Installing or refinishing hardwood floors is a big project and a significant investment in the long-term comfort and elegance of your home. It can be time-consuming and a bit inconvenient while the work is going on. But hardwood’s long-lasting beauty and durability make waiting a few days to use your new floor worthwhile. But just how long do you have to wait after your new floor is installed or refinished?
What Should I Expect When Having Hardwood Floors Installed?
Selecting and installing hardwood floors is one of the most exciting design elements we can think of. Here’s a nutshell version of what to expect. Your contractor will fill in the details for your project based on its scope.
- Start the process by working with your contractor to choose the flooring that’s right for you, selecting the type of wood, plank width, and stain color.
- After your flooring is delivered, it needs a few days to acclimate to the temperature and humidity of your home before installation.
- Before installation, you’ll need to clear the room and remove furniture, drapes, and wall hangings.
- Your contractor will remove the old flooring and inspect and clean the subfloor as needed.
- After installation, your contractor will sand, stain, and refinish your floor with several coats of polyurethane.
Should I Stay In My Home While My Contractor Installs or Refinishes My Hardwood?
As exciting as getting new hardwood floors is, it’s not without minor inconveniences. You can expect noise and dust during the installation process and the smell of polyurethane during refinishing. You also want to stay out of the way of employees doing the job to finish quickly and efficiently. It’s certainly possible to remain in your home during installation, but many clients prefer to leave for a few days. Some options include:
- Moving furniture and decor into the basement or another room in your home.
- Get a portable storage unit to hold furniture for a few weeks.
- If the project is in a frequently used area, many clients opt to get a hotel or stay with friends or family for a few days.
- Some clients schedule refinishing with a trusted contractor during vacation, so they don’t have to deal with the inconvenience.
Are Prefinished Hardwoods A Good Choice?
Traditionally, we install unfinished planks and sand, stain, and finish on site. In recent years, prefinished hardwoods have become increasingly popular. Prefinished hardwoods usually take longer than unfinished planks to arrive but offer a shorter installation time. There’s less mess and no polyurethane smell. On the downside, their thick prefinished topcoat makes them harder to sand and refinish when it’s time for a refresh. They also don’t provide the flexibility in adapting to irregularities in the subfloor that on-site sanding and refinishing allow.
How Long Until I Can Use My New Floors After Refinishing?
When you’re installing or refinishing hardwood floors, you’re making a significant investment in your home. The last thing you want is to scrape or damage your fresh finish by rushing to get back into the room. You want to give the new finish time to harden and cure. We recommend waiting a minimum of 24 hours before you walk on your floors– and 48 hours is even better. Start with socks only and keep pets off the floors for a few days. Wait at least two days for water-based finishes and four days for oil-based finishes before carefully putting furniture and back into the room. It’s best to wait a few weeks before placing area rugs on the floor. Giving the floor time to cure (letting all of the compounds in the polyurethane evaporate) means less risk of dents or damage. As a rule of thumb, the longer you can wait, the better. Your contractor will give you solid advice on when to jump back in based on your materials. Follow directions from the pros– try not to get impatient.
Installing or Refinishing Hardwood? Call The Pros
Hardwood flooring is an investment with a higher price tag than other options. Yes, installation can be time-consuming and mildly inconvenient for a few days or weeks. But there’s nothing more beautiful than a high-quality, professionally installed hardwood floor. Once you get through those busy days where work is being done and get everything back in place, it’s nothing short of magical. And a high-quality job can last ten years or more before you need a refinishing. At Loudoun Valley Floors, our team handles the job from start to finish, moving your furniture, carefully protecting your home, supplying the materials, and doing the installation or refinishing with our own teams. We have completed countless hardwood projects over the years. While it can create a bit of temporary stress, our clients agree that the results are well worth it.