How much do small repairs cost?

Q: I need to replace two pieces of hardwood flooring, due to some damage. How much would it cost to do this? I have spare pieces of the wood already for the job. The pieces that need to be replaced are almost in the centre of the room.

A: That depends. It might cost a days wage because that is what a person would lose just to do this little repair.

Stain and polyurethane compatible? And pricing…

Q: Is there a way to tell if the stain and polyurethane are compatible? I have heard that sometimes using ones that are not compatible will cause it to flake? I had a quote from a gentleman to lay about 1200sf and finish a total of 1500sf for $3700 with H**** brand stain or poly– I am not sure. Is this a good or bad price? How do I know if the job he does is good? What are the proper steps in finishing the floor; including sanding, buffing, how many coats, etc., so that I can supervise him?

A: I know prices may vary from one area to another. Let me understand this… He is installing 1200 sq. ft. and then sanding, staining and finishing 1500 sq. ft., for $3700?

If I was doing this job, my price would be $7725. This is to install, sand, stain, and finish; but not to supply the flooring nor any trim needed. I would get several quotes to see where this price is compared to others. It sounds far too low to me, and that throws up red flags, if your main goal is to have a good job done.

Most stains are compatible with polyurethane provided they are properly applied and allowed to dry before coating.

Follow-up Q: That is correct. I would be providing the flooring. There is about 300sf of existing flooring that needs to be refinished. There are no doors, and no baseboard installed anywhere in the house. I saw a house he did and it looked “good,” but I have no idea how to tell if it specifically is a good or bad job.

A: This is how I look at this work. I’ve been doing it more than 34 years. I’m not getting rich. Price break down is: $3.35 sq. ft. to sand, stain and finish with 3 coats. I use Poloplaz finishes which are second to none. I am not an “installer” per se. Generally, a floor installer is someone who is really fast. I have yet to see one of these guys pay any attention to detail. Their entire objective is to get the floor down fast and cheap. I do a good install, but I’m not fast. Certain issues with installing take time and attention. $2.25 sq. ft. to install… If someone is doing this work for half what I charge, and I am not making a killing, then the only way they can make a dime is to get in, get out fast and get paid. It makes me wonder.

How ambitious a project is this? How expensive?

Q: I am looking into the purchase of a home that was built in 1895. Previous owners have covered the original hardwood floors with ceramic tile, which was then covered with floating floors. The surface is about 1200 sq. ft. I have been told by many people that this is a very difficult job (that I would leave to professionals). How ambitious a project is this? How expensive?

A: Very ambitious. Removing the laminate is one thing. The tile is another. Breaking up the tile and hauling it away. Removal of mesh, etc. Not easy or fun by anyone’s imagination. I think you have to assume the original floor is not restorable, so that should be removed to the sub floor. I would then screw down 3/8 spruce sheeting and the hardwood floor of your choice, best to be finished on site. This will cost in excess of $15 per sq. ft. for removal of all this flooring, supply and install of plywood and new floor and finishing. On a bright note, this is a once in a lifetime investment which won’t have to be repeated. If you are up to it, you can do all the rip out or “grunt” work to reduce costs.

White Oak

Q: I’d like to put in White Oak throughout 3 bedrooms, a dining room, a hall and foyer. What would that cost, in Toronto? I want HARD wood that’s dog friendly. If something cheaper is actually better, that would be nice.

A: White oak is fairly pricey. Especially quarter sawn, which is more than $5.00 sq. ft. (in Toronto) + labour, delivery, etc. It is slightly harder than red oak. It’s real advantage is that it doesn’t expand/contract from side to side, so you should expect little to no gapping. Flat sawn red oak offers decent hardness with a heavy grain pattern that tends to hide dog scratches. Hickory is quite hard, but I don’t have a current price on it.

Low-ball floor refinishing estimate

Follow-up Comments: Right now I am dealing with a cash settlement issue to cover the damage. The contractor for the moving company claims department estimated the cost to sand & refinish approx 500 sq ft. would be roughly $600 with 3 coats of varathane-– a cost that I guessed was a low-ball. Your estimate certainly acknowledges that.

A: $600 to sand, stain and finish an aluminum oxide coated floor? That is beyond absurd. Prices like that go back more than 30 years for a not well done natural job. Anyone who would claim that is what the cost of this job is, doesn’t know what they are talking about and doesn’t care if you end up with a butcher job.

Absolutely do not accept it, regardless of who you have doing the work, and I would not allow them to choose the company. I am all for being fare, but I don’t like seeing people taken advantage of.

What is the cost involved in removing and relaying new hardwood?

Q: I have an old house (80+) with 2″ boards on the ground and second floors. Much of it is in poor condition (gouges, gaps, nails that pop up, etc.) What is the cost involved in removing and relaying new hardwood?

A: I think you are looking from $10-$15 per sq. ft. Some elements in this may not be needed. For example, plywood sheeting screwed over the existing sub floor. That can be decided when the old floor is removed. Removing and disposing of the existing hardwood floor is not rocket science, but a lot of back breaking work. The cost could be reduced if the home owner decided they could handle that part themselves.

Cost to refinish 36′ x 48′ room

Q: How much should it cost to refinish, sand, stain, 2 coats of poly a bleached hardwood floor: 36′ x 48′ room.

A: Pricing is different in different areas and depends on the exact criteria and finishes involved. I would say you are certainly looking at Between $6000- $7000 at least. If someone comes in lower than that, don’t expect much of a job.

Cost of removing old floors

Q: I need to know the cost of removing hardwood floors- to keep from being ripped off.

A: Prices vary quite a bit from one region to another. In Toronto, my fees are, it appears, in the upper level, but I know that I cannot even think of retiring because I don’t make enough money. I would consider my prices fair. There are many places where the prices are higher. I charge $2.50 sq. ft. to remove and dispose of a floor. It is not rocket science, but it is back breaking work. I would never feel bad if a home owner decided they would do the “demolition” to save some money and leave the more skilled work to myself.

Professional hardwood floor fees

Q: What would be helpful is if you could give me approximates on the cost of a floor- in this instance say 1200 sq. ft pre-finished if possible.

A: In Toronto, Canada, I was installing at the rate of $3.00 sq. ft. (CAD) for prefinished, circa 2005.

Here’s more info. from my flooring business website:

Cost to stain treads

Q: My stairs are a year old natural oak colour, with no stain on them. We simply want to stain them a darker stain. What is the ballpark cost of hiring someone to do this? We are also replacing the wooden pickets with wrought iron ones so, the pickets wouldn’t have to be done… Any idea? – Ontario

A: At least $50 per tread only to stain and finish.