How Much Does It Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors (2023 Guide)

By Alex Hawkins

Sep 01, 2023
Contractor with glove and sponge refinishing and staining wood floors.

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Homeowners seeking professional refinishing can expect to pay between $3,033 to $5,900, averaging $2 to $7 per square foot. There are also several do-it-yourself (DIY) hardwood refinishing methods. Hardwood floors add a timeless look and character to your home but often require restoration over the years. In this guide, we’ll discuss project cost factors, the benefits and drawbacks of tackling it yourself, and signs that it’s time for a hardwood restoration.

*Unless otherwise noted, cost figures in this article are based on 2023 reports from, RemodelingExpense, and House Digest for 1,500 square feet of flooring.

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The Cost of Refinishing Hardwood Floors

The typical cost for hardwood floor refinishing ranges from $3,033 to $5,900, with a national average cost of $4,733. Your overall cost depends on the current condition of the flooring. To completely refinish a hardwood floor, including sanding down the top layer to bare wood and applying several coats of new finish like polyurethane, expect to pay flooring professionals $2 to $7 per square foot.

If your floor appears slightly worn but otherwise in good condition, you could get by on recoating the flooring without sanding. This is typically a low cost of $1.50 to $5 per square foot.

Cost by Hardwood Floor Material

The most significant cost factor of refinishing hardwood flooring is the type of wood. Below, we break down the average cost per square foot to refinish different hardwood flooring options and their benefits and drawbacks.

Cost by Area Size

The square footage of your hardwood floors significantly impacts the total cost of your refinishing project. Many contractors will decrease the cost per square foot the larger the project scope because the job requires less labor to set up and take down equipment.

Square FootageEstimated Cost

















Factors Affecting Cost

 Additional cost factors that a contractor may or may not include in the base price are as follows:



Signs That You Need to Refinish Your Hardwood Floors

Here are some signs that indicate it’s time to undergo a refinishing job:



Professional vs. DIY Hardwood Floor Refinishing

Opting for professional hardwood floor refinishing ensures expertise and precision. Trained technicians can address intricate details and maintain the proper finish with minimal errors. Professional flooring technicians often utilize industrial-grade equipment, which helps you receive a more refined outcome that can extend the life span of your floors.

On the other hand, DIY refinishing gives you more creative control and potential cost savings. It demands a steep learning curve with specialized tools like a belt sander and varnish. The risk of mistakes could impact the final aesthetic and durability. We advise you to weigh professionals’ expertise and convenience against the hands-on involvement and financial benefits of a DIY project, especially given how costly and time-consuming mistakes with flooring become.



Our Recommendation

We recommend you work with a licensed flooring contractor to get an accurate idea of how much your wood floor refinishing project will cost and receive potential warranties or guarantees on the job. Know that flooring is one area where the up-front cost translates into long-term quality and durability, so carefully consider all your options with a professional home improvement company before committing.

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Refinishing Hardwood Floors Cost FAQ

Is it more cost-effective to refinish or replace hardwood floors?

Refinishing hardwood is more cost-effective than replacing it. Even if it requires removing a few severely damaged planks, refinishing will generally always cost less than tearing out the entire floor.

When should you not refinish hardwood floors?

We recommend that if over 30% of your hardwood floor has received damage, you should replace the hardwood flooring rather than try to refinish it.

Can you stay in your house while refinishing hardwood floors?

Yes, you can stay in your house while refinishing hardwood floors. However, you may need to take some safety precautions because the refinishing process involves using chemicals, such as water or oil- or water-based polyurethane, and machinery that produces dust. Some people are more sensitive to these things than others.