How long does it take to refinish hardwood floors?

How long does it take to refinish hardwood floors

Hardwood floors are an ideal addition to your home because they add value and hardly require any maintenance. They’re also a heck of a lot easier to clean than carpets.

A National Association of Realtors survey found that installing new hardwood floors gave consumers a “10 Joy Score” because of the immense satisfaction they experienced once work was done. A further 64 percent said that thinking about their new flooring gave them a “major sense of accomplishment.”

This post explores how long it takes to refinish hardwood floors and what the process involves.

How long it takes to refinish hardwood floors

Hardwood floor refinishing involves sanding down and buffing an existing hardwood floor and applying new protective products to the surface. This maintenance is necessary because hardwood floors can become scratched, damaged, or discolored over time. Refinishing restores them to their natural beauty and can make them look as good as new.

How long it takes to refinish hardwood floors depends on various factors, such as the size of the area requiring work, the condition of the wood, the type of finish, and the refinishing method. Refinishing hardwood floors can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Refinishing hardwood floors can be exceptionally rewarding because it restores the value of your home. It also improves how it looks. Many owners report that their hardwood floors look just as good, if not better, after maintenance than when they were new.

How does hardwood floor refinishing work?

Professional hardwood floor refinishing involves several steps to remove the old finish and apply the new one.

Prepare the room

The first step is to prepare the room by removing all furniture, rugs, curtains, and other items from the area. Professionals will often cover vents, outlets, and switches with plastic and tape to prevent dust from getting in. They may also seal the door as well if there is a risk of dust entering other parts of the home.

Sand the floor

The next step is to sand the floor. Historically, installers did this manually. However, today, contractors use a drum sander or an orbital sander. These tools remove the old finish and smooth out any scratches, dents, or stains on the wood.

Professionals begin with coarse-grit sandpaper to remove the roughest material and work up to a fine-grit one. They then sand along the direction of the wood grain while avoiding going over the same spot too many times, vacuuming the dust after each sanding pass.

Fill gaps and cracks

Once sanding is complete, contractors must create a perfectly level surface using wood filler or putty to fill any gaps or cracks in the floor. Most choose a filler that matches the color of your wood or stain it later.

The filler application is done by hand. Contractors put it in place and then sand it with a fine-grit paper until it is flush with the surrounding flooring.

Apply the stain

The next part of hardwood floor refinishing is the application of the stain. Contractors will include this step if you want to change the color of your wood.

Here, professionals apply a stain with a rag or a brush, following the manufacturer’s instructions. They apply it in small sections and then wipe off any excess with a clean rag, leaving it to dry for at least 24 hours.

Apply the finish

Next comes the main event – applying the new finish. Always choose a finish that suits your preference and needs. Options include polyurethane, varnish, shellac, or wax.

Contractors apply finishes using a lambswool applicator, a brush, or a roller, starting from one corner of the room and working their way across.

Most products require at least two coats with a four-hour drying period between applications. Professionals often lightly sand between applications to help the subsequent coat adhere better.

Enjoy your new flooring

After the final coat of finish is dry, contractors will remove all the plastic and tape from the room and clean up any dust or debris. They will then tell you to wait 48 hours for the finish to set before moving any furniture back into the room.

And that’s it! Your new flooring is ready for you to use!

Additional Tips and Precautions

While waiting for your floors to dry, make sure to keep pets and children away from the area. The fumes from the finish may be harmful, and you want to avoid any foot traffic that could damage the drying surface.

When moving furniture back into the room, consider using felt pads under the legs to help protect your newly refinished hardwood floors from scratches and dents. These pads can also make moving furniture easier and quieter.

Maintaining Your Refinished Hardwood Floors

To keep your refinished hardwood floors looking beautiful and prolong their lifespan, follow a regular maintenance routine. Sweep or vacuum your floors regularly to remove dirt and dust, and use a damp mop with a hardwood floor cleaner to keep the surface clean.

Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning tools on your hardwood floors, as they can damage the finish. Also, be mindful of potential water damage. Wipe up spills immediately and avoid using excessive water when mopping.

Use area rugs and runners in high-traffic areas to help protect the floors from wear and tear. Regularly trim your pets’ nails to prevent scratches and consider using a humidifier during dry months to maintain a consistent humidity level, which can help prevent wood expansion and contraction.


Refinishing hardwood floors is not always a long process. It usually only takes a few days, depending on the complexity of the room. By the end of it, your flooring should look as good as new. Regular maintenance and care will ensure that your hardwood floors remain beautiful and durable for years to come. Get in touch with Matt’s Professional Flooring today to get more information on your hardwood floors.

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