Hardwood floor refinishing cost is between $3 and $8 per square foot. So, depending on the size of the surface area of your hardwood floor, you could expect to pay anywhere from $1000-$4000 to have it refinished.
There is no one size fits all price for hardwood refinishing. Here are some of the factors that will come into play:
- Size of the area needing refinishing
- The extent of the work required/condition of the floor
- Type of hardwood floors you have
- Floor refinishing method
Size Of The Floor’s Surface Area
The size of the floor is the first step in determining the cost of refinishing hardwoods. The larger the surface area, the more it will generally cost. However, smaller rooms with a lot of tight turns, closets, and obstacles in the way make a contractor’s job much harder.
Even though a floor’s surface area may be relatively small, a difficult working area can increase the cost by a few dollars per square foot.
Condition Of Your Hardwood Floors
All hardwood refinishing jobs are different. A severely damaged floor that requires a lot of sanding, staining, and recoating will take much more work and time than a lesser damaged floor.
Refinishing wood floors begins by screening the top layer of polyurethane coating, followed by sanding down to the point of a smooth surface. That means, if there are scratches and gouges a few millimeters thick, it may take a few passes with the belt sander to smooth out the surface.
The more labour required to sand the floors smooth, the more it will cost to refinish them.
Type Of Wood Used
There are a few typical types of wood used for hardwood floors. Some of the most common wood types are maple, oak (red and white), walnut, bamboo, birch, and cherry. However, many people opt for engineered hardwood floors (not natural hardwood), or a cork/parquet option.
The cost of refinishing any of the typical hardwoods do not vary too much. They are all strong, naturally vibrant woods that are durable enough to handle extensive sanding and recoating.
The main cost factor for refinishing natural wood is the tools, products, and labour involved in the refinishing process.
If your floors are not natural wood, and instead have engineered wood, then there may be more possible complications involved in refinishing them.
Engineered wood floors on the other hand do not consist of natural wood. The surface resembles natural hardwood very closely, but below the surface, they have less strength and structural integrity.
Engineered floors can’t handle extensive sanding as the vast majority of them have thinner surfaces. Sanding through the thin surface would expose the softer wood under the top layer. This doesn’t mean engineered wood floors are worse than natural wood floors. There are some distinct advantages to using engineered wood.
Floor Refinishing Method
There are numerous types of hardwood floor refinishing services available. Depending on the severity of the damage to your floors and the type of wood used, more or less work may be necessary.
Some floors have lost their natural luster and need a makeover. If that describes your floors, then you can expect to save big on a simple recoating. There will likely be no sanding required, or very little, and your local flooring experts can apply a few coats of stain or polyurethane to give them a fresh look.
Screening and Recoating
Screening is the process of buffing the floor and removing the top layer of polyurethane, wax, or other sealers. If your floors don’t have deep scratches or gouges, then you may be fine with simply buffing and recoating.
Screening hardwoods costs between $1 and $2.50 per square foot.
Screening gets through the surface level of your hardwoods but doesn’t require deep sanding. That means it will take your refinishers less time to complete the job. However, it will require multiple layers of oil and finish to give the floors that natural glow and depth that they once had.
Sanding and Recoating
Sanding and recoating jobs are the most extensive, besides replacement. Hardwood floors can handle multiple passes from a sander and still offer a beautiful look with the durability to last for years.
The cost of sanding hardwood floors will range from $2-$5 per square foot depending on the severity of the gouges and scratches. After sanding the floors sufficiently, they still need to be finished with poly, or oil.
Sanding and recoating is the most expensive refinishing job possible, but it is still cheaper than replacing hardwoods. As long as there is no severe damage to the floors (water damage, termites, cracks), refinishing is generally the way to go.
It may cost 2-3 times more to replace hardwood floors than it would to refinish them.
Hardwood Floor Refinishing Cost – DIY
You may be able to save a few bucks by refinishing the hardwoods yourself. Here is a simple cost analysis of what some of the materials and equipment may cost:
- Sander: $100-$200 per day
- Belt sander (for edges) $60-$80
- Hand tools (scrapers, rollers, sandpaper, roller handles, brushes): $75-$150
- Miscellaneous necessities (rags, mop, safety glasses, gloves, knee pads, respirators) $35-$75
- Shop-Vac: $70-$150
- Stain: $30-$40 per gallon
This is a very basic and general cost breakdown and your cost will vary greatly depending on the job’s necessities.
Cautions For DIY Hardwood Refinishing
Refinishing hardwoods is easy to mess up. It is a skill that requires a great deal of experience and expertise to perform perfectly every time. Doing the job yourself opens you up to potential risks that wouldn’t be present with a professional company.
Large floor sanders are difficult to maneuver and can easily create uneven surfaces and unwanted blemishes on the floors.
Uneven coating can create a floor that doesn’t have a uniform finish and therefore looks unnatural.
If you make a mistake along the way, you may not have the necessary tools and know-how to fix it. You may spend the money to rent or buy the necessary materials, only to find yourself calling an expert anyway. Trying to save a few bucks by doing it yourself could potentially result in much larger costs down the road to properly refinish your hardwood floors, or replace them altogether.
Hardwood floor refinishing is a large undertaking and should be approached with caution and expertise. Feel free to contact us to talk to one of our experts to determine whether hardwood floor refinishing is right for you.