How Much Is Too Much? Know the Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors

Hardwood flooring is one of the most popular types of floors out there.

While hardwood flooring brings beauty and sophistication into your home, it also makes you worry about scratches, dents, and other damages. After a few years of living with hardwood flooring, you’ll have to think about refinishing it.


That’s why we’ve put together this detailed guide to help you understand the cost to refinish hardwood floors.

So stay tuned and keep reading below!

How Much Does It Cost to Refinished Hardwood Floors?

The average cost of refinishing your hardwood floors is about $1,600. But this number is just an average. Depending on various factors like the size of your home, the type of floor you have, the location you live, etc., the job can cost a lot more money or a lot less.

There are also three different ways you can refinish your floor. You’ll pay more or less based on which of these three options you choose. So to help you get a better idea about the cost of refinishing hardwood floors, we’ve put together a detailed price guide.

Let’s take a closer look below.

Screen and Recoat Price

Screening and recoating a hardwood floor is the most basic refinishing method. Here’s how it works.


A professional will start by screening the floor. This removes light scratches in the polyurethane, but it doesn’t reach the actual wood. After this, they’ll apply a new coat of polyurethane on top of the floor.

You should expect to pay $1.15-$2.25 for every square foot on a screening and recoating job.

Remember, this method only repairs light damages. You shouldn’t screen and recoat your floor if there are any scratches on the wood itself.

Sand and Refinish Price

This process is a little bit more involved than the screening and recoating method.

A professional starts by sanding through the polyurethane. Once they reach the wood, they’ll continue to sand off the top layer to remove any scratches or dents. They’ll then apply a new layer of polyurethane to protect the wood.

Because this job is more involved, it costs more than a screen and recoat. You’ll have to pay between $2.50-$5.50 for every square foot of flooring.

This method is necessary if the scratches and other damage on your floor have gone through the polyurethane and harmed the wood. Putting a new layer of polyurethane on top of damaged wood won’t do much of anything.

Sand, Stain, and Refinish Price

Sometimes sanding and refinishing your floor isn’t enough. If the color of your floor has faded (or you just don’t like the shade anymore), you have to restain your floor as well.

This extra step will make the price go up somewhat.

For a sand, stain, and refinish job, you can expect to pay around $2.95-$6.25 for every square foot.

The process is similar to a sanding and refinishing job. There’s just one added part to the job.

After sanding the wood flooring, a professional can stain the wood to alter its color. When the stain has dried, they will apply a coat of polyurethane like normal.

Many types of polyurethane come in different colors. You should only choose to sand, stain, and refinish your floors if you can’t find the color you like as a polyurethane.

Factors That Can Change the Overall Cost

There are several factors that can make the overall price of your refinishing job go up or down. These things might seem obvious, but they’re important to consider before hiring a professional.

Here’s a quick look at the four main things that can change the cost of the job.

The Size of the Job

You might think a bigger job will make the cost go up, but that’s not always true. Sometimes professionals will give you a lower price per square foot if you have a large project on your hands.

The Floor Plan 

The way your home’s laid out will affect the cost of refinishing your floor. If the hardwood flooring is spread out among multiples different rooms, it will take more preparation work than refinishing the same amount of flooring in a single, large room.

Living Cost in Your Area

The cost of refinishing your flooring can go up if you live near the coast or in a major metropolitan area.

The Type of Damage

Things like stains are a lot harder to remove from your wood floor than light scratches. Because they take more time and effort to repair, they require more money.

Is It Cheaper to DIY?

With all these costs adding up, refinishing your hardwood floors might seem out of reach of your budget. This might make you ask yourself another question.

Is it cheaper to DIY?

The answer depends on a few things.

Refinishing your floors is an involved and messy job. If you’ve never refinished a floor before, or at least don’t have the relevant DIY skills, you might not do the job right.

This means you’ll either have to buy more supplies to fix the problem or hire a professional to redo the job anyway.

You also have to be willing to spend extra money on things like tools and materials. These added costs can make the overall price go way up.

Additional DIY Costs

You probably don’t have all the tools you need for a refinishing job stored in your garage. That means you’ll either have to buy them or rent them yourself.

One of the most important tools you’ll need is a commercial drum floor sander. You can rent these from many different places, but you have to pay about $60 a day. Refinishing your floors will take two days at least.

Here’s a quick list of some other tools you’ll need to have on hand.

  • Belt sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Respirator
  • Edgar
  • Hand scraper
  • Clawhammer and nails
  • Paintbrushes
  • Mop

On top of all the tools you’ll need, you also have to buy the right flooring materials. Instead of trying to handle all these additional expenses out of pocket, it’s a good idea to stick with a professional.

Understanding the Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors

Before you hire a professional, make sure you understand the cost to refinish hardwood floors. This will give you a rough idea of how much you’ll have to spend on the job and what factors in your house will make the price go up or down.

Trying to decide if refinishing your floor is worth the money?

Take a look at this guide to learn how much value a good-quality hardwood floor can add to your home.