How Much Does Hardwood Staining Cost in 2024?

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Hardwood floor staining is a popular and cost-effective option for homeowners looking to revitalize the appearance of their floors. By applying a fresh coat of stain, you can breathe new life into tired hardwood and transform the overall aesthetic of your space. As we look ahead to 2024, it's important to understand the average cost associated with this process.

The size of the project plays a significant role in determining the cost of hardwood floor staining. Larger areas will naturally require more time and materials, resulting in a higher overall cost. Additionally, the type of hardwood being stained can also influence the price. Some hardwoods may require more preparation or multiple coats of stain, which can add to the overall expense.

Type of Wood

When it comes to hardwood floor staining, one of the biggest factors that impacts cost is the type of wood. Hardwood floors come in a wide variety of species, each with their own unique properties that affect how much stain is absorbed and how much labor is required for preparation and application.

Generally speaking, more porous woods like oak, maple, ash and pine tend to be on the less expensive end of the staining spectrum, while dense exotic hardwoods like Brazilian cherry, tigerwood, and mahogany are more costly to stain.

More porous woods have open grains that allow stains to penetrate deeply and evenly. This makes the staining process quicker and easier. Preparation requires less intensive sanding and can often be done with 150-180 grit sandpaper. The stain soaks in readily, providing rich, uniform coloring with just one or two coats.

Less stain product is wasted trying to saturate the tight grain of dense woods. Consequently, staining costs for domestic oak, maple, ash and pine flooring tend to range between $2.50-$4.50 per square foot on average.

Stain Type

The type of stain product selected is one of the primary factors that will determine the total cost of staining hardwood floors in 2024. Basic stains, particularly water-based varieties, represent the most affordable options. These stains color the wood but provide little protection. For deeper, richer color or added protection, homeowners will need to consider more advanced stains.

Penetrating stains deeply soak into the wood for an enriched, natural look. Oil-based penetrating stains tend to cost slightly more than water-based versions. For the darkest wood tones or most durable finish, a gel stain or polyurethane-infused stain would be recommended. These stains contain a higher percentage of pigments and polyurethane, so they cost more per gallon.

Stains that also contain a polyurethane topcoat in the formula, often called “stain and seal” products, provide an all-in-one solution but at a higher price point. These stains color and protect the wood in a single step, but the additional polyurethane does increase the overall cost. For the highest-quality, most protective finish, a separate stain and polyurethane topcoat will likely be needed, which also tends to cost more for materials.

Floor Condition

Hardwood flooring can add beautiful warmth and character to any home. However, over time, hardwood floors may start to look dull, scratched or faded. Staining and refinishing the floors can help restore their beauty and protect the wood. The cost of staining hardwood floors depends on several factors, especially the condition of your existing floors.

If your hardwood floors are in good shape with minimal scratches, holes or other damage, the staining process will be more straightforward. Light sanding may be needed to prepare the surface, but no significant repairs are required. In this case, expect to pay $2-$5 per square foot for staining in 2024. This includes materials like stains, sealers and equipment rental fees.

However, if your floors are very worn, have extensive pet scratches or other damage, the staining process becomes more complex. The flooring may need extensive sanding to remove deep scratches or stains. Rotted or damaged boards may need replacing. Any holes will need filling. These repairs will add $3-$7 per square foot or more to your project costs before staining even begins.

Color Change

Subtle color shifts that stay within the same general color family and do not require intensive sanding or stripping of existing finishes will be on the lower end. For example, going from a medium brown stain to a slightly darker walnut shade should cost between $2 to $5 per square foot.

If a stained wood surface is being refinished to a lighter color from a previous dark stain, extra preparation and multiple layers of new stain will be necessary to get an evenly colored final result. This additional work can raise the total price to between $6 and $10 per square foot or potentially more.

The flooring will need to be thoroughly sanded down to bare wood to remove the previous stain before the new color can be applied. Additional coats of progressively lighter stains are then used to incrementally achieve the desired shade. This multi-step process requires more time and resources, hence the higher price point.

In some cases, it may make more financial sense to fully replace existing flooring rather than attempting to drastically restain dark hardwoods to a much lighter color. The cost of sanding, staining, and sealing the floor multiple times can approach the cost of new hardwood installation, especially if the existing flooring is dated or low-quality. Homeowners should get estimates for both options to determine which is more budget-friendly for their specific situation.

With hardwood staining, the level of color change desired is a key factor in determining the final cost. Subtle shifts within the same color spectrum are the most affordable, while significantly altering an existing dark stain to a much lighter shade can cost significantly more due to the additional prep work and materials involved. Homeowners looking for a dramatic new look for their hardwood floors in 2024 should be prepared to pay on the higher end of the staining cost spectrum to achieve quality results.


When considering the cost of hardwood staining, it's important to weigh it against the benefits it provides. Staining your hardwood floors can breathe new life into your space, transforming the overall aesthetic and adding value to your home. It's a cost-effective alternative to completely replacing your floors and can give your home a fresh, updated look.

However price can vary based on factors such as the size of the area, the type of hardwood used, the complexity of the staining process, and the geographic location. Ultimately, investing in hardwood staining can be a worthwhile expense, as it offers a cost-effective way to update and refresh your floors, adding beauty and value to your home.