Refinishing Hardwood Floors

A nice perk to having solid hardwood floors is the ability to re-finish them, whether you are seeking a different look or need to repair surface damages from a previous owner. Depending on the surface thickness, you can also refinish engineered hardwood if the top veneer is thick enough (over 2mm). By refinishing your floors, you can add value to your home, bring life back into worn floors and get the look you want.

When to Refinish

Refinishing hardwood floors is an investment and not an easy project for the average DIYer. Many people will put refinishing off by covering worn areas with rugs or furniture. Here are some of the most common reasons people refinish their hardwood floors:

  • Years of wear and tear leaving the surface dull or damaged in large areas
  • Pet stains that have ruined the surface
  • New home purchases to get the look and style you want
  • Remodeling
  • Adding value to a home for sale
  • Keeping the character in an older home
  • Removing carpet or flooring that covered hardwood floors


Like we mentioned, this can be a daunting task for the everyday DIYer. Refinishing is best handled by an experienced flooring refinisher. Here’s the basic steps that go into refinishing hardwood floors.

  1. Remove all of the base moldings from the space with a prybar.
  2. Fix any planks that are squeaky or loose. Add finishing nails to any plank that needs repaired.
  3. Prepare for dust. Close off any doorways or gaps under doors to prevent dust from going into other rooms of the house.
  4. Rent the proper sander. Orbital sander or drum sander are the most common.
  5. Clean any dust from the sanding with a vacuum and broom.
  6. Continue to finish the sanding with a fine grit. Use an edge sander to get corners and edges sanded down to the rest of the floor.
  7. Clean any dust again. Dust and debris left on the floor will show up in the staining process! It is important to get the floor as free of dust as possible.
  8. Apply your preferred stain if you want to change the look.
  9. Allow the stain to dry.
  10. Apply a top coat of oil-based or water-based coating. A few coats will need to be used.

Hire a Professional

Hiring a professional to refinish your floors can save you time and frustration (especially if some of those steps have you worried). Hardwood refinishing can cost around $4 per square foot to sand, stain and finish your floors. If you’re spending the money on hardwoods, might as well hire a professional to do the job right.

Gather recommendations from friends and family first, and then check with the BBB and Angie’s List to find a credible hardwood refinishing company.

Have questions? Need a little bit of extra help? We’re here for you. Start a chat with one of our flooring experts in the box on this page and get a fast answer to your hardwood flooring questions.

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