What is the Cost to Refinish Hardwood Flooring?

Wednesday, November 16, 2022 10:00 AM

If you have hardwood flooring in your home, how does it look? Is it time to refinish, and what's the cost?

Your hardwood floors take a beating every day while tasked with the monumental responsibility of setting the design and tone for your entire home. Chances are eventually they are going to get old and tired looking. Great news! Your hardwood flooring does not need to be replaced, you just need to have it refinished so your floors look brand new again.

Here's our cost guide for your decision to refinish your hardwood floors.

FLOOR DECOR'S Cost Guide to Refinishing Hardwood Floors 

The first step is to assess the state of your floors. Here's what to look for.

Five Need-to-Refinish Signs to Look For in Your Floors

1. Lots of Scratches

A few minor scratches are nothing to worry about. However, if you have lots of scratches throughout your house either from heavy wear or a large dog, it's probably time to refinish.

2. Water Damage

Water damage is tough on hardwood floors. It could result from a number of factors including a leaky dishwasher or refrigerator, a planter that has leaked for years, pet accidents, or excessive moisture.

Some water damage such as cupping can be repaired by refinishing.

Excessive water damage causing rotted wood or mold issues would require board replacements before refinishing.

3. Faded and Discolored Floors

Have you noticed fading and discoloration throughout your floors? Over time, hardwood floors can fade or discolor from direct sunlight or when removing an area rug that may have been in place for years.

Depending upon the amount of fading you may need to add a medium stain color to your floor during the refinishing process to totally remove or hide the discoloration.

4. Black Floor Boards

Perhaps some of your floorboards have turned black. This is usually an indicator of some type of topical spillage that has stained the floor over the years.

Again you may need to replace the affected boards before refinishing

5. Wood Floors With Worn Off Polyurethane

When nothing you do seems to rejuvenate your hardwood floors, chances are that the polyurethane has worn off over the years.

Hardwood without polyurethane will absorb water and spills which quickly can ruin your flooring.

You will want to refinish your floors as soon as possible to avoid total replacement which is much more costly.

Red Oak Select Refinish

Hardwood Flooring Refinishing Options

Next, select the finish you prefer. You have three options for refinishing hardwood floors.

1. Oil Based Polyurethane

Oil-based polyurethane is the most common finish we use at Floor Decor Design Center.

It's affordable and gives the hardwood floor a richness in color as it ambers over time. Furthermore, it's very durable and, when done professionally, the finish will last for years with proper care.

Oil-based polyurethane requires 3 coats and 12 hours of drying time between coats.

Not including a stain oil-based finish is about $3.50 - $4.50 s/f.

2. Water Based Polyurethane

If you are going for a grey-stained, white-stained, or white-washed hardwood floor, you will need to use a water-based polyurethane finish since it remains clear over time, compared to oil-based finishes - as mentioned above - that amber which looks great with natural or red and brown tones but will yellow when applied to grays and whites.

Water-based polyurethane dries more quickly than oil-based, therefore allowing in some cases two coats in one day reducing the overall job time.

Water-based polyurethane is also more environmentally friendly and emits less odor - something homeowners prefer if they are living in the home at the time of refinishing.

Not including a stain, a water-based polyurethane finish is about $4.00 - $6.00 s/f.


3. Rubio Monocoat Finish

Rubio Monocoat is a unique plant-based hard-wax oil produced in Belgium. It protects and colors wood in a single coat. Rubio Monocoat oil wood floor finishes are entirely VOC-free, natural, and non-toxic. You may notice a mild vegetable oil smell initially that is not bothersome at all. This finish comes in over 40 colors.

>> See Best Oil for Wood Floors? RUBIO MONOCOAT Natural Finish

Maintenance for Rubio Monocoat is different than conventional polyurethane finished floors so we recommend visiting their website for detailed information.

The cost for Rubio Monocoat finish is about $4.75 to $6.50 s/f.

Other Cost Considerations

Staining Your Floors

If you prefer to enhance the natural finish of your floor, you can add one of the many stain colors available. We prefer Duracolor stains.

You will pay approximately $.50 to $.75 s/f for adding a stain color to the process.

Water Popping

Water popping is a process that opens the pores in hardwood flooring for more consistent stain penetration by adding water or alcohol to the wood before applying the stain. 

This process will make the stain/color look more even, and can allow you to go a bit darker and deeper with very dark stains such as Ebony, Jacobean, and Dark Walnut.

Water popping will add $.25 to $.50 s/f to your cost.

Please note that all prices are approximate and based on empty rooms with no furniture, flooring repairs, or removal of carpeting.

ARE YOU READY TO Refinish Your Hardwood Floors?

Given the information in this hardwood flooring refinishing cost guide, you have more perspective on how to budget for refinished floors. 

When you are ready to proceed, we invite you to explore by appointment one of our two showroom locations in Middletown or OrangeThere, you can see samples of the different finishes and we'll be happy to discuss your specific questions. 

In the meantime, let us know of any questions in the comments or contact us.

We look forward to helping you.

Thanks for reading,

Janine & Michael

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Note: We originally published this article on 05/06/2020, and have updated it.
Michael Phoenix, Floor Decor Design Center

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