What’s the Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors?

The average cost of refinishing hardwood floors per square foot ranges from $3 to $8. These costs vary depending on the project’s complexity and the area size.

The cost to refinish hardwood floors also depends on whether it’s a DIY project or you’re hiring a professional. Hardwood refinishing cost considerations help align your budget with personal preferences.

Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors

Signs It’s Time to Refinish Your Hardwood Floors

Refinishing hardwood floors helps restore their beauty while extending their lifespan. Here are some signs that indicate it’s time to refinish your hardwood floors:

  • Visible Scratches and Scuffs: Inspect the floor for deep, widespread, or detract scratches. Fixing scratches and dents is necessary before refinishing hardwood floors.
  • Worn or Dull Finish: Dull, lackluster, or areas where the finish has worn away is a sign for refinishing. It restores their original shine and provides a fresh protective layer.
  • Fading or Discoloration: Sunlight exposure can cause hardwood floors to fade or change color. Refinishing helps to even out the color and restore a uniform appearance.
  • Water Damage or Stains: Consider refinishing if your floors have water stains, dark spots, or signs of water damage.

To Refinish or Replace: Which Is Cheaper?

Consider the existing floors’ condition, budget, and aesthetic preferences when deciding between refinishing or replacing. Refinishing includes material costs for sandpaper, stains, finishes, applicators, and repair tools.

Refinishing requires fewer materials than replacement, depending on floor area size and materials used. It’s more cost-effective since you’ll incur a fraction of the cost of new hardwood flooring installation.

Replacing floors is a bigger investment involving new materials and professional installation costs. It’s necessary if the floors have severe damage or need a different style of hardwood flooring.

How Much Does DIY Hardwood Refinishing Cost?

The average cost of hiring a professional for a floor refinishing project is $1,821. A skilled DIYer needs $500 to $1,000 for materials, tools, and supplies.

Renting a drum floor sander costs between $50 and $80 daily. Prices for sandpaper, nails, stains, topcoats, brushes, rollers, safety gear, and cleaning materials are worth considering. You could save between $821 to $1,321 if it’s a DIY project.

Factors That Determine the Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors

Professional vs. DIY

Deciding between hiring a professional or DIY impacts the project’s cost. Hiring a professional requires paying for their labor and experience. The labor costs depend on the floor area’s size, the refinishing work’s complexity, and the local labor rates.

The DIY approach eliminates labor costs. With the right tools and materials, you can refinish your hardwood floors without professional help. It’s more cost-effective, especially for larger floor areas or more extensive refinishing projects.

Floor Size & Thickness

The total square footage of the floor area is a significant factor in determining the cost. Larger areas will need more time, materials, and labor, resulting in higher costs.

Refinishing hardwood floors ranges from $3 to $8 per square foot. It will, however, increase to $5 to $8 for homeowners using a dustless refinishing method.

Room or Floor SizeCost to Refinish Hardwood
100 Sq. Ft$300 to $800
256 Sq. Ft$800 to $2,048
400 Sq. Ft$1,200 to $3,200
1000 Sq. Ft$3,000 to $8,000
2000 Sq. Ft$6,000 to $16,000

Coating & Finishing

A topcoat is a crucial layer of hardwood floors. There are several coatings or finishings, each with a different price range.

Type of CoatingAverage Cost Per Gallon
Penetrating Oil$40–$100 per gallon
Water-based Polyurethane$25–$55 per gallon
Oil-based Polyurethane$20–$45 per gallon
Acid-cured Finish$50–$80 per gallon

Type of Hardwood Flooring

The type of hardwood floors can impact the total refinishing cost. Some popular hardwood floors include oak, cherry wood, parquet, engineered hardwood, pine, maple, mahogany, and bamboo.

There isn’t a significant difference in the cost per square foot between flooring types. The slight variance, however, could impact the final estimate.

Hardwood TypeAverage Cost of Refinishing Per Square Foot
Oak$3 to $5
Cherry Wood$3 to $5
Maple$6 to $8
Pine$4 to $7
Bamboo$3 to $6
Parquet$3 to $5
Mahogany$6 to $8
Engineered Wood$3 to $5

Condition of the Floors

The condition of the hardwood floors plays a role in the cost. You may need extra preparation if there is extensive damage, deep scratches, or unevenness. These include sanding, filling gaps, or repairing damaged boards. The extra steps increase the total project cost.

Other Factors

Additional Services

You will incur more costs if you need other services beyond basic refinishing. These services include repairing damaged boards, replacing floor sections, or adding custom design elements.

Carpet Removal

If the hardwood is beneath an old carpet, the contractor may charge an extra fee to remove it. Carpeting removal and disposal costs range from $0.25 to $1 per square foot.


If a floor is damaged beyond a certain point, refinishing it won’t be effective. In this case, you may need to repair it before refinishing it. Refinishers offer this service at a higher cost than a handyman or carpenter.


Refinishing a hardwood floor is a messy process. Unless the cleanup is specified in the contractor’s bid, you may need to factor in the cost of a cleaning service. It is an extra expense that adds to the project’s total expense.