How Long Does It Take To Sand A Hardwood Floor?

Whether you are wanting to sand your floor to remove scratches or as part of a refinishing project, you may be wondering how long it will take to sand your hardwood floor. Well, we've done the research, and have an answer for you.

You can expect it to take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days to sand a hardwood floor. It's impossible to give an exact time for how long it takes to sand a hardwood floor because there are many variables to consider. The time it takes to sand a hardwood floor depends on the size of the room you are sanding and your level of expertise.

If you have an open floor plan, you won't have to do as much edging, but if you have lots of rooms, you'll need to account for more time to edge. A professional might be able to finish sanding a floor in a few hours, but if you are doing it yourself, you can expect it to take much longer as you learn and perfect the technique. 

So you now know the range of time it will take to sand a hardwood floor, but keep reading as we elaborate on this further and discuss different variables that might affect how long it takes. We'll also answer some other questions you might have about sanding a floor. Additionally, we'll discuss the different types of wood sanders. Without further ado, let's get into it!

hand-held belt sander sanding ashwood surface. How Long Does It Take To Sand A Hardwood Floor

Steps Of Sanding A Floor

To be able to understand and estimate how long it will take you to sand a hardwood floor, you must first know what the process includes. Here are the main steps:

  1. Prepare the floor for sanding.
  2. Rough sand the floor.
  3. Sand the edges.
  4. Buff the floor.
  5. Clean up.

1. Preparing The Floor For Sanding

To prepare the room for sanding, you should remove all of the furniture and any rugs. The floor should be completely free of any obstructions. You'll also need to pry up any shoe base molding. This is also the time to take care of any protruding nails or floorboards that need to be replaced. 

2. Rough Sand The Floor

This is where the actual sanding begins. You will need to rent or purchase a drum sander or belt sander. Most home improvement stores offer sander rentals. Rough sand the floor along the grain of the wood. Sweep up any dust between sanding. 

3. Sand The Edges

Using an edger, which can also be rented from a home improvement store, sand the edges of the floor. This ensures that any of the places the drum sander couldn't reach are taken care of. 

4. Buff The Floor

Using a buffer or screener, go over the floor once more. This will remove any remaining scratches and level out the floor. 

5. Clean Up

Finally, you'll need to clean up any mess from the sanding. 

These are the basic steps you'll need to take to sand a hardwood floor. For a more detailed explanation and the complete steps for refinishing a floor, HomeDepot offers extensive instructions for the complete process. 

Time It Takes To Sand A Floor

Now that you know the basic steps to sand a floor, you'll have a better idea of what's involved and how long it might take. However, as we mentioned earlier, there are several factors that can influence the time it takes to sand a floor. These factors include who is doing the project, the size of the room, and the condition of the floor. 

Professional vs. DIY

One hardwood floor site recommends that a homeowner doing the project themselves allow 5 hours for 140 square feet of space. This includes edging and sanding the floor three times. If the floor is in bad condition, it may take more passes to finish. If you hire a professional, your project will be finished much sooner than if you're doing it and it's your first time.

For example, one couple explained that it took them around 25 hours to finish four rooms that totaled around 460 square feet, while a professional completed their living room in two to three hours. 

Can I use a hand sander to sand a floor?

How you choose to sand the floor also plays a part. Renting a large floor sander will help you complete the project much faster than if you use a hand sander. However, using a hand sander can be done, it will just take more elbow grease and choosing the correct hand sander for the job. 

Size Of The Room

This one might seem obvious, but the larger the room, and more rooms you have, the longer it will take to sand the floor. However, if you have an open floor plan and have a large area to sand, you'll be done much faster than if you have the same amount of space split up into more rooms. This is because you will have to edge each room before doing the main area of the floor. 

Condition Of The Floor

One contractor who specializes in hardwood floor installation and refinishing, states that depending on how damaged your floor is, sanding might not even be necessary. If you have many superficial scratches, screening or buffing might be enough to remove the damage. In this case, a full sanding might not be needed. 

How much sandpaper do I need to sand the floor?

This is a difficult question to answer because of the variables that come into play. To sand a floor, you will need various types of sandpaper in different grits from coarse to fine. Once again, how much sandpaper you need will depend on the size of your room and the condition of your floors. You will need more of the coarse sandpaper sheets because they will be doing most of the work. 

A few sites based in the UK suggest between 12-15 sheets of 36 grit, 10 sheets of both 60 and 100 grit, and around 5 sheets of 120 grit paper. It is important to keep in mind though that this estimate is for a standard room in the UK which is approximately 175 square feet. The average living room in the US is 320 square feet.

Is it easy to sand your own floors?

Though it might take you longer than a professional, sanding your own floors is pretty easy to do. Doing it yourself will no doubt save you money and as long as you research the best way to sand your floors beforehand and rent the correct equipment, you should have no trouble completing the project. It is important to research each step and what is required but the job itself is not difficult. 

How much does professional sanding hardwood floor cost?

If you're having a professional sand your hardwood floor, it is likely you are also having them refinish the floor too. Most estimates include refinishing the hardwood floor which includes both sanding and resurfacing. On average, according to, it costs between $2 to $6 to refinish a hardwood floor. 

Estimates often vary depending on your location in the US, so be sure to call around to some of your local professionals for more accurate quotes. 

Types of wood sanders 

We've mentioned a few types of sanders throughout this post. The main sanders needed to complete a floor sanding project are drum sanders, belt sanders, and edge sanders. There are also other types of wood sanders including orbital and palm sanders. 

Drum Sanders

Drum sanders are large, heavy sanders that can take care of most of the sanding of your floor. They can be more difficult to use than belt sanders mainly due to the way the sandpaper is attached. Drum sanders are best for heavy-duty sanding needs for floors that are old or damaged. 

Belt Sanders

Belt sanders can also be used to sand a hardwood floor. They are also available in handheld versions. Belt sanders can also be used to shape and finish wood.

Click here to see WEN Corded Belt Sander on Amazon.

Edge Sanders

Chances are, if you're using a large sander to sand the main area of your floor, you will need an edging sander to reach the edges close to the wall. They are small sanders used for this purpose. 

Click here to see Clarke Floor Sander Edger on Amazon.

Orbital Sanders

Orbital sanders are good for light sanding. They can buff and remove light scratches. 

Click here to see Makita Random Orbit Sander on Amazon.

Palm Sanders

Palm sanders are handheld sanders used for small to light sanding projects. They can be held in one hand and use regular sandpaper. They are great for use on furniture, and they are also very affordable. 

Click here to see WEN Detailing Palm Sander on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Man sanding redwood planks outdoors with electrical sander. How Long Does It Take To Sand A Hardwood Floor

Hopefully our article has helped give you plenty of information so that you can estimate how long it might take to sand a hardwood floor. It is important to account for all the variables such as room size, floor condition, and your personal or professional expertise. Happy Sanding!

Check out some of our other blog posts that might interest you here: 

Hardwood Floor Cupping – What To Do?

How To Fix Holes In Hardwood Floor – Large And Small!

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