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Wood Floor & Stair Refinishing

Give your home a refreshed look and feel with a refinish.

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New Wood Floor Installation

Hardwood flooring creates a warm, welcoming environment for your home.

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Hardwood Floor Recoating

Some floors just need a recoating to revitalize their beauty.

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Hardwood Floor Repairs

We can make the new flooring blend in and leave a flawless, uniform finish.

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Wood Floor & Stair Refinishing
New Wood Floor Installation
Hardwood Floor Recoating
Hardwood Floor Repairs

2019 guide to hardwood floor refinishing costs for Madison, WI. Having your wood floors refinished can be a big undertaking. A lot of times we forget that having your floors refinished is a form of remodeling because we aren’t tearing something apart. Perhaps we should change our perspective on remodeling, and rather think of it as anything that will improve the overall look and value of your home.


What can I expect to pay for my refinishing project?

There are many different things that can factor into the over all cost of having your floors professionally refinished. Here are a few key factors that play a part in how much it’ll cost.

  1. Natural or Stain– Choosing between the look of natural hardwood or deciding to stain your floor is perhaps one of the most determining factors in the total cost of refinishing your floors. The main factor in the cost difference is that floors that are going to receive stain need additional sanding over natural hardwood floors, as the stain pigmentation will highlight any imperfections in the floor. Because of this, there is a lot of detail sanding that needs to be performed, not to mention the labor involved with staining the floor.
  2. Different types of finish– There are 4 different types of finish that we offer. Single component, commercial finish, UV cured finish and hardwax oil. Each one of these finishes have unique properties to them, and choosing the right one can help provide longevity to your hardwood floors.

Our minimum refinish price starts at $1,600 and increases from there depending on what the client selcts. Our typical jobs average about 700 sqft, and the average cost to refinish this would be approximately $3,500. We’ve done jobs from 300 sqft all the way up to 4,500 sqft.  All of these factors play a part in what it costs to refinish hardwood floors.


Do I have to move my furniture? 

Yes you will have to move the furniture before your refinishing project starts. I know this can sometimes be a daunting process of figuring out where to put all of your furniture during your floor refinishing process. Here are a few helpful tips as to where you can move your furniture. You can move a lot of your furniture into your garage. I know that your vehicles might have to site outside for a short period of time, but this will save you space. Stack stuff in other rooms that aren’t currently being refinished. You can also rent a Pod and move your furniture into them. This frees up a lot of space inside your home and makes it easier for you to move around

Some clients also find it easier to hire a moving company to take care of moving all the furniture in and out. If you are a busy person this might be a great investment for you.


How dusty will my house get from having my floors refinished?

When we are refinishing floors the machines produces a lot of wood dust. To help keep the dust at bay we offer a dustless package. What does the dustless package include? All the machines are hooked up to a dust-containment system that take the dust away from the machines and collects it. We also run an air scrubber by BuildClean

The combination of the equipment we run and how we prep things after we are done sanding leaves your home clean after the refinishing process is completed. Now when we say its 99% dust free, there is still 1% of dust. On an average sized job we are removing 60lbs of dust, there is still around 1/2lbs of wood dust that can be floating in the air and settle on things. It would be like if you didn’t dust for a week or so. Overall your house is left pretty clean after your wood floors have been refinished.

Should I get multiple quotes from a hardwood floor refinishing contractors?  

Yes! I know this may sound weird that we are telling you to get a couple other quotes from other flooring contractors. This way you can compare the cost to refinish your floors, but also different options that are offered. Not everyone, including myself, may be a great fit for you. After all, you will be seeing this contractor for awhile during the refinishing process, and should feel at ease that they will do a wonderful job and you have no worries with them working in your house.

Here are a couple of top rated wood floor refinishing companies in the Madison, WI area.

Imperial wood floors

Nelson Wood Flooring 


Does the way a floor is sanded play a part in how long my floor will last?

Refinishing hardwood floors is nothing short of an art form. There is a lot of knowledge that we’ve gleaned over the years in perfecting how we sand floors, which will play a role in how long your floors will last. Even something as seemingly trivial as the material and grit of the sand paper used can impact the final product. Knowing the paper grit and sanding sequence to use will make a difference in how well your floor will perform. Throughout our experience we have developed our craft and sanding technique that leaves the floor with a closed grain. This allows the finish to sit on top of the wood and ultimately leaves a better build of finish which means more protection for your floor.


What to look for in a contractor for your refinishing job

If you are looking to have your wood floors refinished in Madison, WI how do you know that they know what they are doing? There are a few things to look at when determining the right company to hire.


Certifications don’t always mean that you are getting the best possible floor. What it can mean, is that the company you are thinking to hire has taken the time to educate themselves and their employees on improving their skills and new ways to refinish your wood floors. There are a couple of different certifications that are offered not only by the NWFA but also by some manufacturers on how to properly sand, stain, and finish hardwood flooring. A lot of times by attending some of these classes you gain valuable information on new products that are out there.

With some certifications like the NWFA Sand and Finish certification they require that you get a certain number of  CEU credits in order to keep up the certification.

Before and After Photos

A good flooring contractor should show you some before and after photos of past work that they’ve done. This will give you an idea, not only of what your floor can look like, but also the different species and looks they are able to create for you. After all, this is a pretty big home improvement project!

Online reviews

Online reviews are similar to a referral from a neighbor. So many times in this technical savvy world we live in, we don’t always talk to our neighbors a lot just due to the fact that we live busy lives and our paths don’t intersect. Checking out what past clients have to say about flooring contractors and the reviews they’ve received online, like Google, Houzz and Facebook can play a part in giving you a snapshot of of how great a job they do and how highly recommend they are as a company.


We hope that these answered some of your questions that you may have about getting your hardwood floors refinished. Whether you are downtown Madison or around the UW Madison area, there are always floors that need to be transformed! If you ever have any questions feel free to contact us or comment below.


Having lived in the Fox Valley, there are a couple of places I like to visit when I work in Neenah, One of them is Timshel Cafe. It has this unique feel and a vibe of the old mixed with the new. The exposed brick and high ceilings creates a great atmosphere! Another of my favorite things to do is get out and walk through the parks that are close to the water.  My brother and sister-in-law used to live in the Neenah neighborhood, and we’d enjoy taking their dog for a walk in Riverside Park.  During the summer months in particular, it was such a peaceful setting watching the sun set behind all of the sailboats that were anchored in the marina. Neenah has always been a special place for me, so I was thrilled when I was contacted to refinish floors in a historic house that I used to walk by every time I was in the Neenah area.


The Beauty of Maple is Revealed

These wood floors that we refinished in Neenah were in pretty rough shape. These clients had just bought the house and wanted to give the wood floors a facelift. As you can see, the floors were in really rough shape and worn completely through the finish in places.  After talking with the clients, they told me that previous owners of the house had allowed their kids to skate on the floors and play hockey! The clients wanted the floors to have a rich dark tone to them, so we created a custom color that went well with their decor and tied in with the existing wood color. You can see how having their wood floors refinished transformed this space!


Before old maple floor is refinished


Old Maple floor after its been refinished








Adding New with the Old

These clients had built this house in Neenah 20 years ago and had decided to add on to their existing red oak floors. We ended up removing some of the existing wood flooring so that we could feather, or tooth back, in the new flooring into the old to create a seamless transition between the old and new floor. Once we had all of the hardwood installed, we then sanded the floor and finished it with a natural oil sealer and two coats of a commercial finish. As you can see, there is a seamless transition between the old and new wood.


Preparing to lace in wood flooring


Seamless transition of old and new floors









Worn-out Red Oak Transformed

These worn-out red oak bedroom floors had seen better days. They were in a couple of bedrooms and hadn’t been protected from the furniture sliding around, which had caused some dents and gouges in some of the wood. Once we sanded the floors, we stained and sealed them, completing the transformation. You can see how beautiful the once worn down floors became after they were refinished. So if your red oak floors look worn out, it may be time to have your wood floors refinished.


Lots of worn patterns in this wood floor


Brand new wood floor









Historic House Revived

We had the opportunity to work on this historic house in downtown Neenah. The house had recently been sold and the new owners decided to restore it. Here you can see that the floor had some sanding imperfections and was in need of being refinished. We had done some previous work for one of their friends and they loved the look of her floors. We refinished the floors using Rubio Monocoat, which gave the floors a unique appearance in both look and feel.


Old white oak floor prior to being refinished


Cool brown floor after its been refinished










Worn-out Stairs to a New Clean Look

These stairs were in desperate need of refinishing. As you can see, they were pretty worn out from years of traffic walking up and down them. Now it may not look like a big project, but stairs are very labor intensive. All corners and other areas that the sander can’t reach need to be hand scraped and then sanded by hand. We also had to color match the stairs to the existing trim, which is difficult in and of itself as stain matching is done completely by eye. You can see, once they’re all refinished they look stunning!



Old stairs that where carpeted


The beauty of these stairs revealed
















These are just a few examples of some amazing wood floor transformations in Neenah that we’ve done. If you have a floor that needs to be refinished in the Neenah area, please feel free to contact us. If you live outside of the Neenah area, check out the areas we also service. We would love to transform your space too!  


What is a reactive? No, we aren’t talking about how I reacted to Aaron Rodgers going out in the first game of the 2018 season. I definitely reacted to that! I was like NOOOO!!! Here we go again, another year of the backup QB play. But low and behold here comes Aaron back in the second half and leads the packers to a great come from behind victory! Sorry I got a little side tracked here. Reactives, what are they and how do they affect wood flooring? Lets dive in and talk a little more about this topic.

What is a reactive, and how does it work?

Like its name suggests, reactives need something contained in the wood to react with. These naturally occurring substances in hardwood are called tannins. An interesting fact is that tannins have been used in many different industries. Originally, tannins were extracted from hardwoods and used in the tanning process of animal hides. It is also what can give wine a bitter taste as they use oak barrels to store the wine in during the fermentation process. In the hardwood industry, a reactive is a component, that when applied to a hardwood floors, reacts with the naturally occurring tannins that are present in the wood to acheive various effects.



Do they work on all wood species?

Because tannin levels in the wood determine the change in appearance when using a reactive, not all hardwoods will respond the same way. Reactives have a profound affect on hardwoods like white oak, but have very little to no affect on woods like pine or maple. However, hardwoods that have low levels of tannins can be pretreated with tannic acid, or something as simple as earl grey tea, which have high levels of tannins, so that reactives will have a greater affect on the wood.

What are the effects of reactives on hardwood?

The effects of reactives can be quite profound, especially when applying to hardwood like white oak. Tannin levels can vary board by board so there is a large range of variability even within the same species of wood. This variability will cause some pieces of wood to change to a really dark grey and yet others won’t change much at all. Other external factors that contribute to the effects of a reactive can be the soil quality in which a particular tree was grown, and also the reactive product itself. Some manufactures have their own reactive products like Rubio Monocoat’s Smoke and Fume, which each have very distinct effects. Or, using a little chemistry, we are capable of making our own reactive, namely iron acetate, using steel wool and vinegar.


Will it work on my existing floor?

Reactives can work on your existing floors, but can be greatly affected by the type of finish and cleaners that were previously used on the floor. Some finishes can neutralize the tannins in the wood, which can cause certain areas of a floor to appear splotchy. These areas will need to be touched up with some color to make them blend in. So, the overall answer is yes it will work but there are things to consider when thinking about having it done.


As you can see having us use reactives on your floor opens up many colors possibilities and layers of colors. To learn more about color possibilities you will want to go read a blog post we did on that! Read more


Installing hardwood flooring is one of the best ways to renovate your home, update the look and style of a room or your entire house, and increase the value of your property. But just because wood floors are great in one room doesn’t mean they’ll work in another, and it’s important to install wisely. The bathroom is one example of a room that isn’t suited for hardwood floors, and the main reason for this is moisture. That being said, hardwood can work in powder rooms and half bathrooms, because these rooms don’t have the same high level of humidity as full baths.


Why Hardwood in the Bathroom Isn’t the Best Idea


Wood is a living material that can absorb moisture, and as it absorbs and dries out, it expands and contracts. When this happens repeatedly with the flooring, it can cause warping and buckling, and that’s not something that you want to happen to your hardwood floor. The bathroom is one of the most high-humidity rooms in the house because of steam from the shower and bathtub, which is the main reason why hardwood isn’t recommended in the bathroom.  


Water Damage Is Also an Issue


The bathroom is also a high-traffic room in the house, and when you combine this with the beating your floor takes from sink and shower water, you’ll realize why you might want to opt for an alternate flooring material. Whether it’s the kids sloshing around in the tub, you having your morning shower, or even just brushing your teeth before bed, bathroom floors often have water splashed on them, and this can lead to water damage that requires regular maintenance and repairs to combat rot and mold. As such, you’ll want to choose a bathroom flooring material that’s more water resistant and more dimensionally stable.


Can You Ever Install Hardwood in the Bathroom?


Although it’s a good rule of thumb to avoid hardwood in the bathroom because of the potential for water damage and rot, you might be able to get away with installing wood floors in half baths and powder rooms. These rooms are suited for wood floors because they don’t have showers and tubs, which are responsible for the majority of the humidity in a bathroom. However, to avoid water and moisture damage, it’s essential to keep the bathroom well-ventilated, clean up spills immediately, and use rugs or mats to protect the floor.


Hardwood floors look great, they feel nice on your feet, and they can increase the value of your home, so it’s easy to see why many homeowners are tempted to install this type of flooring in every room possible. But hardwood isn’t ideal in all situations, and high-humidity bathrooms are one place where you’re better off going with another flooring material or choosing engineered wood instead. But if you’re really keen on natural hardwood floors, you can install them in half baths and powder rooms that don’t have showers, as long as you take care to keep them clean and dry.


Maintaining anything is a great way to keep things looking great! Wood floors are no different. So whether your floors have just been finished or you are looking on how to maintain them we will give you a few tips on how to get the most out of your floors.

Sweep or Swiffer

Keeping grit and other debris off the floor is important in keeping your floor looking in top condition. If you allow dirt and debris to build up on the floor, it will begin to grind into the floor and can scratch the finish and wear it down over time. To prevent this, you want to sweep or swiffer the floor based upon how much traffic your floor gets.



First off you’ll need to know what type of finish you have on your wood floors. Different types of finish have a large impact as to what type of cleaner you should use. If its a film finish you should use a neutral PH hardwood floor cleaner. If you have a penetrating or hardwax oil use the recommended cleaner from the manufacturer. Cleaning the floor will remove dirt and surface stains and renew the shine and luster of your floor. 

Pallmann Cleaning kit


Indoor Climate 

You may be thinking what does indoor climate have to do with maintaining my wood floors? So, your hardwood flooring was once a living thing, and after it is turned into wood flooring, even though it is not growing it is still affected by temperature and humidity. Keeping the temperature between 65-75 degrees all year round along with RH(Relative Humidity) of 35-50% year round will help your floor perform at its best! 



I hear from many wood flooring professionals that they don’t like the use of rugs on hardwood floors. However, the right type of rugs, placed in high traffic areas can help prevent unnecessary wear to your hardwood floors. A couple of key areas for rugs are by the sink, dishwasher, and exterior doors. These places tend to have more moisture and are also higher traffic areas.  Here is a good article we wrote about choosing the right type of rug for your floors. 


Deep Cleaning 

This is a service we offer that cleans the floor with a special machine. The machine applies cleaning solution and then has a cleaning brush that cleans the finish. The built in vacuum removes any of the moisture thats left, giving you a floor that is clean. This option is great for older floors that are in great condition, but just need a deep clean to bring them back to life.



Contacting a professional to re-coat your hardwood floors can add years to the life of your floor.  What we do is come in and clean the floor with a special cleaner, lightly abraid the floor and then apply a new coat of finish. This will take care of any scratches in the surface of the floor, and will add years of life to the floor by adding more protection.

recoating hardwood floor


Taking these steps will help to ensure the longevity of your hardwood floors and protect your investment. If you are unsure about your floors, or have any questions on how to take care of your hardwood floors, contact us, we’d love to help you out. 


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National Wood Flooring Association Member • NWFA Certified Sand & Finisher Professional