Average Costs for Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Nationally, the average cost for refinishing a hardwood floor is $1,783, within a typical range of $1,075 to $2,503. But there’s every chance your floor is anything but average, and your actual costs can vary depending on many factors, especially the availability and cost of labor in your area. On a per-square-foot basis, average costs run about $3 to $8 per square foot, but these costs can vary depending on the complexity of the work and the total size of the area you want to have refinished. Per-square-foot costs may be less if you’re having a contractor come in to refinish an entire house, while costs can be more if they are refinishing just a single room.

The cost for refinishing wood stairs averages about $40 to $75 per stair tread. The high cost is because these are small surfaces that require skilled, time-consuming detail work.

There are several types of sanders used for refinishing. An upright sander used to refinish a floor rents for about $60 per day or $250 per week—a full weeklong rental is not unreasonable if you are refinishing several floors. Upright sanders are available with belt-action or orbital-action heads. Belt-action sanders are regarded as more heavy-duty tools, but they can be hard to handle and beginners sometimes have problems with gouging the floor when using them. Orbital-action sanders are designed to remove the floor’s finish only. They aren’t capable of sanding past deep blemishes.

A heavy-duty disc sander, also called an edger, is also needed to sand into corners, edges and tight spots where the upright sanders can't reach. They cost slightly less per day to rent than the upright sanders.

Other than the sanders and sandpaper, the biggest additional DIY cost is the finish material. Polyurethane finish costs around $40 to $100 per gallon depending on the thickness of the finish and the quality of the product. One gallon of polyurethane is usually enough to apply two coats over a 300-square-foot space. Polyurethanes come in both water-based and oil-based (alkyd-based) forms. Some professionals swear by the results of oil-based products, but most DIYers find water-based finishes easier to use.

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If New Flooring Is Needed

If extensive damage requires new flooring to be installed, you can expect prices to start at about $6 per square foot and run as high as $15 ($3 to $5 per square foot for the materials plus $3 to $10 extra for the installation labor).

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Cost to Refinish Wood Stairs

If you have hardwood installed on your stairs, refinishing it would cost a bit extra, or around $25 to $45 per step. The higher cost can be attributed to the more complex process involved with refinishing hardwood on stairs. The professional would have to work around extra corners and in tighter spots, so it takes more time to do the sanding, staining, and refinishing the flooring with a topcoat.

What’s the Best Carpet for Bedrooms?

You know that carpet is a great bedroom flooring choice. But: which carpet is the best carpet for bedrooms?

Is it berber carpet? Plush? Frieze? What about nylon or triexta? And of course, which of the best carpet brands make good bedroom carpet? You have questions—and we have answers!

In this guide, you’ll find all the pros and cons of putting carpet in a bedroom. Then, we’ll go over which carpets make the best carpets for bedrooms, plus features to look out for. Finally, we’ll go over some FAQs to clear up any lingering confusion.

Finishing and Coating Cost

Recoating will cost you $1-$2 per square foot, which is quite less than refinishing. A major benefit of recoating is that you can skip sanding, which can cost hundreds of dollars. Recoating is suitable for floors with minimal scratches and gouges. Expect to pay $20-$40 per gallon for an oil-based coating. Homeowners who use a water-based coating usually pay between $25 and $50per gallon.

Hardwood Floor Restoration Cost

The cost of restoration depends on the type and extent of floor damage. For instance, if the damage is minimal on a ten sq.ft. surface, the floor may be restored with sanding for $3 to $5.50 per sq.ft., or $30 to $55 in total. However, when the floor has suffered deeper damage or the wood underneath the finish has suffered damage, the cost would be higher. If, for instance, the floor has suffered severe water damage, the whole area and the subfloor 2 would likely need to be replaced. Replacing a floor board comes at the cost of $14 to $32, while repairing it will cost $8 to $32 per sq.ft. Some examples of damage that require hardwood restoration are deeper scratches and gouges, worn off areas on the floor, gray or black areas, or uneven floor boards. Refinishing is mostly used for lighter damage or wear. Restoration is used for deeper damage beyond the current floor finish.

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The Benefits of Refinishing a Hardwood Floor Instead of Replacing It

It’s More Environmentally Friendly

As environmentally friendly flooring becomes more and more important to homeowners, it’s important to point out one big benefit of refinishing instead of replacing: it saves products from going to the dump! There’s no better sustainable wood flooring option than one that’s already in your home

It Allows You to Change The Way Your Floors Look on a Budget

Another great perk of refinishing is the ability to change the look of the floor. You can choose different wood floor colors to match your personal style and decor—though as we said, some wood flooring types are easier to stain than others. 

Either way, it’s a great way to change the look of

Either way, it’s a great way to change the look of a room without having to pay to replace your entire floor!

You Can Swap Out Damaged Planks

Sometimes, even the best hardwood floors suffer some damage. The great news is that you can swap out damaged boards with ease during the refinish process—because you can match the new boards to the rest of the floor when you restain! But the biggest question is…

Products for Hardwood Floors

If deep cleaning doesn’t make much of a difference, and you still see surface imperfections, there are special kits and products meant to help renew your wood floors. Here are a few of them:

Hardwood Floor Restorer

If you have old hardwood floors, consider trying a wood floor restorer product, which is meant to restore older floors that have been previously sealed.

Hardwood Floor Reviver

To help restore an existing polyurethane finish, try a hardwood floor reviver. Available in a high-gloss finish, it imparts a sheen that can last between three and six months. Working in a small section, use a painter’s pad attached to a long pole to spread the product across the floor.

Hardwood Floor Renewal Kit

Another method of restoring dull or scratched floors to their original shine is to use a product such as a wood and laminate floor renewal kit. For non-waxed floors, this kit can be used to help recreate your floor’s original shine.

Products meant to be applied to hardwood floors can be purchased at many home improvement stores, and you can always ask an associate there for assistance.

Is It Cheaper To Refinish Hardwood Floors Or Replace With Vinyl?

You should know that it is cheaper to re-finish your hardwood floors than to replace them. It is relatively inexpensive to re-finish hardwood flooring, as compared to new flooring.

Cost to Sand and Refinish Wood Floors

Refinishing hardwood flooring is the process of sanding away the damaged top layer of wood and applying a fresh finish.

  • Professional cost to refinish hardwood flooring: $2.50-$5.50 per square foot.
  • When to refinish hardwood: This method is necessary when scratches, dents and stains have damaged the wood, not just the polyurethane sealer.
  • How to refinish hardwood: The polyurethane and enough of the wood is sanded away to remove light damage. If a wood plank is deeply scratched, it can be repaired with wood filler or the plank can be replaced. The bare wood floor is vacuumed and tacked. Two or three coats of polyurethane are applied. The first coat can be a combination stain and polyurethane product if you wish to change the hue of the wood. Combination products like oil-based Minwax PolyShades and water-based Cabot Polystain are a good choice.

Looking for a tough premium Flooring Finish? Read our Bona Traffic HD Review

Cost to refinish hardwood floors in Westchester

So, let’s start with the basics. 

How much does it cost to sand and refinish oak floors in Westchester?

Most refinishing companies in Westchester County will charge between $2 and $3.50 per square foot for basic sanding and refinishing of oak.  If it’s natural, it will be towards the lower side, and with a stain it will cost a bit more (often an extra .50 or so). 

It will generally cost an extra $.50-.80 for an extra coat of poly. This generally is not needed when you are doing natural as you generally have 3 coats of poly on there. But, for a stain, some places will do 2 coats, others will do 3 and others will give you choices. In general, for darker colors and for heavy traffic areas, especially the kitchen, entryway and often first floor, a 3rd coat of poly will help make things last longer.  I will often recommend that customers with busy households (e.g. kids, pets, etc,) that a 3rd coat is great for the 1st floor and is optional for the 2nd floor.

Water based polyurethane often costs a bit more (usually and extra .50 or so), but this can also vary based on which type of water based poly.   The best type of water based poly is Bona Traffic HD, and this may cost you an additional .75 or so.   That means it could cost you an additional +1.25 per square foot when you add in both of these. There are a few companies around Westchester (I won’t mention their names) that tend to use a cheap water based poly which is low grade.  So, if they aren’t charging you extra for water based poly, it’s most likely because they are using a cheap brand that won’t last very long.  Bona is a wonderful water based and if your company is using that, you are probably in good shape.   Here’s more info on water borne vs oil based polyurethane.

Cost of refinishing other species of wood – pine, maple – in Westchester County

Pine and maple are more challenging woods to refinish. First, they are just more challenging to sand (and you definitely want a high quality company that is familiar with these types of woods as they require different grits and different pressures to be applied.) And, you need to add a conditioner to them to open up the pores, if you are adding a stain. Pine is challenging because it’s soft; maple is challenging as it’s a bit harder and more challenging for the stain to penetrate – in fact, due to the wood itself, it will be blotchy. Most companies will charge a bit more for these types of woods.  In addition, some of the older pines have face nails which must be countersunk, prior to sanding.  Extra costs on this can vary, but may be in the range of .20 to $1.00/sf.  

Cost for refinishing parquet and herringbone floors in Westchester County


Parquet and herringbone floors are more challenging to sand and refinish as the wood goes in 2 directions (or sometimes more), so these floors need to be handled a bit more carefully.  Most sanding companies in Westchester will charge an extra .40-.80 for this work.

Cost for dustless sanding and refinishing in Westchester County

Some companies offer DUSTLESS sanding and refinishing.  Others don’t.  We offer both a standard and dustless option. It’s important to note that dustless is not 100% dustfree…nothing is.  But, it does take care of most of the dust.  You can read more about that dustless sanding here.

Cost for white wash and/or gray floors

It definitely costs extra to do a whitewash floor, or a gray floor which uses white wash.  On the one hand, it might cost an extra .25-.80 cents to add white wash.  However, it’s not quite that simple.  When you do a white wash or gray floor, you need to use water based poly, so that will definitely add to the cost.  And, because these floors are expensive and challenging to maintain, you often want to/need to add an extra coat of poly, as well as trade up to bone traffic.  So, the costs can definitely add up.

Other items that will cost extra when sanding

  • Stair treads – the cost can vary based on type of wood, whether it’s natural (less expensive) or stained (more expensive), type of poly and number of coats, but generally, this will cost  $25-$45 per stair tread.
  • Stair risers – generally, this will cost and extra $25-$40.
  • Banisters – most flooring places will not refinish banisters as it is a different process.  These will need to be hand sanded and this work is generally done by painters.  Often, the cost can be a bit steep because the process is rather involved.  It is labor intensive and takes several trip for the coats to dry.
  • Ripping up carpet – This can often be rather costly as there is a lot of labor involved.  Ripping up carpet is relatively simple, but ripping up the staples and the tack strips can be challenging.  Most places in Westchester will charge .80-$1.30 for this work, and if it needs to be hauled away, that will certainly add to the cost as there are dumping fees.  Generally, condos, co-ops, townhouses, etc. require that the carpet be hauled away.  Ripping up carpet on steps or runners will also cost extra.
  • Ripping up vinyl, laminate, parquet, tile, etc.  This can add to the cost as well and prices can vary based on type, area and also, there could be additional repair work, especially if there were nails into the wood underneath, and/or black tar that is left behind.  Usually, this black tar can be sanded off, but it takes extra time and extra sand paper.
  • 
Missing saddles or transitions:   These can easily be added if they are missing from doorways or closets or transitions to areas not being done (e.g. if there is tile in the kitchen or carpet in the bedroom and you want a smooth transition.  These might cost $30-50 per doorway, but can vary based on what’s needed and length of transition.
  • Repair work – this can vary based on size/scope of repair needed.  Sometimes this is needed because pieces are just damaged/have big hold; other times, this is due to pet damage or water stains (i.e. if the floor is dark/black); other times, it can be due to a wall or cabinet that was moved.  The larger the scope, the more for labor and materials.  When the wood needs to be woven in, this can be more intensive.  And, when it’s pine, it will often cost more both to get the wood and to mill it down to the proper width (often pine today is cut in different widths than it was 80 to 100 yrs ago).  Again, this is why it’s best to get a flooring specialist that does this sort of repair often.
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Quarter round or shoe molding  – Sometimes, after you remove the carpet, there is a gap between the base molding and the floor.  You often can’t tell whether or not this is needed until after the carpet is ripped up.  If it does happen, this is a simple solve, but it can add to your cost due to material and labor, and these will need to be painted afterwards (although most likely your base molding needs to be repainted regardless of this.
  • Furniture move – This can vary greatly.  Some companies won’t move furniture at all; others will and the price will vary.  Generally, you will need to move all of the loose/breakable items prior to their arrival.  And, often, there is a separate trip charge to move the furniture back after the floors have properly dried (i.e. a few days later).

As you can see, there are many factors that can impact the cost. It’s generally helpful to consult with a professional flooring company to get real and accurate costs. Often, you can ask them to break it out in different ways (e.g. what if we only did these rooms? Or what is the cost for natural vs. stain or what is cost of oil based vs. water based poly, etc.)

Hardwood Floor Refinishing Cost Factors

A few factors determine where on the cost spectrum your project estimates will fall:

  • The size of the job: The larger the job, the lower the cost per square foot.
  • The floor plan: Refinishing 1,000 square feet of flooring in three small rooms, for example, takes a lot more preparation and labor than refinishing the same amount of hardwood in an open floor plan.
  • Stains: Water and pet stains require extra work and care to remove.
  • Local cost of living: Average costs are highest in major metropolitan areas on or near the Coasts. They’re lowest in rural areas of the Midwest and South. Costs vary by about 25% across the country.

Additional Costs

The costs in the table above are based on average nationwide standard pricing and are not specific to any hardwood refinishing project. When you receive a detailed quote from a flooring professional, some or several of the following additional costs may be included:

  • Moving a large amount of furniture and clutter to clear the floors: $20-$50 per room
  • Repairing large scratches by filling them, sanding and coloring the filler: $25-$100 per scratch
  • Removing heavy wax buildup: $0.75-$1.35 per square foot
  • Replacing planks that cannot be repaired: $75-$150 per plank with a possible minimum charge of $200 or more if a different contractor does the work
  • Stairs: $80-$125 per stair
  • Wire-brushing the wood to create a “distressed wood” look: $2.00-$3.50 per square foot
  • Fuming or smoking the wood with chemical applications to create an aged or rustic look: $1.00-$1.65 per square foot
  • Removing carpeting first: $0.50-$1.00
  • Replacing molding and trim that no longer matches stained hardwood: $5.50-$9.00 per linear foot
  • A large amount of hand sanding required in tight locations a machine sander won’t fit: $200-$500 per room
  • Lead paint abatement – painted flooring: $9-$16 per square foot.
  • Stripping non-lead paint: $1.75-$3.00 per square foot

Can you refinish engineered hardwood? Find out.

Other Hardwood Floor Refinishing Cost Calculators from Around The Net

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