Refinishing Hardwood Estimate

Hello - I just bought a new house (new to me) and want to get the hard wood floors redone in them. They are in decent shape, but in the high traffic areas, the polyurethane has worn off and you can pretty much see the dull wood. My house is about a 1000 square feet and I need about 800 sq. feet refinished. I have Red Oak 3/4" thick by 2 1/4" wide planks.
What is a good estimate? I have a guy who is a friend of a friend of my parents, and he seems pretty reliable, but just curious and wanted to know what other people have gotten for estimates.
He quoted me at $2,300 which includes 3 coats and sanding one room in which the previous owners painted over. In the process of getting a couple more estimates, but just wanted to see what others have to say.
Thanks....
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I did mine myself, once. Once.
I wouldn't do it again as it was a complete labor intensive pain in the ass. But I sorta knew that going in and felt it was something I needed to try once. Once. :-)
$2300 doesn't sound horrible. Is that for water based or oil based poly? What brand?
-- Todd H. http://www.toddh.net /
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Thanks Todd. What is the difference between using water vs oil based poly? Does one hold up better than the other or look better? He just told me to pick out the color and let him know. I was told that 80% of the time, people choose "Early American" which is MinWax color stain, so I am not sure what poly. he was planning on using?
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Durability. Oil is far superior, but can tend to yellow if you get a lot of sunlight in. The downside of oil based is that it smells like holy hell and the place will be largely uninhabitable for 3 days while they layer up the coats.
The water based poly to have when I was looking was a relatively pricey product called StreetShoe. Odor is far less, durability of this product evidently rivals oil, yellowing isn't an issue, and I think successive coats can go on quicker. It's the darling of those doing hardwood for malls and such with high traffic. 4 or more coats aren't uncommon.

That may hint that he's planning on using MinWax's oil based poly.
I'd totally recommend using stain. Some folks omit stain to go but it's a huge mistake, IMO because the stain so nicely brings out the wood grain. I used the Golden Oak stain or maybe it was Natural on red oak and it really augmented the grain beautifully.
Color is personal preference. Dn't obsess about matching wood furniture--all trees play well together in the forest say the decorators. :-)
-- Todd H. http://www.toddh.net /
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Todd H. wrote:

So does oil. So does any oil based clear finish. Stain and the whole thing needs sanding to bare wood to re-do it in the future.
--

dadiOH
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Thanks Kiwanda. Yea, this quote included sanding and refinishing the kitchen, where I found hardwoods underneath the vinyl flooring. I have removed the vinyl and backing to the best of my ability. That was not very fun and kind of expensive for the right adhesive remover.
The "Brazilian" (floor guy) said that they can get the rest of with the sander. I will check on the oil vs water and which he was planning on using.
Thanks for the suggestions.
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dadiOH wrote:

i had a bedroom floor(white oak) redone with water base and no stain. i did not want it to yellow as oil does. to me i looks great.
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johnnymo wrote:

I wouldn't use any stain, it will make it very dark and will get darker every year, just a poly coat will darken it greatly and make it grainy, but that is a personal preference, I liked gloss coat, it's the most durable (like the gloss kitchen paints), easy to clean and always look great, but again that's personal preference some people think it looks too plastic. I also have waxed hardware floors in the bedrooms, but much prefer the gloss for looks and durability.
If I had to do it over again I may bleach them first (scandinavian look) followed by poly coat, a friend of mine did that and it looked spectacular
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Todd H. wrote:

I did three rooms in our house about two years ago and would happily do it again if needed. These rooms required much more than refinishing; two had multiple layers of carpet glued/stapled to them, and one hallway had vinyl glued down. The floors were laid in 1958 and not badly worn, but getting all that glue up caused some damage. Not counting the removal work, it took basically one full day to strip and sand all the floors down to bare, smooth wood, and another day (intermittant) to put down three coats of water-based poly. They look great and the whole project cost me about $100, for perhaps 400 sq feet of red oak. I didn't bother to get a bid on it so don't know what it would have cost locally.
For the $2,300 the OP was quoted I could install AND finish entirely new oak floors in most of my house.
-kiwanda
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Kiwanda wrote:

of work unless you have a lot of slave labor (kids, friends)
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10 years ago I had about 600 sq ft sanded, filled, stained (went with a fruitwood color), and water based urethane ??? (2 coats) for $1200. All I had to do was help get that big frikken sander in and out of the truck. I went with the satin finish rather than the gloss ... my perference.
Now, how can he refinish those other rooms without sanding and filling ?
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johnnymo wrote:

I did mine once too. Never again. Make sure your guy has plenty of expirience. I think $2-3/sf is normal.
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Hi johnnymo,
My floors are the exact same type as yours. The amount of square feet I had done is also roughly the same as yours. I live in Northern California and just had mine redone last week with 3 coats of oil-based polyurethane. I didn't stain them but left them that natural red oak color. They turned out fine. Total cost: $1450. The quote you got seems high to me, but that probably depends on the going rate in your area. I'd suggest that it's really worth shopping around and getting at least three quotes.
One note: oil-based polyurethante stinks to high heaven and takes a while to dry. My refinisher highly suggested we sleep somewhere else, especially the night the top coat was applied and it was a good suggestion. It takes a minimum of 24 hours before you can walk on it and they really suggest 72 hours. You can count on the smell being there for at least a couple of weeks with the windows wide open, so if you are already living in the house, be prepared to be majorly inconvenienced.
johnnymo wrote:

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room, and that makes the price sound okay. I like a little stain on the floor too, to bring out the grain. With oak, you'll probably be happier with a satin or semi-gloss poly than a high-gloss, and it's easier to keep looking good.
my 2 cents.
Keith
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Also...my hardwood runs into what is going to be the kitchen. Should I wait and have the floors done once the cabinets are in? Or do the floors before the cabinets. Remember that the floors in the kitchen still have some adhesvie residue from the vinyl that use to cover it until I ripped it up.
I was thinking, have them sand the floors (let the dust settle), then have the cabinets installed and then have the coats of stain and poly put on.
Thanks...
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Sanded floors will stain easily.
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