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Wood Floor Refinishing Costs

A sparkling and shiny wood floor brings class and elegance to any room. Over the years, heavy foot traffic, pets, dirt and the process of moving furniture around can wreak havoc on the finish of a wooden floor. As a result, many homeowners need their wood floors professionally refinished to restore the natural luster and beauty of the wood. The cost of wood floor refinishing depends on how badly the wood is damaged, the square footage of wood that needs to be refinished and whether or not additional services are requested.

National Refinish Wood Flooring Costs

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by ImproveNet members.

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Average reported cost

based on 10223 cost profiles


Minimum cost


Maximum cost

Most homeowners spent between:




National Refinish Wood Flooring Costs
Average reported cost $1,471
Number of Cost Profiles 10223 cost profiles
Minimum reported cost $150
Maximum reported cost $3,280
Most homeowners spent between: $1,095 to $1,619

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Average Wood Floor Refinishing Costs

The minimum amount that most homeowners will spend on hardwood floor refinishing is $700 up to a maximum of around $2,500. In the mid-range of wood floor refinishing, the majority of consumers will spend $1,200 to $1,600. However, there are several important factors that homeowners must consider when planning their budget for wood floor refinishing. 

Square Footage

Most companies charge by the square foot for their services. Many will have a minimum charge as well, so in the case of a homeowner only requesting one small room or a hallway, the cost per square foot could be higher than for having several rooms with wood floors refinished all at the same time. Homeowners pay for both the materials and the labor for refinishing projects, and like many other goods and services, buying in bulk usually reduces the overall unit price.

Condition of the Floor

If the wood floors are in terrible condition with cracks, loose nails, chips and split boards, the refinishing process will take longer and cost more than a floor with only light surface scratches. Floors with old stains might also take longer to finish. If the floor was previously carpeted and adhesives have permeated the old finish of the wood, removing the debris could be time consuming and costly.

Color of the Floor

If the wood finish is currently light and the homeowner prefers a darker finish, this generally does not add much to the cost. However, if the floors are dark and the homeowner wants to lighten the look, much more sanding and processing of the wood is required. This will generate a higher cost for both labor and materials to achieve the desired finished product. 


Homeowners who choose mid-range or low-cost finishes for their wood floors will enjoy a lower project cost. Those who choose higher-end floor finishes, sealants and waxes will pay a little more for their finished project, but enjoy higher quality and longer-lasting results. 

Polyurethane is the most popular finish for wood floors. Polyurethane comes in water-based and oil-based varieties, which are used to seal everything from the baseboards and molding during a home renovation to the stairs, floors, banisters, built-in shelving and more.


Water-based polyurethane provides a clear finish that highlights the wood's natural color and grain. Only two hours of drying time are needed between coats of this type of polyurethane. Most projects require four coats for full protection of the wood, which means that a project can easily be completed in one day. Water-based polyurethane has minimal odor, which makes it more comfortable for you to work with, especially in areas that are difficult to ventilate, such as an attic or staircase. Paintbrushes and other tools used for projects with water-based polyurethane can be cleaned with just water, which makes cleanup simple and fast. However, water-based polyurethane is more expensive than oil-based, which could add to the cost of your project.


Oil-based polyurethane provides a glowing amber color to the wood. Projects using this type of polyurethane usually only need two to three coats, which means less work than with a water-based polyurethane. You must wait at least five hours between coats of oil-based polyurethane and at least 12 hours from the last coat before using or touching the finished product. Oil-based polyurethane exudes a strong odor and good ventilation is needed. The odor may also linger for a few days after your project is complete. You will need to use mineral spirits or paint thinner to clean your paintbrushes after using oil-based polyurethane. The mineral spirits and paint thinner also have an odor.


The process of finishing a large, flat area is relatively uncomplicated; mechanical sanders, wood strippers and waxers can easily do most of the work. However, homeowners who need their wooden stairs refinished will have a much more labor-intensive project on their hands. Machines cannot navigate stairs, so most of the refinishing work will need to be done by hand. This requires a high level of experience and skill, as stairs are subject to heavy foot traffic and thus a substantial amount of wear and tear on the wood's surface. Most companies will charge per step for refinishing stairs. 

Additional Services

While the floors are being refinished, many homeowners also restore the adjacent wood baseboards, banisters, rails, door frames and other wood components of the home. This can add to the cost of the refinishing project.

Benefits of Professional Wood Floor Refinishing

Not only does a professionally refinished wood floor have aesthetic appeal, it also increases the resale value of a home. Potential buyers who walk into a home and see old, worn-out floors are likely to wonder what else is wrong with the house and offer a low amount of money if they even make an offer at all. Refinishing wood floors is an investment not only for the current homeowner to enjoy, but it can also pay off when trying to sell the home in the future.

Last updated on Mar 31, 2016

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