How Much Does It Cost to Redo Hardwood Floor?

Cost to redo hardwood floors

Hardwood floors are one of the best flooring options available to homeowners. They add warmth to a home and are quite easy to clean and maintain. With time, hardwood floors can get scratches, gouges, and scuff marks which can give them an old and worn-out appearance. We recommend homeowners redo their hardwood floors every 15 years to maintain its appearance. This causes many homeowners to worry about the cost to redo hardwood floors as doing so involves prep work, sanding, staining, and finishing.

Generally, the cost to redo hardwood floors is almost half of installing new ones. Here is a complete breakdown of the costs involved in redoing hardwood floors.

The Average Cost to Redo Hardwood Floors

The average cost to redo hardwood floor lies between $1074 and $2478. The price variation reflects the area of your hardwood floor and its current condition. So, a large and complex job can even push the maximum cost to $4,000. Typically, homeowners spend an average of $1,743 on redoing their hardwood floors. Other factors that can influence your cost to redo hardwood floors include the state you reside in and the accessibility of your hardwood flooring.

The average per square foot cost to redo hardwood floors comes out to be $4.75. Most homeowners usually spend somewhere between $3 and $8 per square foot to redo their hardwood floors. Essentially, there are 2 methods that you can choose from to redo your hardwood floor.

  • Traditional method – This involves moving furniture, sanding, refinishing, and cleaning. Its average cost lies between $3 and $6 per square foot.
  • Dustless method – This involves professionals who use advanced commercial vacuums to minimize the dust. This is more expensive than the previous one and can cost between $5 and $8.

The area of the room in question is an important factor in determining the complete cost to redo hardwood floor. For instance, the cost to redo a hardwood floor in a living room measuring 20×16 foot comes out to be $1,230. Similarly, the cost to redo hardwood floors in a 12×12 bedroom turns out to be approximately $540.

You can ask your contractor to give you a discount if you have a large area that needs to be redone. Generally, contractors view larger projects to be very profitable and are willing to offer a discount to get the job.

Removing Current Flooring

Your hardwood flooring will need refinishing if it is placed beneath your old carpet, tile, or wood flooring. This will add to your overall cost of redoing hardwood floors.

You can hire a separate contractor to remove your old flooring quickly and efficiently. Here are the costs of removing certain types of flooring.

Carpet or Linoleum

Removing and disposing of a carpet can cost you anywhere between $0.50 and $1 per square foot. You can try doing this job yourself if you have the right tools to remove adhesives and scrape off linoleum.


Removing tile is a much more expensive job than simply removing carpet. It can cost anywhere between $1.50 and $4 per square foot. We strongly advise you to get this job done by a professional as they will have the right equipment to remove the tile properly. If you take up the job yourself, you can potentially damage the concrete below.


Removing wooden flooring costs about $1-$4 per square foot depending on how it’s installed. Removing floating floors generally costs much less than removing other types of floors.

Condition of Your Hardwood Floor

Another important factor in determining your cost to redo hardwood floors is its condition. This includes the quality of the current floor finish and the presence of wax. Let’s have a look at each in detail.

Quality of Floor Finish

Before you start redoing your hardwood floor, you will have to strip off the old varnish or paint. This cost can range from $1.75 – $4 per square foot. However, the cost can go up if the previous finishing job wasn’t done properly.

Removing Wax

To prep your floor for sanding, you will first have to scrape off all the wax residue. This can cost you anywhere between $0.75 – $4 per square foot. The actual cost depends on the amount of wax that has to be removed.

Cost of Sanding the Floor

Sanding is a crucial step that has to be done irrespective of the condition of your floors. It typically costs $0.50 – $3 per square foot to sand hardwood floors. Thus, the cost to sand a room with dimensions 12 x 14 feet can lie between $80 to $500. However, the actual cost of sanding depends on the condition of your hardwood floors and the extent of sanding that needs to be done. There are 2 types of sanding: light sanding and hard sanding.

  • Light Sanding – Lightly sanding or screening the floor can cost as low as $0.78 per square foot.
  • Hard Sanding – If the condition of your floor is not good, your contractor will have to make 3 passes to sand down to the bare floor. This can cost you approximately $2.34 per square foot.

We strongly recommend that you avoid taking up this task yourself. If you’re not experienced, you can ruin your floor and increase your cost to redo hardwood floors.

Cost of Cleaning the Floor

This step won’t be necessary if you opted for a dustless method. However, if you chose the traditional method, you will have to thoroughly clean your floor after sanding. This will ensure that none of the dust particles get caught in the finish.

You can have your hardwood floors cleaned for only $0.89 per square foot. This cost includes two stages of cylindrical rubbing along with hand scrubbing and edging.

Cost of Staining the Floor

Staining will add approximately $1 – $3 in your overall cost to redo hardwood floors. The price variation primarily reflects the quality of the stain you use. For instance, high-quality stains will cost you about $100 whereas lower-quality stains will cost you $30.

Another important factor that influences the cost of staining is the type of floor wood. Different types of woods require a different number of coats. For instance, softer woods like cedar and pine need 2 to 3 coats of stain. The average cost of one coat is about $0.34 per square foot.

If you like the existing color of your floor and want to cut down your cost to redo hardwood floor, you can even skip this step.

Cost of Refinishing the Floor

Refinishing is one of the major influencers in your cost to redo hardwood floors. There are numerous types of wood finishes that you can choose from. One gallon of wood finisher typically costs between $40 and $60. Generally, the oil-based finish is the cheapest.

Here is a list of all the different types of wood finish along with their costs.

Oil-Based Wood Finish

Oil-based polyurethane is a very popular finish because of its traditional look. This finish lasts long costs between $24 and $36 per gallon. The average cost of an oil-based finish is approximately $30 per gallon. The best thing about this finish is that it does a good job of hiding scratches.

Water-Based Finish

Water-based wood finish costs between $25 and $50 per gallon. The biggest advantage of a water-based finish is its ability to dry quickly. However, since this finish dries quickly, you have to make sure that it is applied properly the first time.

Acid-Cured Finish

The acid-coat finish is also known as the Swedish finish. It costs between $56 and $67 per gallon with an average cost of $62 per gallon. The acid-cured finish is extremely durable. However, it has a very strong odor and is highly inflammable.

Wax Finish

Wax finish costs an average of $40 per gallon. Homeowners prefer to get wax finish because of its natural appearance.

Natural Oil Finish

There are 3 types of natural oil finish. These include:

  • Penetrating oils
  • Hardwax oils
  • Hybrid oils

This finish is expensive and costs $80 – $139 per quarter and doesn’t conceal scratches properly. However, this finish has a very natural appearance and is suitable for humid climates.

Labor Costs

Redoing hardwood floors is a difficult job requiring skilled and experienced contractors. The average labor cost to redo hardwood floors is $3.50 per square foot. However, this price differs according to the area. For instance, the labor cost will be higher in upscale areas where the living costs are high.

Other Costs to Redo Hardwood Floors

Here is a list of other miscellaneous costs associated with redoing hardwood floors.


If your hardwood floor has deep scratches, you will have to get them repaired before applying a new coat. This can cost you $25 – $100 depending on the extent of repairs needed.

Moving Furniture

Some contractors do include it in their quote whereas others don’t. Therefore, you must ask your contractor how they will account for it so that you get a fair estimate. It can typically cost between $30 to $50 to move furniture from one room to another.

Parting Words

The cost to redo hardwood floors might be high but it’s definitely going to be worth it. We suggest that before you allocate a budget and get quotes from multiple contractors to get the lowest price.

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