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Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Posted by emmi331 (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 18, 11 at 19:15

I want to have carpet removed in my living and dining rooms and a small hallway, then have the hardwood floors beneath sanded, restained, and finished to a high gloss. The kitchen also needs to be sanded, restained, and finished. A guy who comes highly recommended, and who I was warned "charges more, but is worth it"
gave me an estimate for this of $2500 and said it would take three days, during which time I'll have to move out. The kitchen, liv. room and din. room are not huge rooms. Should I keep looking? I trust the person who referred him - he builds homes and uses this guy all the time. But that is a steeper price than I'd counted on. Please advise if you know something about the going rate, or with any guidance! Thanks....


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Without knowing square footage and the materials the finisher wants to use, there is no way for sure that I can say whether or not the price is steep.

I charge upwards of $4.00 per square foot for a refinish with the best materials. That would translate to 625 square feet.


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RE: Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Glen and I are much alike in our thinking here. Is dust containment being used? extra dark stain? radiators involved? appliances being moved resulting in that one trip back that is only to replace them? Kitchens with toe kick spaces and islands are much slower to finish than the same square footage of space in an open room. These are some of a number of factors may figure into the cost.


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RE: Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Thanks for answering! This has become very complicated. What I would REALLY like to do is remove the carpet & padding and have a look at the floor underneath. It was in very good condition when the carpet was installed ten years ago. If it is still in good condition, could it just be cleaned up and polished? Right now the thought of all the sanding and staining, etc. is a bit much, and I'm not sure I need it. The kitchen floor basically needs a spruce-up. I do not think the appliances need to be moved; the work could be done around them as it was the first time it was done. The stove and fridge will probably always cover the same spot, so what's the point?! No island in kitchen. Incidentally, a rough estimate of all the floor to be done is about 480 sq.feet. All except kitchen are covered w. carpet/padding. There are radiators. I still think $2500 is insane for a small house. He initially asked $2700. For 3 days of work, that's $900 a day!! When I taught school, my top salary after 30 years of teaching was around $350 a day. I just see something wrong with this picture....


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RE: Refinishing Hardwood Floors

That's almost $5.25 per square foot...I've charged that much for sand, stain and finish, although my jobs take four days from start to finish, not three.

If you decide to go with a lowballer, there are a few things you must consider. Make sure you get references and an opportunity to see the level of work you'll be getting. And, make sure that lowballer is a legitimate business and is insured. Know who is actually going to show up at your jobsite to perform the work.

If your wood is in good condition, then consider cleaning them up and, if you want to improve the appearance some, having them recoated. However, you need to know how it was finished in the first place in order to know if it is a candidate for recoating.


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RE: Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Thanks, glennfsc....Do most hardwood floor specialists mind pulling up the carpet first, THEN figuring out what's needed? Especially if it turns out the customer would not need the most expensive job done?
It sounds like you don't find $2500 unreasonable (and I think it actually will take him four days; I just have to be gone for three nights during this). I want the best job done possible, and am willing to pay this if this is what the going rate is for top-quality work. Thanks for any response!


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RE: Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Pull up a corner of the carpet and see what you have to work with before committing to an entire refinish job. If it were me, I'd go ahead and get rid of ALL the carpeting myself. Pulling up carpeting isn't difficult, but it can be dusty work and you have to dispose of it.


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RE: Refinishing Hardwood Floors

If the floors are in pretty good condition and just need some perking up, you might consider have them screened. The top layer of finish is sanded off and polyurethane is reapplied. This is a lot cheaper (and a little less dusty) than sanding the floors.


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RE: Refinishing Hardwood Floors

"I still think $2500 is insane for a small house. He initially asked $2700. For 3 days of work, that's $900 a day!! When I taught school, my top salary after 30 years of teaching was around $350 a day. I just see something wrong with this picture...."

What is wrong is that you are not including the value of your benefits and tools/equipment costs (teachers do not usually have to supply classrooms).

The floor guy would like to retire at some point, and needs to make enough to repair and replace his tools (and even the truck he requires).

If you think the price is high you can always try and do the work yourself.
Rental yards often have drum sanders and edging sanders by the day.

Don't forget some wood scrappers for the very inside of the corners (and a set of knee pads).

You can buy all the applicators for stain and finish also.

A really good vacuum is needed also.

Dust collection is never 100%, and you need to clean up after sanding and before finishing.

If there are any strips of flooring that need replacement throw in some chisels, hammers, saws, etc.

I have all the stuff but a drum sander, and I occasionally rent one for smaller jobs.

It is not cost effective for my regular floor guy to spend a few hours over multiple days on a small job.

He does my big jobs and is a real bargain then.


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RE: Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Thanks, brickeyee! You make some good points and I stand corrected....Of course I would not do this job myself, which is why I'm here trying to figure out prices and processes. And I said in an earlier post that I'm willing to pay the going rate if that's what is necessary.
P.S. You'd be surprised at how many of their own supplies teachers buy. Not to mention "overtime" work at home on nights and weekends. And paying out of pocket for required graduate work during the summer months.


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RE: Refinishing Hardwood Floors

I know some former teachers and they did buy many of the supplies needed out of pocket and did do "overtime" work correcting papers and exams and...yes...graduate work expenses. Good points there emmi!

Since you say your floor guy is chasing you out of the house, just what product is he planning to use as finish? You need to find that out, so you know what you're buying. Although it is much easier finishing a floor in a vacated dwelling, I have never insisted that a homeowner vacate during my work. Of course, I use quick drying stains and two-part waterborne polyurethanes, so that probably is a big factor.

I can't speak for most floor finishers, but if I get paid for ripping out carpet, then I don't mind taking the carpet out ahead of time. I've done it many times to assess what needs to be done on a job. Will you floor person do the same? You're going to have to ask.

Your questions are not unreasonable. You are spending a lot of money to have your floors restored. A reasonable floor specialist would be happy to spend some time explaining what he or she will be doing and using to perform the work. I would definitely ask to see an example of the level of work this person does and check a reference or two.


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RE: Refinishing Hardwood Floors

"P.S. You'd be surprised at how many of their own supplies teachers buy."

Like $3,000 for a drum sander (smaller 8 inch)(and the belts for every job) or $600 for an edge sander (and the disks for every job)?
Notice the floor finishers do not charge by the belt or disk.

I was actually moving my 12 inch drum sander the other day, and it reminded me why there are usually twop men on a floor crew.
The thing is way to heavy for a single person to load or unload from a truck or get up even a single step into a house.

"Not to mention "overtime" work at home on nights and weekends.:

It is called being a salaried professional employee.
If you wanted hourly pay you should have staid out of professional positions.

"And paying out of pocket for required graduate work during the summer months."

Just like many other licensed professional.
I have to maintain CE for my PE license.


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RE: Refinishing Hardwood Floors

When we redid the hardwood floors in our 1800sq ft house above NYC 5 or 6 years ago - 3BRs, living room, dining room, foyer and hallways. It was $4500. It did seem like a lot of money but they did an amazing job. Need to redo the floors in this house but just don't want to have to move out all the furniture and move out and deal with the dust etc.


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RE: Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Brickeye, your second answer is pretty uncivil. Let's try to be more objective on the boards. I will be "professional" enough not to enumerate your spelling errors if you will discontinue telling me what profession I should or should not have entered. Thank you.


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RE: Refinishing Hardwood Floors

My apologies to all, including brickeye, for my uncivil response to his earlier response, which I had taken issue with.
And by the way, I did get my floors refinished in early May, and they look beautiful! I really appreciated all your advice.


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