By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Refinishing a hardwood floor is the ultimate recycling project because hardwood is an enduring material that can be restored to its natural good looks for years of continued service. Even after years of use, abuse and neglect a solid hardwood floor can be restored with amazing results. But from our experience, this is not a project for a DIYer.
A floor refinisher will charge $961 to sand and refinish a 15-by-20-foot room, or 300 square feet, which includes the labor and material. You can do the job for $215 and save 77 percent. Your cost includes renting a floor sander and edger, sandpaper, polyurethane finish, and a paint roller and brush to apply it. To see a video of refinishing a floor go to www.thisoldhouse.com.
DIY Hassle Alert
However, don't be lured by the savings; our best advice is to hire a professional. What you save trying to do it yourself could easily be outweighed by the damage you cause. A pro knows how to operate the equipment without gouging the floorboards, while a first-timer might let it rip and cause hundreds of dollars worth of damage.
There's enough preliminary work needed to keep a do-it-yourselfer engaged in the job. You have to completely empty the room, removing all furniture, window coverings, wall decorations and carpeting. A pro will seal off the room with plastic sheeting taped to the doorway, but you'll find dust and grit throughout the house. If anyone has difficult breathing, keep them away until the dust settles and is vacuumed away and the new finish is applied and completely dry.
Floor refinishing is a good excuse for a mini-vacation. As the floor sanding machine chews up the surface finish it spreads a lot of grit and particles throughout the air which can be harmful to breathe. Even though rooms are sealed off to keep the grit and dust from permeating the whole house, don’t be surprised to find a gritty film left on the tops of tables and furniture - and your cereal!
The bottom line: compare the price of a contractor’s bid to restore a hardwod floor with what it costs to do it yourself and make your decision. You adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2018
The cost and time data is generated by averaging labor and material data from annually updated cost books used by contractors and refined by the authors'
experience remodeling 13 houses. They are authors of 20 home improvement books and Do It Yourself or Not, a weekly column syndicated by Tribune Content
Agency. The national cost can be adjusted by ZIP Code.