How Long Does It Take To Sand Hardwood Floors

[BLOG] Published: 2022-01-23 - Updated: 2023-06-06

sanding hardwood floors


Flooring Installation Types Of Wood Sanders Type of Finishing coat How Long Does It Take To Sand Hardwood Floors Sand Your Hardwood Floor in Houston

How Long Does It Take To Sand Hardwood Floors

This is one of the most asked questions by homeowners when it comes to sanding hardwood floors. They ask this to plan ahead as most people are unaware of the amount of time it will take. As a result, they end up postponing the project due to poor planning.

One of the nicest kinds of floors that one may have in their home is a wooden floor. This is because it is natural, non-toxic, and attractive. It's pretty easy to clean compared to others, and it never harbors a lot of dust mites or pathogens. 

As a result, it is more suitable for allergy sufferers. They will, however, frequently require sanding to get and maintain the best appearance of the wood floors.

It takes longer to refinish floors with previous finishes than it does to sand unfinished hardwood. Sanding flooring in older homes, floors that have been damaged by water, or floors in humid settings may take longer.

The time it takes to sand a floor is affected by a number of factors. Who is handling the project, the size of the room, the type of finishing coat, and the state of the floor are all considerations to consider.

DIY vs. Hiring a professional

DIY: A homeowner tackling the project himself should estimate 5 hours for 140 square feet of space hardwood floor refinishing. This includes three times edging and sanding the floor. It may require more passes to finish if the floor is in poor condition. If you employ a pro, your project will be completed much faster than if you do it yourself for the first time.

Hiring a Professional. If you hire a professional to sand your hardwood floor, it's likely that you'll also hire them to refinish it. It will typically take between 2-5 days to refinish hardwood floors.

 Refinishing a hardwood floor will cost between $3 to $8 per square foot or even more. (Seer Flooring, 2021)

Size of the Room

This may seem self-evident, but sanding the floor takes longer the larger the room and the more rooms you have. If you have an open floor plan and a vast area to sand, you'll be done much faster than if the same amount of space is divided into numerous rooms. This is due to the fact that you will need to edge each room before moving on to the main floor space.

 The Condition Of The Floor

Sanding might be necessary depending on the condition of the floor. This is according to one contractor who specializes in hardwood floor installation and repair. If you have a lot of surface scratches, screening or buffing may be sufficient to eliminate them.

The type of grit you use when you begin will ultimately be determined by the type of floor you have. What is the state of the floor? Are there any wavy or uneven floorboards? Is it painted or do you think it's coated in carpet glue?

A 16 grit, 24 grit, 40 grit, 60 grit, 80 grit, and 120 grit are some of the grits that you can use to sand the floor. To remove old layers of varnish and smooth up the floor, start by sanding it with coarse sandpaper. Stain and filth can only move on the less coarse paper once your floors are clean of previous layers of varnish.


If the floor is uneven, you'll have to remove a lot more material to get it back to a clean, flat surface. You could leave it uneven, but it would need to sand the dips with a hand sander. That is not going to save you any time. Cupped floors are included in this category.


There are various kinds of damage that can penetrate the surface and lengthen the sanding process. If the finish on the wood has worn off and the wood has greyed over time, as woods do. 

It may take longer to sand away the old finish if it is protected by it. This, like UV damage, penetrates fairly deeply but is caused by exposure to water and air. It also requires thorough sanding to be clean. (How To Sand A Floor, 2020)

Orbital Sander

Type of Finishing coat

The length of time it takes to refinish a room is determined by the size of the room and the color and finish you select. Sanding 1,500 square feet of the floor takes around a day. Cleaning of the floor is required for both screening and thorough refinishing. 

When working with a company or professional to have your floor refinished, they will first do an initial cleaning. Right after they're they'll return the next day after the dust has settled to do a second cleaning before applying the stain. The rest of the process is dependent on the color, stain, and finish you want. The finishing coat can either be oil or water-based Polyurethane.

Oil-Based Polyurethane

Refinishing hardwood floors using oil-based polyurethane normally takes 3-5 days (including drying time). 

This depends on whether there is a stain, how dark the stain is, how humid it is, and how many coats of polyurethane you apply. When the weather is dry and not humid, three coats of polyurethane (no stain) can usually be applied in three days. 

You will also have to allow at least 24 hours for each coat to cure. Each coat of oil-based polyurethane takes about 24 hours to cure, and a stain takes about 24 hours to dry. If the stain is darker, it could take 36 or even 48 hours to dry. So, let's say you have a dark stain that takes two days to dry.

For example:

The first day would be spent sanding the floor down to bare wood, sealing it, and then applying the first coat of oil-based poly. The sealer dries fast, allowing the first coat of poly to be applied immediately after it has dried. After the first coat poly has had enough time to cure, the final, or second coat, would be applied on the second day. If you want to have three coats of oil-based poly applied, this timetable will be extended by one day.

Water-Based Polyurethane

The biggest advantage of water-based polyurethane is that it dries faster. So, if you're in a hurry, this can help you solve your time problems. 

Refinishing hardwood floors with water-based polyurethane normally takes only two days. With water-based polyurethane, you may usually relocate furniture within 24 hours. (Valenti Flooring, 2014)

ProTip Takeaway. It can be done in one day but it is best to wait for it to completely dry. The coat will last longer if you allow more drying time, and each coat will take an additional 2-4 hours to dry.

Orbital Sander

Types Of Wood Sanders

There are different types of wood sanders that can be used during a hardwood floor sanding project. Drum sanders, belt sanders, and edge sanders are the most common sanders used in hardwood floor sanding projects. Orbital and palm sanders are examples of different sorts of wood sanders.

Fig 2: Orbital Sander

Drum Sanders

Drum sanders are massive, heavy sanders that can handle the majority of your floor sanding. Because of the way the sandpaper is mounted, they can be more difficult to use than belt sanders. Drum sanders are ideal for heavy-duty sanding jobs on old or damaged flooring.

Belt Sanders 

A hardwood floor can also be sanded with belt sanders. There are also handheld versions available. Wood can also be shaped and finished with belt sanders.

Edge Sanders

If you're sanding the main section of your floor using a large sander, you'll probably need an edging sander to reach the edges near the wall. These are little sanders that are used for this.

Orbital Sanders

A light sanding job can be done with orbital sanders. They have the ability to buff and erase light scratches.

Palm Sanders

Handheld sanders, often known as palm sanders, are used for modest to light sanding operations. They are small enough to be grasped in one hand and can be used with ordinary sandpaper. They are excellent for usage on furniture and are also extremely inexpensive. (Home Décor Bliss, 2021)

ProTip Takeaway. Sand with the grain of the wood at all times. By sanding with the grain, you will achieve a far finer finish in a much less amount of time.

You should leave the flooring entirely bare for four to five days in an ideal condition. When rearranging your furniture, use protective pads on the bottoms of chairs and tables to avoid fresh scratches.

Before placing area rugs, you should wait at least 30 days. When you do put them back, make sure to use a rug pad that is suitable for hardwood floors. The majority of rugs have scratchy backing that will hurt your floors. Rubber rug pads should not be used since they can damage the finish.

Are You Ready to Sand Your Hardwood Floor :

Contact Smart Remodeling LLC if you're looking for a reputable hardwood floor refinishing company. We are based in Houston Texas and pride ourselves in being the best in the business. We will keep to our deadlines and complete the project correctly. Call us today on 832 800 8889 and schedule a free consultation.


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