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How Much Does it Cost to Strip and Wax Floors: 5 Factors

How Much Does it Cost to Strip and Wax Floors: 5 Factors

Over time it is inevitable that your resilient hard floor will begin to experience wear and tear from everyday foot traffic.

The top of your floor is covered with a finish to protect against the accumulation of dirt, scratches, spills, and other effects of foot traffic. When that finish becomes scratched, scuffed, or damaged it can be stripped and refinished to restore your floor’s original shine.

Stripping is the process of removing old layers of wax and dirt, preparing the floor to be refinished, restoring the floor appearance and protecting it from future damage.

If you’re asking the question, “How much does it cost to finish a floor?” you’ve probably realized your floor is in need of some restorative care or a strip and refinish.

There isn’t a one size fits all pricing structure to determine how much it is going to cost you to finish your floor. There are several factors that go into determining the total cost of this restorative maintenance procedure.

In this article, we’ll go over the factors that will affect how to determine how much it is going to cost to finish your commercial resilient floor.

How Much Does it Cost to Finish a Floor? 

The cost to refinish a resilient floor will depend on a number of factors.

Factors that Affect the Cost of Finishing a Floor Include:

  1. Labor
  2. Floor Size
  3. Floor Stripper Type
  4. Floor Finish Type
  5. Availability of Equipment

1. Labor 

Labor CostsStripping and finishing is time-consuming and labor intensive, making labor the greatest factor affecting the price of the procedure.

The overall cost of labor will be impacted by employee wage, how many employees are working on the project, and how long it will take staff to strip and refinish the floor. 


The average hourly wage of janitors and building cleaners was about $13.00 per hour in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Number of Employees on the Job

Cleaning Crew-1

The number of employees working on the strip and finish will likely be determined by how large the area being refinished is. The larger the area, the more people you will need to complete the job in a reasonable amount of time.

On average, an employee can effectively strip and finish about 150 square feet per hour.

Length/Total Duration of Procedure

proper dwell timeDepending on the size of the floor, floor stripping can be done in as little as a few hours or may take as long as a few days.

The length of time it takes to strip and finish a floor will be impacted by:

  • The floor size
  • How many coats of finish you need to remove before refinishing
  • How you will be removing the floor finish
  • How many layers of new finish will be put on

To calculate the cost of labor, you will need to multiply the number of hours it takes to perform the strip and finish procedure by the hourly pay rate for your employee(s) working on the strip and finish.

Below we will go into further detail about how each factor will affect how long it takes to complete a strip and finish and the overall cost of finishing a floor.

2. Floor Size

Clean Building

The size of the floor will have a large influence on how much it costs to refinish your facility’s resilient hard floor. In short, the larger the floor, the more money it is going to cost.

A larger floor will require more labor to efficiently complete the job. Each employee should only work in areas of 10ft x 10ft to ensure they can adequately maintain the area.

Additionally, larger floors will require more products and supplies. The more products and supplies you need, the more expensive the procedure will be.

3. Floor Stripper Type

When finishing commercial floors you must first remove previous layers of finish. Stripping can be done using either a floor stripping chemical or with the use of a surface preparation pad and an orbital floor scrubber.

Chemical Stripping

If you choose to strip the floor with a floor stripper, choosing an aggressive chemical will help reduce the amount of time it takes staff to remove the finish from the floor.

In some cases, if the stripper is not strong enough it will not remove enough finish requiring staff to spend additional time performing stripping procedures. The longer it takes to strip a floor, the more labor it requires.

The more aggressive the stripper, the less likely staff will have to perform stripping procedures more than once.

A better quality, more effective stripper will be more expensive to purchase but less expensive in the long run.

Chemical-Free Stripping

Clarke CA60 Boost Walk Behind AutoscrubberSome facilities may have restrictions on the type of floor stripper they can use in the facility based on their commitment to sustainability or occupant health and wellness.

In that case, chemical-free floor stripping can help you meet building requirements and safely remove floor finish.

Chemical-free floor stripping requires an orbital scrubber and a surface preparation pad. The surface preparation pad (an extremely aggressive floor pad) paired with an orbital scrubbing machine (extremely fast movements) removes layers of finish. It does not require ANY chemical to be used, helping to reduce water and chemical usage up to 70%.

To reduce the time it takes to strip the floor, it is important to choose the right floor machine.

Everything you need to know about auto scrubbers including types, sizes, specs, & more!

The most productive orbital floor scrubber will be matched to the size of the area to be stripped and finished. For larger areas, larger orbital scrubbers can help staff cover more area in less time, boosting productivity.

4. Finish Type 

The type of finish you choose will impact the cost of the cleaning procedure.

The cost of a finish will be impacted by:

  • Percentage (%) of Solids
  • Durability
  • Number of Coats Required
  • Sustainability

% of Solids

Stripping a FloorThe percentage of solids in a finish is commonly equated to the quality of the finish, but this is not true.

The solid content of a finish is how much of the floor finish remains on the floor after the product dries. For example, if it is a 25% solids floor finish that means 25% of the finish remains on the floor.

The higher the solids does not mean the better the floor finish. Rather, higher solids equate to the gloss level of the floor. Meaning, the higher the solids, the more quickly your staff can build gloss because more finish is left on the floor.

So, higher solid finishes will require fewer coats to achieve desired gloss. Reducing the amount of coats needed to finish a floor will lower the amount of time your staff spend on floor finishing, ultimately saving you on labor costs.

Generally, the higher the solids in a finish the more expensive the product is. Although the floor finish will cost more initially, you will save in the amount of finish you need to achieve a desired gloss level and required labor to complete the job.


More durable products will be more expensive, but they will require less maintenance.

The durability of the finish will determine how long the finish will last before having to be burnished or stripped and refinished.

Burnishing or stripping and finishing requires additional periodic maintenance. Selecting a finish that does not have to be burnished often will save you time and money.

Number of Coats Required

Some floor finishes will only need 3-4 coats while others will need more, but it is usually recommended to put down 4 coats of finish. A higher quality, higher solid finish can be used to reduce the amount of finish.

Choosing a finish that needs more layers will require more finish. The more finish you need, the more expensive the procedure will be.


Green building 1Environmentally preferable floor finishes are available for facilities looking to lower their environmental footprint or facilities needing to purchase environmentally preferable products.

Green floor finishes are formulated without heavy metals, glycol ether, or formaldehyde. Green certified floor finishes can achieve third-party certifications such as the Green Seal GS-40 certification.

They are typically more expensive than traditional floor finishes, but they are better for the environment and can help you meet your sustainability goals.

Environmentally friendly floor finishes generally do not hold up as long as conventional finishes. They will also require more frequent attention costing you more in labor and product.

5. Availability of Equipment

Ride On AutoscrubberJanitorial cleaning equipment can help make the job easier and boost worker productivity.

When stripping and refinishing floors, using the most productive janitorial equipment such as autoscrubbers and wet vacs can help shorten cleaning times.

To strip floors, an automatic floor scrubber can replace a floor buffer during stripping procedures. Floor buffers, also known as swing machines, are extremely fatiguing and require multiple passes to remove layers of finish from the floors. With an auto scrubber, staff can enjoy reduced strain and increased productivity.

Traditionally, when removing slurry from floor stripping procedures, a mop and bucket would be used. Mop and buckets are not as precise or fast as auto scrubbers or wet vacs.

Integrating the latest janitorial cleaning equipment will be a larger upfront investment when compared to traditional cleaning tools and equipment like mop & buckets and floor buffers but the cost can be recovered in labor savings.

Final Thoughts

Each of these five factors will affect how much it will cost you to finish your commercial resilient floors. However, labor is the largest cost tied to stripping and finishing and will be impacted by each of the other factors we discussed.

Although it is important to minimize costs of product, supplies, and equipment, lowering the cost of labor will be the best way to minimize the cost of finishing a floor.

To lower the cost of labor when finishing a floor, you may need to invest in a high-quality floor care program with more advanced equipment, and better supplies. The initial cost of these items may be more expensive, but they will allow your staff to work more efficiently and proficiently, ultimately lowering the cost of labor.

To further reduce the cost of labor, it will be important that your staff adhere to proper protocols so that they do not have to perform additional maintenance procedures.

Finally, selecting a finish that is easy to work with can help your staff work as efficiently as possible, saving time and labor.

Imperial Dade has an unrivaled selection of commercial floor care products and equipment to help make the process of stripping and waxing your floors less costly.

There are several considerations when stripping and finishing a hard floor, and it can be challenging to make sure that your floor care program meets your company’s needs and budget.

If you’re located in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the Caribbean, contact an Imperial Dade specialist for help choosing the best janitorial products and equipment to aid your team in making the process of stripping and finishing your floors as efficient as possible.