame, roller covers, and extension pole for varnish application $30 – $60
Trash bags $15 – $25
Compare refinishing estimates for free before DIY. View Pros

Cost to rent a floor sander

Renting a floor sander costs $60 to $70 per day or $230 to $270 per week. Renting an edger to handle the room's corners and edges costs $37 to $46 per day or $170 to $185 per week. DIY refinishing projects typically take several days, depending on the home's size.

Edger and floor sander rental cost - chart
Edger and floor sander rental cost - chart

Floor sander rental cost
Rental time Sander rental cost Edger rental cost
4 hours $41 – $47 $30 – $32
Daily $60 – $70 $37 – $46
Weekly $230 – $270 $170 – $185
Monthly $580 – $800 $420 – $550

*Look for discounted weekend rates. Many stores charge only a 1-day fee to rent a drum sander on Saturday and return it Monday.

Floor sander preparing hardwood floor for refinishing
Floor sander preparing hardwood floor for refinishing

What grit sandpaper works best for refinishing hardwood floors?

Refinishing a hardwood floor requires a minimum of three passes with the sander using sandpaper in three different grits. Otherwise, skipping a step causes rough-looking floors and uneven staining. Start with the coarsest grit and progress to the finest grit:

  • Coarse – 36 to 40 grit
  • Medium to fine – 60 to 80 grit
  • Fine to extra fine – 100 to 120 grit

If the floor has minimal imperfections, start with 60 grit sandpaper instead, followed by 80 grit and 100 grit.

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What is hardwood floor refinishing?

Hardwood floor refinishing involves sanding the surface layer to remove the old finish and any scratches, dings, or minor discoloration. After sanding, contractors may add a stain to change the wood color, then apply a clear finish to seal and protect the floor.

How long does it take to refinish hardwood floors?

Hardwood floor refinishing takes 2 to 6 days, depending on the home's size, layout, finish type, and stain selected. Most contractors sand and refinish 400 to 1,000 square feet per day, not including drying and curing time for the finish.

After the refinishing process:

  • Wait 24 hours before walking on the floor in socks. Don't walk on the floor with bare feet or shoes for at least 7 days.
  • Wait 4 to 5 days before moving furniture into the room.
  • Wait 3 to 4 weeks before placing area rugs on the floor.

How often should you refinish hardwood floors?

Hardwood floors should be refinished every 7 to 10 years, depending on thickness, species, and age. Finishing is recommended when hardwood floors have scratches, dings, scuffs, stains, discoloration, fading, or other damage.

How many times can you refinish a hardwood floor?

Solid hardwood floors may be refinished 4 to 10 times, depending on thickness and age. Homes built before the 1920s often have thinner wood flooring. Screening and recoating is a better option for floors that are too thin to sand.

Should hardwood floors feel rough after refinishing?

Hardwood floors should not feel rough after refinishing if the contractor sanded the floor with three passes using the proper sandpaper grits, buffed the floor smooth, and added at least two coats of finish.

Can you refinish hardwood floors without sanding?

You cannot properly refinish hardwood floors without sanding. Sanding removes the old finish, scratches, dings, and discoloration. For floors with a dull sheen and only minor scuffing, consider screening and recoating instead.

Can you refinish prefinished floors?

Prefinished floors are solid hardwood and can be sanded and refinished like other hardwood floorings.

Will hardwood floor refinishing get rid of pet urine stains?

Refinishing will not get rid of pet urine stains or odors because the ammonia penetrates the wood too deeply, and sanding removes less than 2mm of wood from the surface. Urine-stained planks must be removed and replaced, or homeowners may select a dark wood stain to cover the pet stains.

Do you have to remove baseboards to refinish hardwood floors?

Removing the baseboards to refinish hardwood floors is optional but protects the trim from being nicked by the sanding equipment. When leaving baseboards or shoe moldings in place, cover them with a layer of tape-backed foam to avoid scuffing the trim.

Does Lowe’s or Home Depot refinish hardwood floors?

Home Depot offers N-Hance hardwood floor resurfacing, which uses a screening and recoating technique instead of sanding, followed by a UV-light treatment to cure the finish quickly. N-Hance works best for floors with minimal scratches or dings.

Lowe's does not offer hardwood floor refinishing services but rents floor sanders for DIY refinishing.

Do you tip floor refinishers?

Tipping floor refinishers is optional but they always appreciate the gesture. Standard tipping rates for floor refinishers are $10 to $30 per person if their work quality exceeds your expectations. Workers also appreciate being offered access to a bathroom in the home throughout the day.

How to care for newly refinished hardwood floors?

Follow these steps to protect hardwood floors after refinishing:

  • Add felt tabs or pads to the bottom of furniture legs to prevent scratches and scuffing. Change the tabs on chairs and stools every 2 to 3 months.
  • Avoid sliding heavy appliances across the floors.
  • Vacuum or use a dry dust mop regularly to prevent surface grit from scratching the finish.
  • Wipe spills immediately after they occur.
  • Encourage family members not to wear shoes in the home.
  • Avoid cleaning products containing vinegar or ammonia, which dull the finish.
Still have questions? Ask a refinishing pro. View Pros

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Hiring a professional hardwood flooring contractor

  • Get at least three free quotes in-person from flooring pros to compare.
  • Search for licensed contractors with hardwood floor refinishing experience.
  • For exotic hardwood floors, look for professionals with experience refinishing that species of wood.
  • Look at their reviews on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Select companies that are insured, bonded, and have been in business for longer than five years.
  • Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.
  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.
  • Never pay in full before the project starts. Follow a payment plan instead.

Questions to ask

  • Are any parts of my floor too damaged to refinish?
  • Is my floor a good candidate for screening and recoating instead of refinishing?
  • What kind of finish or stain is best for my floor?
  • Do you use low-VOC, low-odor finishes and stains?
  • How will you clean the dust and debris?
  • What steps will you take to protect the rest of my home from the dust?
  • Will you remove the baseboards? If not, how will you protect them from damage?
  • How long will the refinishing project take?
  • How soon can I walk on the floor afterward, and how soon can furniture and area rugs be moved back into the room?
  • How much do you charge to move the furniture?
  • What additional costs should I expect?
  • Do you offer a warranty policy, and if so, what does it include?
  • Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
  • How do you handle damages that happen on the job?
  • Can you provide a list of references from your past projects?
  • What are your payment terms and schedule?

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