How Much Does It Cost To Sand And Paint 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.

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4 Tips for Saving Some Cash on The Cost to Refinish Wood Flooring

1. Do Your Own Prep Work

Even if you aren’t super handy, prep work is pretty simple—it just requires some muscle. Each room needs to be completely cleared out, including all furniture and personal objects. Doing this yourself will save you some money.

If you need to pull up carpet that’s on top of an existing hardwood surface, you can do so yourself and save. Most old houses don’t have low-VOC flooring installed, though, so make sure to wear a mask, gloves, and goggles to protect yourself when pulling up any types of flooring.

2. Be Smart When Picking Your Contractor 

Make sure to read reviews of different flooring stores and ask questions about their work! It’s common to find a range of prices in your local market for labor. Maybe you’re looking for someone that focuses on eco-friendly flooring and practices, or maybe you want a small company that is local and has the best reviews. Everyone is different, so have a few questions ready.

3. Take Care of the Clean Up Yourself

Refinishing hardwood floors is a messy process. If you’re OK cleaning dust off your surfaces, you’ll be able to save some money on the cleanup.

How Much Does Floor Refinishing Cost?

Installing new flooring costs an average of $6 to $10 per square foot, with some homeowners spending as little as $3 or as much as $18 per square foot depending on the materials they choose. Installation and materials will cost you between $1,660 and $4,620 for a 330 square foot living room.

How long does it take to have floors refinished?

It typically takes between two and five days to refinish hardwood floors, depending on the type of polyurethane you use (oil or water-based), and the size and condition of your floors.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Some homeowners choose to refinish the hardwood floor on their own. This reduces the cost significantly. However, we recommend hiring a professional to do it. Hardwood floors are gentle, so you risk damaging them heavily and having to replace them, which costs a lot more than refinishing them. You can, however, do a few things to minimize the cost, such as removing the furniture in the room and any decor, paintings, or other elements on the walls.
  • Before settling for one contractor, try to get at least three estimates. This will give you a better idea of the refinishing cost and give you a better selection of services and features.
  • Once the contractor starts working on the refinishing, be prepared for a lot of dust, mess, and a strong odor. You won’t be able to walk on the floor for up to 24 hours after applying the finish. If you’re refinishing the floors in most or all rooms, consider settling in an alternate location.
  • If you live in a humid climate, keep in mind that the floors will take longer to dry.
  • Some older floors have a heavy wax finish that takes longer to remove, which will add to the overall cost of refinishing. Consider the added cost of wax removal if your floors have a heavier wax finish.
  • Check if the contractor you pick has a contractor’s license and insurance that will protect your home in case of any damage.
  • Before hiring a contractor, ask if they have experience with the specific hardwood and type of finish you have in your home or if they have worked on similar projects.
  • Never pay the full price upfront. Instead, pay 30% as an advance payment, 30% when the contractor brings the materials to your home, and the rest after the refinishing is done. Make sure you’re satisfied with the results.
  • If you have furniture in the room, it will need to be removed before starting the refinishing process. You may do it yourself or hire a separate service to do it.
  • You can rent a floor sander for a cost between $50 to $70 per day or $250 to $300 per week.
  • Keep in mind that some exotic woods react in different moisture levels, while others can burnish during sanding.

About The Author

							Steph Gregerson

Steph Gregerson

Steph is a book nerd, rule follower, and pizza lover who can’t get enough of playing outside. She was raised on the ice rinks of MN and currently resides in sunny San Diego. As a freelance writer, she loves research, producing content, and organizing information for a wide variety of clients. She currently has at least 10 browser windows open at all times.

Questions to Ask About Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Asking a professional the right questions about floor refinishing can help minimize miscommunication, save money, and get the desired results. Here are some questions to ask about the cost to refinish hardwood floors.

  • Can you provide a list of references?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Does the estimate include the cost of moving furniture and cleaning?
  • How long will the refinishing take?
  • Do you offer a warranty?
  • Are you insured and bonded?
  • What are the payment plan options?
  • How will you protect my home from all the dust?
  • How soon can I walk on the floor after it’s refinished?
  • What kind of stain and coating is best for my flooring?
  • How do you handle damage that happens during the job?

Cost of Refinishing Hardwood Floors by Finish Type

Most finish types are sold in one-gallon buckets for $20 to $550 per gallon. Each product covers a different surface size, meaning the finish can be used several times before you have to purchase another package. The type of finish you select determines the look your hardwood floors will have. They may be satin, matte, glossy, or another shade that gives the floor a smooth, shiny, or textured look.

Finish TypeCost per Gallon (Materials Only)Oil-Bas

Finish TypeCost per Gallon (Materials Only)
Oil-Based Polyurethane$20 – $50
Water-Based Polyurethane$30 – $55
Wax$35 – $55
Penetrating Oil Finish$40 – $100
Swedish Finish$50 – $80
Hard Wax Oil$70 – $550

Oil-Based Polyurethane

Oil-based polyurethane costs around $20 to $50 per gallon. It’s the most commonly used finish type used because of its durability and the traditional look it gives to the hardwood floors. It’s one of the most durable finishes that can take heavy traffic and is extremely easy to work with as any mistake can be fixed along the way. When you apply oil-based polyurethane, it will dry within 24 hours and turn into an amber color over time.

Water-Based Polyurethane

Water-based polyurethane costs $30 to $55 per gallon. It’s the second most common finish type after oil-based polyurethane because of its affordability and fast application. It is easy to apply and gives the flooring a high-gloss finish, making it a popular choice. Most water-based finishes dry within two to four days, so the project will take less time to complete than with some other finishes.

Cost to Wax Hardwood Floors

Liquid wax is also known as paste wax and can be found for $35 to $55 per gallon. It’s buffed into the hardwood material and then spread throughout the floor. Once it hardens, it’s buffed once again. Using wax finishes gives the floors a more natural look, so they are very popular with historical renovations. A big advantage of wax finishes is the ability to buff in more wax on high traffic areas to maintain the updated look across the whole floor.

Penetrating Oil Finish for Wood

Penetrating oil finish for wood costs $40 to $100 per gallon. It’s called penetrating because it enters the wood, oxidizes, and hardens from within. This protects the flooring on the inside rather than adding a protective layer on the surface, which is the case with other finishes. This reinforces the wood as well, increasing its durability and sturdiness. Penetrating oils are expensive because they have little or no volatile components in them that may harm the flooring or people’s health during its use.

Swedish Finish Hardwood Floor Care

Also known as acid-cured, Swedish finishes cost $50 to $80 per gallon. They typically come as a one-component or two-component finish with an acid catalyst and alcohol solvent. Once applied, the first coat dries within two to four hours so that the next coat can be applied after 24 to 48 hours. As the molecules of the finish bond with the wood cells, Swedish finishes are very durable. They are also very flammable because of the alcohol and have a very strong smell at the beginning.

Hard Wax Oil for Wood Floors

Hard wax oil is typically used on more exotic floors as the components are lighter and gentler on the wood, so the cost is a lot higher than other finishes. They are one of the most expensive ones on the market, at the cost of $70 to $550 per gallon. A quarter of a gallon covers around 800 sq.ft. of surface, so it lasts you longer than some other, cheaper finishes. Hard wax oils are rubbed into the floor. Once applied, the oil enters the floor and hardens in it. This process leaves the wax on top and gives the floor a shiny look. It comes in various finishes, from flat to matte and shiny, allowing homeowners to choose a shade that best fits their taste.

Labor Costs

If you’re using a professional to help you refinish your hardwood floors, keep in mind that your location plays a significant role in determining the cost of labor. You may want to consider using a wood refinishing calculator to help give you a better sense of actual cost for your area.

Labor costs will also depend on the condition of your floors. Wood floors with deep scratches that need a lot of TLC or that cover a wide area typically cost more to refinish. The method matters, as well. Keep in mind that while the dustless method costs more, it also can help you enjoy your new wood floors sooner because it doesn’t take as long to complete. The collection of dust happens during sanding, so professionals spend less time cleaning up afterwards.

Professional Vs. DIY

Your decision whether to call a professional or go the DIY route should take several factors into account. When the condition of your floors is mostly a matter of dirt and grime, going the DIY route can certainly be worth the effort. However, if your wood floors need a full-scale refinishing, you may want to stop and think the DIY process through carefully. Given the complex, messy process — potentially pricey in its right — it may be a smart idea to call on the help of professionals who regularly refinish wood floors.

Can I change the color of my hardwood floors without sanding?

Minwax® PolyShades® is an easy way to change the color of your currently stained or polyurethane finished wood. There’s no stripping or heavy sanding necessary to remove the old finish!

Cost to Finish Wood Floors By Type

Expect to pay $3-$5 per square foot to get an oak floor refinished. Refinishing cost for other common types of hardwood floor such as cherry, parquet floors, and engineered hardwood is the same.

Factors Affecting Cost

In general, for a basic refinishing job, it will take a contractor about four to five hours per 100 square feet of space. A number of factors can affect the overall cost of refinishing:

Size of the floor: Generally, smaller rooms are going to be more expensive to refinish per square foot. This is because the equipment used to sand down a hardwood floor is usually quite large, and it is not easy to get it into or maneuver it through tight areas. Some small bathrooms, powder rooms, and laundry rooms may be too small to refinish at all without the help of a specialist with the necessary equipment. On the other hand, you can often get a discount on a project to refinish a larger space or multiple rooms on the same visit. Larger projects represent more money for less effort to contractors, and so they are usually willing to offer discounts to secure these jobs.

Local labor costs: In general, contracting companies located in large metropolitan areas are going to charge more for a hardwood refinishing project, mostly because the demand for their services is higher. There can also be a purely regional factor at work; for example, labor in the Northeast is often more expensive than it is in the South.

Company skill: Sometimes, you will be able to find companies offering hardwood refinishing services at extremely low prices. Unfortunately, you usually get exactly what you pay for, and bargain-basement offers may lead to shoddy work or jobs that take longer than they should. Repairs to these mistakes can end up costing more than the original project.

Moving furniture: The room you refinish will need to be cleared of any furniture or furnishings before starting the project. This is generally not included in the estimate for a project, and if the contractors have to take care of this themselves, they may charge a premium for the service. This can not only prolong the project but can also inflate the cost. You may be able to save money by doing the furniture-moving yourself.

Removing carpet or other flooring: If the hardwood you want to have refinished is beneath old carpet, vinyl flooring, or another material, the refinishing contractor will charge extra to remove it for you. Make sure you get an estimate on those costs. You will likely find that doing this work yourself is a good way to save money.

Repairs: If a floor is damaged beyond a certain point, refinishing it won't be effective. In this case, the floor will need to be repaired before it can be refinished. Most refinishers will gladly do this work but for an additional fee that may be higher than that charged by a handyman or carpenter. The better the structural condition of the floor, the more cost-effective the refinishing job will be.

Cleanup: Refinishing a hardwood floor can be a messy process, and unless the cleanup is specified in the contractor's bid, you may need to factor in the cost of a cleaning service when determining the total expense of the project.

Serving Areas

Proudly Installing and Refinishing Hardwood Floors in Charlotte, Ballantyne, Lake Norman, Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Mooresville, Denver, Concord, Matthews, Weddington, and Waxhaw, North Carolina, as well as areas in South Carolina.

Is It Cheaper To Refinish Or Replace Floors?

Recoloring your hardwood floors is almost always cheaper than painting them. The new ones will require additional wood and will require ripping up and hauling away existing hardwood. This will still be cheaper than replacing the entire floor, even if you have this.

Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

It may be tempting to DIY this project to save on the cost to refinish hardwood floors, but it’s more complicated than it looks. Refinishing hardwood floors is a time-consuming, messy, and costly job. On average, expect to pay from $500 to $1,000 to refinish hardwood floors on your own. The cost to rent a drum floor sander is between $50 and $80 per day or $100 to $200 for a weekend rental. You’ll need more than just a drum sander to complete the project. The prices of other materials such as sandpaper, belt sander, edger, nails, stain, topcoat, brushes, rollers, safety gear, shop vacuum, cleaning materials, and more will quickly add up. Keep in mind that sanding and finishing mistakes can be expensive. Prepare to pay two to three times the price to replace the floors than you would have paid a professional to do the refinishing project for you.

Refinishing your floors?Some jobs are better left to the pros. Get free, no-commitment estimates from licensed flooring contractors near you. Find local pros ++

What Does Your Hardwood Floor Refinishing Cost Include?

Now that you have a better idea of what your hardwood floor refinishing cost could look like, you probably want to know what you’ll get out of that. Though the exact specifications can vary based on the contractor of your choice, your budget will typically include:

Depending on the wood floor refinishing company you choose, your estimate may also include costs for cleanup and site preparation, which primarily consists of relocating any furniture. We recommend you carefully review your proposal to be sure of what’s included before finalizing your contract.

The Process of Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Below, we’ll outline the steps your professional will take in order to restore your floors to a beautiful shine. These are the same steps you would take if you choose to do this job on your own.


Before your floors can be refinished, they’ll need to be fully cleaned and prepared. Contractors will clean and dry your floors, paying special attention to any protruding nails or other objects that could impede the refinishing process. If you have shoe molding, it will likely be removed during this step.


Next, your contractor will use a large sanding machine to sand the top layer off of your floor, in preparation for the refinishing. Most homeowners find this part of the process to be the most cumbersome, simply because it’s loud and messy; you can expect a fine layer of dust to cover every surface of your home during this step. When sanding, it’s critical to address every inch of flooring; even right up to the wall, to ensure an even finish once the process is complete.


After your flooring has been stripped and sanded down, it’s time to apply the stain you’ve chosen. This can be done with a brush or a roller, and is the simplest part of the process.

Top Coating

Finally, a top coat will be applied as a protectant for your floors. This will seal your floors, preventing minor damage, scuffs and water stains.

Cost breakdown by component

Each floor refinishing project will look a little different cost-wide, but here are the main items you’ll end up paying for:

  • Labor: Professionally refinishing wood floors is a labor-intensive process, and you can expect labor costs to account for 80% of your professional estimate.
  • Prep work: The amount of prep work required will vary based on your floors’ condition and can include deep cleanings and replacing damaged flooring. Replacing damaged flooring can cost anywhere between $1.75-$9 or more per square foot based on the installation’s complexity and the type of wood flooring.
  • Sanding: You’ll need several rounds of sanding for any refinishing project. If you want a lighter stain, you’ll need even more rounds of sanding to remove the dark stain. You can expect to pay around $0.78 per square foot for each round of sanding.
  • Stain: After sanding down the floors, they’ll need to be stained with the desired finish, either water or oil-based. Staining can require a few rounds of application and costs between $1-$3 per square foot based on the stain’s quality.

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.