Cost of Wood Flooring

If you are trying to determine the cost of wood flooring for your budget purposes, the following information may be of some benefit to you.

As with any cost determination, many factors will come into play.

Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Original hardwood floors can significantly add to the overall attractiveness of any house if they are in decent condition. In fact, for some potential home buyers, a house with beautifully finished hardwood flooring may certainly tip the scale in favor of a purchase.

picture of hardwood floor

Old hardwood that has been carefully and professionally refinished, is always a strong attraction for most people. Make sure that it is in reasonably good shape to begin with. If, however, the floor is in really solid shape, a good cleaning and buffing may be all you need to bring out the natural hardwood shine.

It should be noted here, however, that when a commercial sander is used (by a professional) during the stripping phase, the sander will take off (sand off the top of the floor) a layer of 1/32 of flooring. The point being is that many defects – staining, nicks, scratches and other blemishes – can be sanded completely out to a smooth finish. When sealed, stained, and finished, the real beauty of the wood will shine forth, and ultimately will be a great selling point of the house, despite the relatively high finishing costs involved.

You can expect to pay between $3 and $4 per square feet of floor space for the refinish part of the cost of wood flooring.

As for the actual refinishing process, this would involve the following steps (in days):

Day One: The sanding of the floor surface. In addition to stripping the old finish off, any deep dents, cracks, and splits that weren’t removed in the initial sanding process are filled with putty, and sanded. This process can go to two days if there is a large area to be redone.

Still in day one is the next step of staining, if applicable. Some people prefer the natural look of flooring versus any stain to actually be applied to the surface of the floor.

Day 2: Apply polyurethane and let dry overnight.

Day 3: Lightly sand floor to remove blemishes as a result from previous days application. Apply 2nd coat of polyurethane and let dry overnight.

Day 4: Repeat process of day 3.

Day 5: The floor should be fit to walk on by the end of the day.

New Hardwood Flooring Installation

installing hardwood flooring

If you want to have new hardwood flooring installed, expect the cost of hardwood flooring to be around $7 to $8 per square feet of floor space.

Certainly more expensive, and the use of natural hardwood does not come cheap these days. But by adding natural hardwood floors to your house where there was none previously, you add real value to the house.

This process takes about a day or two to accomplish depending on how big an area is to be installed. This first (install) step is followed by the finish steps detailed in the above refinishing steps. Same steps for finishing new hardwood are basically the same that is required for refinishing floors. The cost of wood flooring prices for the finishing phase are typically $3 and $4 per square foot.

Note: The price shown reflects the cost of material as well as the labor for installation.

If you would like to have a decorative design inlay, you can have the installers to cut and mitre (angled cuts) complimentary wood pieces precisely fit within your basic flooring.

And, like any cost of wood flooring regarding installation, custom inlay does not come cheap, starting at around $8 and going to approximately $15 per lineal feet of custom inlay installed.

As far as a total cost of wood flooring for new floor installation and finish process, you’re going to pay somewhere around $10 and $12 per square feet of floor space, depending on the type of hardwood used: oak, maple, cherry, etc. The prices for the different types of wood vary.


If you’re thinking of do-it-yourself refinishing – think again. While you can certainly accomplish this task yourself, consider spending a few more bucks to let someone (hopefully a pro!) else do it. There’s just too much to do that requires an experienced, knowledgeable person when operating the machinery and performing the actual work.

By all means, do the minor wood flooring repairs yourself to save a little money. But we think it would be wise to let the pros do the rest of the bigger repairs.