Hardwood floors are elegant and durable. They provide charm and warmth to the room. That’s why they are so popular. The best is you can bring a lackluster hardwood floor back into life by means of sanding and polishing at a reasonable cost.

The normal expected life of a good quality hardwood is over two decades in which it can be sanded and polished more than 5 times. As a matter of fact, refinishing a hardwood floor is five times cheaper than having it replaced. So here is a million dollar question: how much does it cost to sand and polish an aged hardwood floor?

The cost depends on the factors such as where you live, how old the floor is, the floor type and condition and indeed the size of the floor you are planning to refinish.

Polishing or sanding and refinishing?

The first thing you should consider is whether your floor just needs a simple polish or you should go beyond and sand and polish it. Although the result may be the same, it makes a big difference in the cost.

If you have just installed the floor and you want to restore its shiny look, polishing is a better yet cheaper option. If you don’t like the color of the floor while it is in a good condition, don’t think of sanding or replacing. Most hardwood floors can be easily stained by spending a low cost. The good news is that you can do the job of hardwood polishing or staining yourself and save a lot of money without hiring fancy equipment.

All you need to buy polish and paintbrush and dive into the work. Polishing revives a hardwood floor filling its surface scratches and make it look fresh and glossy. Even so, the floor may look great, it is advised to polish hardwood floors frequently. Polishing a floor creates a protective layer on its surface and thus extends its life. On the other hand, if your floor is rather old or it is looking weary and teary, then sanding and polishing comes into the equation.

If you can see the cracks or gouges on the floor, some woods are chipped and worn or there is an animal stain or termite damage on the floor, it is time for sanding and refinishing. Although it is more expensive than polishing but the result would be incredible and enduring.

Hire a professional or Do It Yourself (DIY)?

If you wonder to DIY or not to DIY you may regard some points. Sanding a timber floor is a dusty, messy and tedious task. The room should be unoccupied and you have to remove all furniture from the room while the sanding is going on.

Sawdust produced by sanding the floor is spread into the air and unless the doorways sealed well it can penetrate other rooms. Varnishes used to polish the floor are stinky and sometimes toxic. It usually requires at least 4-5 days to finish the task yourself. If it is not carried out in a right manner, you can even damage your precious hardwood floor through the sanding.

If your floor is too old and that you can see deep cracks, dents or gouges on it or the floor wood is too thin, seeking out a professional service may be a better option. Hiring a flooring expert is more expensive but it takes less time and the result will be superior. However, if you have not enough money and you have plenty of time, you can refinish the floor yourself. Since a floor sanding machine is not used too often, it is more economical to hire one than to buy it. In addition, you need an edge sander to tackle hard to reach floor corners. Always ask a local expert to choose a polish type that is compatible with your hardwood floor type.

Square Footage

The larger your floor is, the more you have to spend for sanding and polishing. The cost of floor refinishing is usually is calculated per square foot. On the contrary, most companies charge more per square foot for smaller areas like small bathrooms and laundry rooms.

The reason is that most floor refinishing equipment is large and cumbersome and thus it is difficult to get into and sand down a narrow region. It is recommended that you hire a professional with specific equipment to refinish a tight room rather than doing the job alone.

Quite the contrary, you can get a discount when you refinish a large space or multiple rooms at once. Just in case you have missed out on the first part of this post, please Read Part 1


The cost of refinishing a hardwood floor varies with where you live. It depends on the country and the size of the city. In general, as the labor cost is higher in big cities, companies located in large metropolitan cities offer their services at a higher rate per square foot.

Condition of the Floor

When a hardwood floor is terribly damaged, refinishing it is not effective and it should be repaired prior to sanding. The time and effort required to fix a hardwood floor increase the overall cost of the process.

Since sanding a moving and squeaky timber floor makes its condition worse you should first counter-sunk all loose board nails. It is important to replace any warped or cracked planks, puffy all holes, and treat deep stains before starting to sand down. The older the floor is, the deeper sanding is needed to revitalising it which means more money and time.

The colour of the floor

If you are not happy with the colour of your hardwood floor, changing the colour impose you some extra costs. If you want to paint a floor with a darker colour, it typically does not add much to the total cost. However, if the floor is currently stained with a dark colour and you wish to replace it with a lighter colour it takes more effort and time and thus more money.

Material costs

The quality and type of hardwood floor finishes contribute to the overall cost. If you opt to use a low-range or mid-range, the project cost will be less. However, if you pay a little more and buy high-end sealants and waxes you will enjoy the luxurious and longer-lasting result.

Polyurethane finishes, the most popular finishes for wood floors, come in two types: water-based and oil-based. Water-based polyurethane finishes are more expensive but they highlight the natural color and grain of the wood. Their advantage is that they dry fast and spread low odour.

Water-based varnishes are the best choice when the family cannot leave the home while refinishing the floor. The Oil-based polyurethane finishes also give a glowing amber look to the floor. They are cheaper but more stinky and last longer to dry. The benefit is that a project utilising an oil based finished needs only two or three coats, which means less work.


Stairs usually experience high foot traffic and are prone to tear and wear. Because finishing small areas demand more skill, time and specific equipment, the price of refinishing stairs and rails is much higher. Since most of the work is done by hand, most contractors will charge you per step rather than per square foot for restoring stairs.

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Extra costs

There are also some hidden costs. As mentioned, all furniture has to be cleared before refinishing to start. A good idea is to move the furniture out of the room yourself. Otherwise, you have to take the cost into account. As the sanding is messy and dusty work, someone should clean up the room afterward.

You may need to consider the cost too when estimating the total expense. When the wood is covered by carpet, cork or vinyl tiles you should remove them or rip them up to reach the floor beneath.

The cost is minimal when you do it yourself rather than letting the job for contractor companies. Last but not least, some exotic floor types such as cumaru, ipe or wenge are usually charged more to refinish.

You should spend on average $1.5 to $4 per square foot to sand and polish a hardwood floor. The costs vary with factors such as the size, condition, and type of the floor as well as where you live.

Although you can save money refinishing the floor by the DIY approach, it is up to you to do it yourself or get in done by a professional which results in a more fashionable and durable floor.