Skip to content

how long does refinishing hardwood floors take

Refinishing hardwood floors typically takes a few days to a week. Now, let’s delve into the details of the process.

Hardwood floors are a popular choice among homeowners due to their durability and timeless aesthetic. However, over time, they may become worn or damaged, requiring refinishing to restore their beauty. The refinishing process involves sanding down the existing finish, filling any gaps or cracks, applying a new stain or finish, and sealing the floor.

Each step requires time to properly complete, and the timeline can vary depending on the size of the area, the condition of the floor, and the specific products and techniques used. Additionally, factors such as drying and curing time also contribute to the overall duration of the project. By understanding the general timeframe involved, homeowners can plan accordingly to minimize disruption and enjoy their beautifully refinished hardwood floors.

How Long Does Refinishing Hardwood Floors Take: A Complete Time Guide


Factors Affecting Refinishing Time

Refinishing hardwood floors can be influenced by various factors, impacting the overall time needed. These factors include the square footage of the area, the floor’s condition, the type of finish used, and any necessary repairs or preparation work.

Factors Affecting Refinishing Time When it comes to refinishing hardwood floors, the time it takes to complete the process can vary. Several factors come into play, which can affect the overall duration of the project. In this section, we will explore the key factors that influence how long it takes to refinish hardwood floors. H3#: Size of the Floor The size of the floor is a crucial factor in determining how long it will take to refinish hardwood floors. Larger floors naturally require more time to complete the refinishing process. A small room with hardwood flooring can generally be refinished in a shorter time span compared to a large living area or a sprawling office space. H3#: Type of Flooring The type of hardwood flooring also plays a significant role in the refinishing time. Different types of hardwood have unique characteristics that can impact the duration of the process. Solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, and laminate hardwood each have their own refinishing requirements. For example, solid hardwood floors can be sanded multiple times, whereas engineered hardwood may have specific limitations. Understanding the type of hardwood flooring you have is crucial for estimating the refinishing time accurately. H3#: Condition of the Flooring The condition of the flooring is another key factor to consider when estimating the refinishing time. If the hardwood floor has extensive damage, such as deep scratches, stains, or unevenness, it may require additional time to repair and prepare for refinishing. The level of damage will determine the amount of sanding and repairs needed before the refinishing process can begin. Furthermore, how well the floor has been maintained over the years can affect the time it takes to refinish. Neglected floors with layers of old finishes or excessive wax buildup may require more effort and time to strip away those layers before proceeding with the refinishing. On the other hand, if the floor is in relatively good condition and only requires a light sanding and a new finish, the process can be completed more quickly. To sum up, several factors affect the time it takes to refinish hardwood floors. The size of the floor, the type of flooring, and the condition of the flooring all play significant roles. By understanding these factors, you can make a more accurate estimate of how long the refinishing process will take for your hardwood floors.

Preparation Process

Before you embark on the journey of refinishing your hardwood floors, it is essential to properly prepare the space. This involves removing furniture and obstacles, sanding the floor, and cleaning it thoroughly. By following these crucial steps, you can ensure a smooth and successful refinishing process.

Removing Furniture And Obstacles

In order to refinish hardwood floors, it is imperative to clear the area of any furniture and obstacles. This step not only provides unobstructed access to the floor but also protects your belongings from potential damage. When removing furniture, remember to lift it instead of dragging to prevent scratches or gouges. Additionally, consider using plastic sheets or tarps to cover anything that cannot be relocated, such as built-in cabinets or large appliances.

Sanding The Floor

Once the space is cleared, it is time to sand the hardwood floor. Sanding helps to remove the existing finish and imperfections, allowing for a smooth and even surface. It is recommended to use a drum sander for the main area and an edger for the corners and edges. Begin with a coarse-grit sandpaper and gradually work your way to finer grits. Remember to sand parallel to the grain of the wood for optimal results. Regularly check the sandpaper and change it when needed. Take breaks intermittently to allow the sander to cool down and prevent overheating.

Cleaning The Floor

After sanding, it is important to thoroughly clean the floor to remove any dust or debris. Start by vacuuming the floor using a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to capture both loose particles and the fine dust left behind from sanding. Follow up with a damp mop or cloth to eliminate any remaining dust. Ensure that the floor is completely dry before moving on to the next steps.

Staining And Finishing

Staining and finishing are crucial steps in the process of refinishing hardwood floors. Not only do they enhance the appearance of the wood, but they also provide protection against wear and tear. Let’s explore each step in detail:

Choosing The Stain Color

One of the most exciting parts of refinishing hardwood floors is selecting the stain color that matches your aesthetic preferences. You can choose from a wide range of tones, including light, medium, and dark shades. Take into consideration the color of your furniture and the overall décor of the room when making your decision. Remember, the stain color will determine the final look of your floors, so choose wisely!

Applying The Stain

Once you’ve chosen the stain color, it’s time to apply it to the hardwood surface. Before starting, make sure the area is clean and free from dust. You can achieve this by thoroughly sanding the floor and removing any debris. Next, use a brush, sponge, or cloth to apply the stain evenly, following the grain of the wood. Start in a small, inconspicuous area to ensure you achieve the desired color. Allow the stain to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Applying The Finish

Applying the finish is the final step in refinishing hardwood floors. The finish not only adds a protective layer to the wood but also gives it a polished and glossy appearance. There are various types of finishes available, including oil-based and water-based options. Apply the finish using a roller or brush, ensuring even coverage. It’s recommended to apply multiple coats, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next. This will ensure a durable and long-lasting finish.

How Long Does Refinishing Hardwood Floors Take: A Complete Time Guide


Drying And Curing Time

Refinishing hardwood floors typically takes around 3-5 days, depending on the size of the space and the drying and curing time needed. It’s important to give the floors ample time to dry and cure before they can be used again.

Drying Time

One of the most important factors to consider when refinishing hardwood floors is the drying time. After the sanding and staining process, the newly finished floors need time to dry before they can be used. The drying time can vary depending on various factors such as the type of finish used, humidity levels, and temperature in the room.

On average, water-based finishes typically dry faster than oil-based finishes. Water-based finishes can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours to dry to touch, while oil-based finishes may require 8 to 10 hours. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the specific drying time for the finish you are using.

Once the finish has dried to touch, it’s important to let it cure properly before subjecting the floors to regular use.

Curing Time

The curing time refers to the period it takes for the finish to harden and fully bond to the wood surface. While the drying time may give the illusion of a finished floor, the curing time is crucial for achieving a durable and long-lasting result. It’s during the curing process that the finish strengthens and becomes resistant to everyday wear and tear.

The curing time can vary depending on the type of finish used and the environmental conditions. Generally, water-based finishes have a shorter curing time compared to oil-based finishes. Water-based finishes may fully cure within 1 to 2 weeks, while oil-based finishes may require 2 to 3 weeks.

During the curing time, it’s important to avoid placing any furniture or rugs on the floors, as this could cause the finish to dent or leave marks. It’s also crucial to keep the room well-ventilated to allow for proper airflow and faster curing.

In conclusion, the drying and curing time are essential considerations when refinishing hardwood floors. While the drying time may be relatively quick, it’s important to allow ample time for the finish to cure and harden for a durable and long-lasting result. Patience during the drying and curing process will ensure that your newly refinished hardwood floors will look beautiful and stand the test of time.

Additional Considerations

When it comes to refinishing hardwood floors, there are several additional considerations that can affect the overall timeline of the project. Some factors, such as ventilation, temperature and humidity, the number of coats applied, and whether the project is tackled by a professional or done as a DIY endeavor, can all impact how long it takes to refinish your hardwood floors.

1. Ventilation

Proper ventilation is essential during the refinishing process to ensure the safety of both the individuals working on the floors and the overall quality of the finish. Adequate ventilation helps to reduce the accumulation of fumes and promotes air circulation, which aids in the drying process.

When refinishing your hardwood floors, make sure the workspace is well-ventilated. Open windows and use fans to direct fumes outside. This not only helps you to breathe comfortably, but it also facilitates faster drying of the stain and finish.

2. Temperature And Humidity

The temperature and humidity levels within your home can have a significant influence on the time it takes for your hardwood floors to refinish. Both high humidity and low temperatures can extend the drying time, whereas low humidity and higher temperatures can speed up the process.

Optimal conditions for refinishing hardwood floors are typically between 60-80°F (15-27°C) with humidity levels around 40-60%. Maintaining these temperature and humidity ranges facilitates proper drying and ensures a high-quality finish.

3. Number Of Coats

The number of coats applied to your hardwood floors can also impact the overall time required for refinishing. Generally, applying multiple coats provides a more durable and longer-lasting finish. However, each additional coat adds time to the process.

Consider your desired level of protection and durability when deciding on the number of coats. While a single coat may be sufficient for minor touch-ups, a higher-traffic area may require multiple coats for optimal performance.

4. Professional Vs. Diy

Deciding whether to hire a professional or undertake the refinishing project yourself can also affect the timeline. Hiring professionals can save you time and effort, as they possess the necessary expertise and equipment to complete the job efficiently. Additionally, professionals often have a team that can work simultaneously, speeding up the process.

However, opting for a DIY approach can be cost-effective and provide a sense of satisfaction. Keep in mind that refinishing hardwood floors yourself may require more time, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the process or lack access to professional-grade equipment.

Considering these additional factors along with the size and condition of your hardwood floors will help you estimate how long it will take to refinish them. Remember, each project is unique, and being aware of these considerations helps you plan accordingly and achieve the best results for your hardwood floor refinishing endeavor.

How Long Does Refinishing Hardwood Floors Take: A Complete Time Guide


Frequently Asked Questions For How Long Does Refinishing Hardwood Floors Take

How Long Does It Take To Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Refinishing hardwood floors typically takes 3 to 5 days. The exact time depends on factors such as the size of the area, the condition of the floors, and the drying time between coats of finish. It’s important to allow ample time for the process to ensure a high-quality result.

Is It Worth It To Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Yes, refinishing hardwood floors is worth it. It can restore the natural beauty of your floors, remove scratches and stains, and increase the value of your home. It’s a cost-effective alternative to replacing the entire flooring and can extend the lifespan of your hardwood floors for years to come.

Can I Walk On Refinished Hardwood Floors Right Away?

No, you should wait before walking on refinished hardwood floors. While the exact drying time depends on the type of finish used, it generally takes about 24 to 48 hours for the finish to cure. It’s important to avoid walking on the floors during this time to prevent any potential damage to the finish.

How Often Do Hardwood Floors Need To Be Refinished?

Hardwood floors typically need to be refinished every 7 to 10 years, but this can vary depending on the amount of foot traffic and wear they experience. Signs that your floors need to be refinished include dullness, scratches, and stains that can no longer be removed with simple cleaning.

Regular maintenance can help to extend the time between refinishing.


From start to finish, refinishing hardwood floors can seem like a daunting task. However, with proper planning and execution, the process can be completed smoothly and efficiently. By understanding the steps involved and the factors that can affect the timeline, homeowners can get a clearer idea of how long the project might take.

With the right tools, expertise, and patience, refinishing hardwood floors will give your space a fresh new look that will last for years to come. So, don’t hesitate to embark on this rewarding home improvement project!