The Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors: Everything You Need to Know

Hardwood flooring instantaneously makes a home feel cozier and warmer. They add depth and character to your living space and are surprisingly pretty easy to maintain. However, they won’t stay shiny and unscathed forever, and at some point, it’ll be time to refinish your hardwood floors.

The total cost to refinish hardwood floors can depend on several factors like labor cost in your location, the number of coats of stain, and even the wood layout. Whether you have the finest herringbone flooring from Sydney or random pattern flooring from your local hardware store, it makes a difference.

Learn the breakdown of the cost of refinishing hardwood floors so that you can make sure you’re getting the best price for your next home project.

How much does it really cost to refinish hardwood floors?

According to HomeAdvisor, the total cost to refinish hardwood floors on average is $1743. A more extensive project could cost up to $4000. The larger the area that needs refinishing, the lower the cost will be per square foot, but you can expect to pay between $3-$8.

People often aren’t aware of all the costs that add up for a home project like refinishing hardwood floors. Because of this, professionals often caution homeowners against guestimating the total cost based on square footage alone. A professional estimate will include all the expenses that you might not have considered.

While it’s great to know the average total cost, understanding the entire process prepares you so that there are no costly surprises along the way.

The Process


  1. The first step to refinishing your hardwood floors is to clear out space. It’s also essential to clean the floors and make sure the room is free of dust in preparation for the next step. If floorboards need to be replaced or fixed, extra costs can occur.
  2. Sanding costs on average $.50-$3 per square foot. Sanding returns the flooring to its unfinished state and helps eliminate blemishes and imperfections that have penetrated the floor’s surface.
  3. After the floor is sanded down, the next step is staining. The cost of staining per square foot can factor depending on the quality of stained used. Usually, several coats of stain are applied, but if you like the color of your floors, you can skip this step.
  4. The final step of the refinishing process is applying a few coats of topcoat. Polyurethane—water-based or oil-based— is the most popular type of coating because of its durability. Water-based polyurethane is the two’s “more expensive” option, ranging from $40-$50 per gallon. In comparison, oil-based polyurethane costs $30-$40 per gallon.

For a typical refinishing job, it takes a contractor approximately “4 to 5 hours per 100 square feet of space.” As you can see, many variables affect the overall cost to refinish hardwood floors, and the total time the project takes to be completed. Now that you have a breakdown of the charges, you know what factors to consider and what questions to ask a potential contractor about the job.