How Long Does It Take To Refinish Hardwood Floors? + STEPS

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How Long Does It Take To Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Refinishing hardwood floors is a great way to drastically improve the look of your office, home, or rental unit. You’ve finally decided to refinish your hardwood floors, and now you have a few questions. Generally, hardwood flooring refinishing can take anywhere from two to three weeks. It’s best to allow more time if you need to strip the finish and sand down the floor. That process requires more prep work and can take up to four weeks. This blog will walk you through the steps of refinishing a floor. What you’ll need and how long it will take.

What Determines the Amount of Time To Refinish Hardwood Floors

The amount of time it takes to refinish hardwood floors depends on a few things, including:

Is Your Floor Also Waxed or Varnished?

If your floor is already sealed with a clear coat of oil or wax, you must strip away the existing sealant before refinishing. This can take anywhere from one to five days, depending on how much sealer has built up over time and what chemicals are used to remove it.

The stripping process involves applying stripper to your floor and letting it sit for several hours. Then you need to scrape off the excess with a putty knife and rinse the floor thoroughly with water. This can be repeated as often as necessary until you’re satisfied with how well it’s coming off.

How Many Coats of Finish Will You Need?

The number of coats depends on how much moisture is in your wood and how many coats are required for a stunning finish. If your wood has been sealed with polyurethane or varnish, it will take fewer coats than unfinished wood that hasn’t been sealed in any way. The more coats you apply, the darker the finish will be, but the more coats you’ll need to apply before buffing off the excess finish after each coat dries. The more coats, the longer it will take to complete the job.

Most homeowners will want two coats of finish applied over their existing wood floors before refinishing them. You may also need additional coats if there are any blemishes on your flooring or if you want extra protection from moisture damage.

How Big is the Room?

If you’re refinishing a small room, it may be possible to finish it in one day. However, your project will take longer if you have a large area or are working with stairs or other obstacles.

How Long Does It Take To Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Steps To Refinish Floors and How Long it Takes

Refinishing hardwood floors is a great way to revive your floors. Here are the steps and how long they take

Thoroughly Clean the Floor

Cleaning the floor removes. Dust, dirt, and debris may interfere with the adhesion of the finish. The cleaner the wood, the better it will look after refinishing the ng. Use a vacuum cleaner or tack cloth to remove loose dirt from the floor. Then damp mop with water and mild detergent solution, and use a broom to work it into corners and crevices. Rinse with clean water and dry completely before applying polyurethane varnish or shellac sealer coat. This may take hours or days, depending on the size of your room.

Repair Any Damage and Remove All Old Finish

If there are scratches or gouges in the flooring, you will need to repair them before refinishing. You can use sandpaper or steel wool to smooth out the surface for minor scratches. For more serious damage, you may need to fill in gaps with wood putty and sand until smooth. This step will take approximately 10 minutes per square yard of flooring surface area.

The next step is removing all the old finishes from your hardwood floors so you can start fresh with your new coating. This step takes 15-20 minutes per square yard of flooring surface area.

Sanding the Surface

Sanding is often the most time-consuming step in refinishing hardwood floors. The sanding removes layers of the old finish and prepares the wood for new coats of finish material. The amount of sanding required varies based on the quality of your existing finish and how long it has been since your floors were refinished. This is done with an electric sander that has a coarse grit. The grit depends on the type of wood and how much wear it has endured over time.

The sanding process takes about 2 hours per square foot of floor space or about 10 hours for a 1,000-square-foot room. The sanding process can be done by hand, but using an electric sander is more efficient, so you don’t have to stop every once in a while to change out your sandpaper.

Choosing the Finish

The first step in refinishing your hardwood floors is choosing the finish. You can choose from several types of finishes, including oil-based polyurethane or varnish, water-based polyurethane or varnish, or shellac. The type of finish you choose will depend on how much time and effort you want to put into the project. For instance, a shellac finish may be best for you if you want to save money on materials and have minimal prep time. However, if you don’t mind spending more money on materials and have plenty of time, then an oil-based polyurethane or varnish would be better suited for your needs.

Applying the Finish

This is the most difficult step of refinishing hardwood floors. It takes about one day for every 100 square feet of flooring, so a 100-square-foot room would take about two days to complete. You will need to mask areas where you don’t want varnish or polyurethane to go, and then apply the finish with a brush or roller. The finish must be applied in several coats, and each coat needs to dry before adding another coat. The first coat should take just 30 minutes or so, followed by another 30 minutes after 24 hours, another 30 minutes after 48 hours, and another 30 minutes after 72 hours.

The second coat should take 45 minutes or so, followed by another 45 minutes after 24 hours, then another 45 minutes after 48 hours, and finally another 45 minutes after 72 hours. The third coat should take 60 minutes or so, followed by another 60 minutes after 24 hours, then another 60 minutes after 48 hours, and another 60 minutes after 72 hours.

Letting the Floor Cure

After sanding the floor, let it dry completely before putting any furniture or rugs back on it. This can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on how humid it is in your home. If you live in an area with lots of humidity, don’t be surprised if your newly finished floors need more time to cure.

Shifting Furniture Back in Place

If you’re refinishing hardwood floors, you’ll have to move all your furniture to the center of the room or into another room, including dressers, nightstands, and coffee tables. You may also need to move appliances like washing machines and refrigerators, so they don’t get damaged during the process. The good news is that most of these items should be able to fit in another room temporarily without too much trouble. Just make sure not to leave anything on its side or upside down; you don’t want any liquids from spills damaging your floors. Depending on how much furniture has been moved out of the room, this could take a few hours or several days. It’s best to wait until the floor has dried before moving furniture back into place.


Refinishing your hardwood floors can be a difficult process. You will finally get to the finished product through many hours of hard work and preparation: shiny, new, gorgeous hardwood floors. It may seem like an unbearable task if you aren’t prepared for the long haul. But with proper methods, preparation, and help, it is something that anyone can accomplish. With these tips, you can refinish that hardwood floor on your own. Before you know it, you’ll have a new look for your home that doesn’t cost a fortune.

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I'm Andrea, a decor and interior design expert who loves to share her tips and tricks for creating a beautiful home. I believe everyone deserves to live in a space that makes them happy, and love helping others achieve that. I'm always on the lookout for new trends and ideas to share with her readers. Can’t wait to help you create your dream home!
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