cost of refinishing hardwood floors

Cost to sand and refinish hardwood floors DIY

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How much does it cost to sand and refinish hardwood floors yourself?

If you’re looking to save some money, consider refinishing your own hardwood floors. Refinishing wood floors is not as labor-intensive or time-consuming as you may think.

The average cost of refinishing hardwood floors is $1,000–$2,400 for 275 sq. ft., which includes materials and equipment rental costs. This amount can vary depending on the size of your home and how much furniture needs to be moved out of the room.

Before refinishing your floors, consult with a professional flooring technician who can’t know the steps involved in refinishing,  determine the best way to go about refinishing your existing wood floors. He will also leas well as how long it will take to complete the project. Expect to spend two to four days refinishing a medium-sized room.*

Expenses such as sanding equipment and flooring materials are considered when determining an average total cost per square foot for hardwood floor refinishing projects.

Is it cheaper to refinish or replace hardwood floors?

If you’re planning a home renovation, you might be wondering whether it’s cheaper to refinish or replace hardwood floors.

The answer is almost always the latter. You can say for sure that refinishing is cheaper than replacing your entire hardwood floors.

With the latter, you’d be paying not only for the new wood but also for the labor of ripping out the old wood and toting it away, not to mention patching up holes left by the old nails and filling any scratches in the floorboards.

refinishing hardwood floors yourself

When it comes to comparing costs, know that refinished floors are essentially restored floors — as close to original as possible.

Refinished floors have color added to them and usually get a coat of varnish.

They’re not necessarily going to look brand new, but they will have been redone so they’ll be as good as new from a structural standpoint.

Re-sanding and re-staining are cheap ways to restore your hardwood floors, but they aren’t going to give them back the same luster they had when they were first installed.

With new wood, you’re paying not only for the materials (most likely oak), but also for installation — ripping out old flooring, putting in new floorboards, and finishing your hardwood floors with stain.

What Are The Steps To Refinishing Hardwood Floors?

I love to refinish wood floors, but sometimes it can be a bit of a challenge.

So I’ve learned to avoid the mistakes that cause extra work and frustration. Here are my top five tips for a successful floor refinishing project.

1. Remove all the furniture and any other objects that are in the room, and lay down drop cloths before you begin

Start by cleaning the floors with a hardwood cleaner.

1. Prep the perimeter. Using 180-grit sandpaper, hand-sand the perimeter of the room and any nooks that the buffer cannot reach. Rub with the grain 4 to 6 inches out from the baseboard, working over each board until the finish dulls and a powder forms. Use progressively finer sandpaper as you move out from the wall to avoid gouging inlays and borders.

2. Wash thoroughly.

If there’s an old wax buildup on your floor, clean it up first using mineral spirits or denatured alcohol before you begin sanding. This will help avoid unnecessary sanding later on when you apply your new finish.

cleaning and refinishing hardwood floors yourself

3. Use a tiny brush and paint thinner to remove any dirt or grime from the floor and baseboards, then wipe everything clean with a dry rag.

4. Use a belt sander or orbital sander to remove the old finish from the perimeter of the room, as well as any spots that the buffer can’t reach, such as nooks or corners. Don’t worry about sanding through the hardwood—this is part of the process. You’ll use 180-grit sandpaper and hand sand your hardwood floor to get it ready for finishing.

Pro Tip: Hardwood floors should be sanded in the direction of the grain (in this case, vertical), not across it. Sand 4 to 6 inches out from your baseboards and work over each board until you’ve covered the whole room, working in 3-by-3-foot sections at a time. The more you sand, the smoother your hardwood will be when you’re finished with it.

Scuff-sand the Floor Finishing

You can’t just sand and varnish the floor. You have to scuff-sand it first.

That means putting on a dust mask, and using a rotary or orbital sander with a maroon buffing pad. You move the buffer from side to side across the floor in the direction of the grain, overlapping each course by 6 inches.

The old finish turns to powder as you go, so it’s easy to see the areas you’ve covered.

Keep the buffer moving at all times, but stop every 5 minutes or so and vacuum the pad

Cleaning is a necessary evil. It’s important to do it, but nobody wants to waste time doing it, either.

The last thing you want to be doing is spending more time cleaning than you have to!

So, here are some quick tips that can help you with vacuuming and tacking your flooring.
When using a vacuum attachment with felt or other soft-bristled material, run it in line with the flooring strips so that dust doesn’t get trapped between them.

Also, if you’re going across the flooring strips instead of along them, be sure to use a microfiber cloth instead of one made from cotton or other natural fiber.

Cotton tends to leave behind fibers that can discolor your floor.

Cut in Along the Edges First


When you’re refinishing a floor, it’s important to minimize lap marks. These are the streaks or film lines that show up as the result of poor brushing or insufficient drying time.

A good way to avoid lap marks is to brush from an inch or so beyond the edge of where your next stripe will be and then stop just before you reach this mark. The lap marks should end about 1/4 inch short of this line.

When you have a lap mark, apply a very thin coat of finish over it, then wipe off the excess with a rag. Repeat until the mark disappears or is so thin that it’s invisible under the finish coat.

kitchen cabinet refinishing

Roll Out the Poly

One of the best things about using a floor finish is that you can apply it a little at a time. It’s easier to roll out 2 or 3 gallons of finish than one gallon all at once, even though it takes longer to do it in small batches.

It’s also easier to store smaller amounts of finish and avoid waste. If you have to stop work, you don’t have to worry about keeping the remaining finish from hardening in the container.

Related Article: How to Get Paint Off of Hardwood Floors

Not only will working in small batches reduce waste, but it will also help slow down the drying process. Use a long-handled roller with a ¼-inch nap cover and move quickly—rolling back and forth across the grain for 10 minutes instead of working on one section for 20 minutes will help you keep the finish wetter longer.

Repeat after 10 minutes and brush more finish along the edge before pouring again. This gives the new coat an opportunity to bond and prevents lap marks caused by drips from previous coats.

When rolling out lacquer-based products, keep moving so you can work in wetter areas longer than dry ones that have already started to dry out. If you’re using water-based products, mix some retarder into the next batch. Retarder slows down drying

staining wood floor

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