5 Things To Know Before Refinishing Hardwood Floors

If you have an older home, some of its best features might be hiding in plain sight. So many American homes feature gorgeous hardwood floors that are just waiting to be reinvigorated. If your floors are dull and in need of a re-do, refinishing your floors is the perfect way to add some polish and sparkle back into your dusty-looking floors. But don’t be fooled: Refinishing your floors is not an easy (or quick) job. It takes time, money, and some very skilled contractors who actually know what they’re doing. Refinishing your hardwood flooring can be an even trickier prospect if you’re doing it as part of a major home revival project. Still, with the right advice and a great contractor, you can get an expert hardwood floor refinishing job done no matter what state your floor is currently in. If you’re thinking about giving your floors a new look, here are a few things to think about before making any concrete plans.

1. The Right Contractor is Key

You don’t want to trust your precious wood floors to just anyone, especially if they’re in lamentable shape. Getting the right contractor for the job will help you make a more informed decision about treating your floors. For instance, the right contractor could help you choose a stain that’s going to bring out your wood’s strong features without accentuating dirty spots or imperfections. You’ll also need someone who can work around your schedule. Depending on the square footage of the area you’re trying to refinish, the job could take anywhere from a few days to a week. If you’re planning on doing your floors as part of an ongoing renovation project, you’ll also want to hire someone who can take on everything without doing a rushed job. The contractor you choose should be licensed and insured and should be able to give you an all-inclusive estimate without a ton of surprise fees and unexpected costs. Ask for references, and make sure you have a face-to-face interview with all your prospective contractors.

2. Cost and Time May Vary

As with job of this scale, you’ll be looking at different estimates depending on sizing as well as what condition your floor is in. Most contractors will charge by the square foot, and a conservative estimate would be anywhere from $3 to $5. This means that if you’re working with a larger area, you’ll be looking at not only a higher cost, but a longer work period that will leave the treated area pretty much unusable during the sanding, treating, and staining phase. Floors that are 500 square feet or larger may take upwards of a week to finish, so always be prepared for a long wait.

3. You May Want to Clear Out

In addition to taking a bit of time, your floor refinishing job may also end up making your home an uncomfortable place to spend time in for a while. With all that sanding and sawing, your home is liable to fill up with sawdust particles, making it a good idea for you and your family to pack up and head to a friend’s house or a motel for the duration. After the sanding process, you’ll be looking at a 24-hour “curing” period while your floors are being sealed. This comes with unpleasant fumes and an entire day of inconvenience for family members who want to easily get from one room to the next. If your job is going to take more than a few days, your best bet is to clear out.

4. Save Your Refinishing For Last

Because refinishing your floors is going to take time and throw your home into upheaval, it’s always wise to do it last in a series of home improvement projects. For instance, if you’re doing this as part of an expansion or general sprucing-up of your first floor, don’t tend to your floors first only to let them get ruined with paint, sawdust, and other debris from the rest of your contracted projects. Your floors should be the absolute last thing on your list. This won’t just make it easier for your family to move around the house during a long-term renovation project, it will protect your new floors from getting ruined before they’ve even had time to set.

5. You Can Do It On a Budget

If your floors are looking rough but you simply don’t have the cash to spend on an all-out refinishing project, you can do your own renovations by sanding down your own wood, patching everything up, and adding your own stain and coating. You’ll only have to pay for supplies since you’ll be doing all the labor, and you can even rent a sanding machine from your local home improvement store. However, be aware that taking on a DIY refinishing job may come with hidden or unexpected costs, and you may take a bit longer than a traditional contractor would.