The fundamental part of the contact stress problem solution using a finite element method is to locate possible contact areas reliably and efficiently. In this research, a remeshing technique is introduced to determine the contact region in a given accuracy. In the proposed iterative method, the meshes near the contact surface are modified so that the edge of the contact region is also an element's edge. This approach overcomes the problem of surface representation at the transition point from contact to non-contact region. The remeshing technique is efficiently employed to adapt the mesh for more precise representation of the contact region. The method is applied to both finite element and boundary element methods. Overlapping of the meshes in the contact region is prevented by the inclusion of displacement and force constraints using the Lagrange multipliers technique. Since the method modifies the mesh only on the contacting and neighbouring region, the solution to the matrix system is very close to the previous one in each iteration. Both direct and iterative solver performances on BEM and FEM analyses are also investigated for the proposed incremental technique. The biconjugate gradient method and LU with Cholesky decomposition are used for solving the equation systems. Two numerical examples whose analytical solutions exist are used to illustrate the advantages of the proposed method. They show a significant improvement in accuracy compared to the solutions with fixed meshes. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.