Average Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors

Average Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors

Refinishing hardwood floors is a cost-effective way to breathe new life into your living space while preserving the timeless charm of genuine hardwood. However, determining the average cost to refinish hardwood floors can be a complex task, as it depends on several variables. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the key factors that influence the cost of refinishing hardwood floors and provide you with a breakdown of expenses, whether you choose to hire professionals or embark on a DIY journey.

Understanding the Average Cost

The average cost to refinish hardwood floors in 2022 ranges from $1,098 to $2,658, with an approximate average of $1,874. These figures can fluctuate significantly based on numerous factors, such as the type of wood flooring, the chosen finish, the square footage of your home, and labor costs. On a per-square-foot basis, the cost typically falls within the range of $3 to $8.

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The Importance of Professional Refinishing

While refinishing hardwood floors can be tempting as a DIY project, it’s essential to consider the risks involved. According to Andy Kilborn, an expert in home improvement, attempting this task without experience and proper tools may damage your floors and create excessive dust. Therefore, hiring professionals is often the recommended route for achieving high-quality results.

Factors Influencing Refinishing Costs

1. Type of Hardwood Flooring

The type of hardwood flooring you have plays a significant role in determining the cost. Solid hardwood floors can typically be refinished multiple times, while engineered hardwood floors have a limited number of refinishing cycles. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, cannot be refinished at all.

2. Square Footage

The size of your home and the area of hardwood flooring that needs refinishing directly affect the total cost. Larger spaces will naturally incur higher expenses than smaller ones.

3. Finish Choice

The choice of finish for your hardwood floors also impacts costs. Different finishes, such as oil-based or water-based polyurethane, varnish, or wax, have varying price points and durability levels. Discussing your preferences with a professional can help you make the best choice.

The Professional Refinishing Process

Professionals follow a detailed process to refinish hardwood floors:


Before refinishing can begin, the floors must be thoroughly cleaned and prepared. This step includes removing any protruding nails and, if present, shoe molding.


Sanding involves using specialized equipment to remove the top layer of wood, preparing it for refinishing. This step can be noisy and messy, generating fine dust that spreads throughout your home.


After sanding, the chosen stain is applied to the wood. This step is relatively straightforward and can be done using brushes or rollers.

Top Coating

A protective top coat is applied to seal the floors, safeguarding them from minor damage, scuffs, and water stains.

DIY Refinishing: Costs and Considerations

If you’re on a tight budget and feel confident in your DIY skills, refinishing hardwood floors can be a viable option. However, it’s essential to understand the expenses involved and the potential risks:

Costs for DIY Refinishing

  • Floor sander rental: Less than $100 per day.
  • Belt sander rental: Approximately $60 to $100 per day, suitable for smaller spaces.
  • Sandpaper: Roughly $100 for an average-sized job.
  • Edger rental: About $37, necessary for corners and tight spaces.
  • Stain: Typically between $30 and $45.
  • Clear varnish: Costs range from $165 to $360.
  • Miscellaneous supplies: Budget for paintbrushes, rags, mop, dust masks, eye protection, knee pads, and other tools that make the job easier.


Refinishing hardwood floors can rejuvenate your home’s aesthetics and extend the life of your flooring. Understanding the factors that influence costs and the steps involved in professional refinishing is crucial in making an informed decision. Whether you opt for professional services or embark on a DIY project, knowing the average cost to refinish hardwood floors empowers you to enhance the beauty and value of your living space while staying within your budget.

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