Installing + Re-surfacing Hardwood Floors – Process, Cost, and Stain Used

March 22, 2021

White oak flooring - resurfacing floors

One of the bigger projects we had planned for in this home renovation is resurfacing the first floor hardwoods! The floors are over 20 years old so there was some warping, fading, and peeling. We got a few estimates from flooring contractors based on referrals (always get a first hand experience rec!), and was able to find a good quote for what we were looking for. This post details the process, pricing, and materials we used as well as what we used to install similar hardwoods in the upstairs bedroom.

Hardwood floor repair results!

Removing Built-Ins
Before we could get the floors re-surfaced, we needed to remove the built ins where our future pantry will be. We got lucky with this process, and were able to remove them in whole pieces! This allowed for us to find a new owner to re-purpose them. Since the built ins were installed over sub-flooring (and linoleum?!) we had to have our contractor patch these areas by installing new boards. We also had to repair boards where there was warping due to water damage near the fridge, toilet, and previous owner’s pet area. In order to prevent future warping we had to install a de-humidifier in the crawl space of our home. (Houses are money pits I tell ya!)

We installed the same white oak flooring in the nursery which was carpeted previously.

Type of Wood
Our floors were really dark which I loved, but super tough to keep up with cleaning wise. Kids eat one meal….time to sweep. With lighter floors every crumb isn’t visible and so you can ignore the messes a little longer;) We sanded down a test area to see what type of wood was underneath the dark stain. We guessed red oak. To our surprise, the flooring ended up being white oak! The best scenario for us since the color we were hoping for was exactly what we uncovered.

Fading, scratches, and warping all repaired!

bona stains bona natural seal

The Floor Stain + Seal Combo We Used
We knew the natural white oak wood would really brighten up the rooms, so we wanted to keep it close to the true wood color as possible. With the thinner planks there is already some variation in tone, so a natural stain would work well. After testing Bona Natural Seal, Bona Nordic (a little whitewash effect), and a custom mix, we decided on Bona Natural Seal. We went with Bona products after researching which would be best for a natural look, and wear best over time. What we used:
One coat Bona Natural Seal – A very slight natural stain similar to the white oak color of our floors.
Two coats of Bona Traffic HD Commercial Matte – This is a higher cost process, since it is a top of the line water based poly that prevents yellowing over time. You can most likely find both of these products for a better price with a local supplier.

White oak hardwood floors - entry

Our first floor is about 1200 sq. feet. and the total cost to resurface these floors was $5000.
This included the following:
– Sanding floor and filling cracks. FYI – A dark to light stain is actually harder to do and requires more time. This may increase your total cost.
– Repaired damaged floor boards.
– Installed new boards in place of removed built-ins.
– Stained 1 coat of the Bona Natural Seal
– Applied 2 coats of the Bona traffic HD

Total Time
The total time it took our contractors at Nickason (two people) was 6 days. They did an incredible job, and were very efficient. They were able to complete the project in the original amount of days guesstimated.

After spending spring break with my parents we came home to the finished outcome. I honestly felt like I was walking into a new home. It felt so much brighter, and the floors looked like they were newly installed! The Nickason Flooring crew did such a thorough, well done job. I wanted to give them a shout out in case you are also local to the Nashville area, and need a trustworthy flooring contractor.

Projects to Come Next
– Painting the first floor
– Re-painting the stairwell
– Re-finishing stairwells (This will most likely be in the fall or next spring)
– Starting the kitchen demo

white oak flooring
white oak floors, peach paint walls

We also installed the same white oak flooring in the upstairs nursery room, and choose 2 inch width planks to keep it consistent. We ripped out the old carpet, and they were able to install, sand, and stain the hardwoods in a few days. Nickason Hardwoods also did this job for us. We received quotes from a few different companies ranging from about $1200 – $2200 for the room above. I tell ya – the cost varies from coast to coast and state to state.

Materials Used:
White Oak Flooring in Select grade
Bona Natural mixed with Bona Nordic seal

A few things to note about pricing:
You can have your contractor pick up wood planks for you at whatever lumberyard they like to work with.
-The wider the plank width the lower the cost will be for install simply because it takes less time.
– The grade of wood also effects the total cost. Select is your highest grade and will be the highest cost followed by Uncommon I, and Uncommon II. The lower the grade the more knotty or rustic it will look. (This could be the style you are looking for though!)

Did I miss anything? Let us know in the comments, and Gabe or I should be able to answer for you. It feels like a deep sigh of relief to have this done, and now we can move forward with the kitchen plans!

Leave a Comment

  • This turned out so good!!!!! We are in the process of figuring out flooring updates for our first floor and one is refinishing the hardwood as well. Love how the light brightens up the rooms!

  • These floors look lovely! How do you plan to keep them clean?

  • They turned out beautiful! We just found out our wood floors are white oak and will be refinishing them with the natural look as well. I’m wondering why you put the natural stain instead of just the finish?

    • Good q! The natural finish gave them a little bit more of a richer tone which we liked:) You can see the picture of the unstained section on the right above is lighter!

  • Looks so beautiful! Ours are horribly scratched from our dog and need refinishing but The thought of moving our 900lb player piano from an upper floor is not a pleasant thought lol!

    • Oh my gosh that was definitely the most challenging part! Gabe built some dollies to get it over the fireplace area. Required a few people to get it on the dollies too!

  • Looks amazing! The light wood is perfect for your space 👌🏼

  • Kendra Vinson

    Oh my goodness they look beautiful!! We have dark floors as well and they really do show all the crumbs and everything else! Ours are cheap builder grade engineered hardwood though so I don’t think it’s worth it to refinish. 😢 We may just have to replace.

    • Floors are so tough to want to spend money on! It was definitely an investment in the home value for us. Definitely relieved not to have to feel like it needs constant sweeping though!

  • Such a nice surprise the floors ended up being white oak, they really look amazing! Thanks for sharing the process, it’s super helpful for future planning!

  • I think the paint colors for the kitchen cabinets look even better with the new floor color. The old floor looks reddish in comparison to the freshly stained floor.

    • Anna Liesemeyer

      Yes! Completely agree Beth! I knew we were changing the color but I wish I would have just waited to test colors after. Would probably have made the decision a lot easier – ha!

  • We have the original, 1941 oak flooring in our home. It is in great condition considering its age, but it could definitely use some maintenance. There is some warping in the high traffic areas. I dream about getting them refinished all the time. Im going to have to save up all my pennies.

    The refinishing on your floors looks amazing. Congratulations.

    • Anna Liesemeyer

      Hi Lanita – Don’t you love original hardwoods? So much character and beauty! Even with their imperfections. I wish it wasn’t so pricey to re-surface. Grateful we are in an area where hopefully we will get that investment back when we move eventually.

  • Just one question, you may have shared on Instagram but I didn’t see it. Where did you go with all of your furniture for the time the contractors were in doing the work? It looks so nice! I’d love to refinish our hardwood flooring!

    • Anna Liesemeyer

      Great q! We moved some furniture up to the girls room since it’s a large space, and a lot of it to our garage. The piano happened to fit right over the marble patch by the fireplace. That was going to be the biggest problem, so we got lucky with that. Since we just moved over the summer we had already simplified a lot of our belongings so thankfully we didn’t have more to move or it wouldn’t have fit!

  • Pamela Lichtenwalner

    I love the white oak look! I always think dark looks really good, but people only love it if they don’t have children haha. When we were refinishing our floors (after some water damage) the contractor said “you can go darker if you want since you are getting them redone.” I said no way- I like the lighter floors! Yours look amazing! šŸ™‚

    • Anna Liesemeyer

      Ha ha! Yes how true! I still love dark walnut floors in other spaces, but all I can see in my own home is the amount of sweeping they require!

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