One of the most common questions homeowners who are renovating or installing hardwood floors ask is, “when can I put furniture on refinished hardwood floors?
The time to put furniture back in place depends on the type of finish used on your hardwood floor, if water-based polyurethane was used, you should wait not less than two days while an oil-based polyurethane finish requires four days.
There are also other types of finishes that have different waiting times; ensure to consult your flooring professional or check the label of the finish, so you do not place your furniture on a not fully dried finished floor.
When to Put Furniture on Refinished Hardwood Floors
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Using Water-Based Polyurethane
Water-based polyurethane dries up much faster compared to oil-based polyurethane, but they still require some time to cure and harden before furniture can be moved back onto the floor.
If your hardwood floor was refinished with water-based polyurethane, it is recommended that you wait for at least three hours before walking on it and a minimum of 48-72 hours before any furniture or any household items are placed on it.
The longer you wait before placing the furniture, the better your refinishing job is going to turn out, and the risk of damaging your floor is reduced.
You should also keep your little kids and pets off the refinished floors for a longer time, like a week, because they may not know how to carefully tread on such floors.
Using Oil-Based Polyurethane
Oil-based polyurethane floors require more time to cure and fully dry compared to water-based polyurethane floors; for a beautiful and solid refinishing, you will need to double the waiting time.
After refinishing your hardwood floor using oil-based polyurethane, you need to wait for 3 to 4 days before walking on it and at least five days before placing any furniture on it. The longer you wait, the better your refinishing will turn out.
If the waiting time is too long, there are simple ways to hasten the drying and hardening process; one way is by using heat lamps and fans, although this isn’t really advisable as it poses a risk of ruining your floor’s refinishing.
Any mistake is very costly when it comes to a floor’s finish; you may need to strip back the floor and start the entire process anew, something you definitely don’t want to happen.
Using Other Finishes
If you used other types of finish on your hardwood floor like a hard wax oil solution and natural stain, the waiting time would be different from the ones discussed above.
There are lots of different refinishing available in the market, and they can not all be listed in this article, so when you purchase any type of finish, you can take a look at its label, there should be the recommended waiting time, you can also check with your local flooring professional just to be sure.
You need to keep in mind that certain factors may increase or decrease the amount of time you need to wait for the finish to cure and dry properly.
If the area of the floor you refinished receives a lot of foot traffic, it will need more time to harden and dry compared to those that receive less traffic. The durability and integrity of the floor finish you intend to use as well as a host of other factors, greatly influence how long you need to wait before returning your furniture.
Generally, it’s advised to allow all refinished hardwood floors to dry and cure for at least two days or more, depending on the situation.
If you live with other people, children, or pets, they may pose a challenge, so you will need to keep an eye out or place signage to notify to keep off the floor. This should be done after the last coat of finish is applied on the hardwood floor.
When to Place Rugs and Furniture on a Refinished Hardwood Floor?
It is advised that you should wait a week before any furniture is placed on a newly finished floor, but that may cause lots of inconveniences.
If you don’t have the luxury of time, you can make use of commercial-grade water-based finishes that dries and cure completely within three days.
With these types of finishes, you can carefully place back your furniture back within 24hours. There are also single-component water-based finishes that cure completely within five days.
The surface of this finish will be sufficiently cured within 24 hours, so it can be lightly walked upon and receive the furniture. All these should be done carefully so that the floor is not damaged.
However, before replacing your furniture on a newly finished floor, it is recommended that you place new felt pads on the furniture’s legs before placing them on the refinished floor; this helps to reduce the pressure that is exerted on the floor and also reduces friction when the furniture is dragged across the floor.
Felt pads reduce the overall damage your furniture may do to your floor surface. You should ensure to properly lift up the furniture when moving it across your newly refinished floor.
If you have rugs and carpets, you should wait for an entire week before placing them over your refinished floors except you used a commercial grade finish such as pall-x gold, as these types of finishes only need a 3-day wait, or magic oil finish, which requires a waiting time of only 2-days before they can receive a rug.
It is recommended to keep your rugs and carpets off your newly refinished for a longer time compared to furniture because they cover a larger area of the floor, and this can prevent the solvents from evaporating, which ends up ruining the finish.
Difference Between Cure Time and Dry Time
When it comes to applying a floor finish, it is common to find it hard to tell the difference between curing time and drying time, they are mostly misinterpreted to mean the same thing, but they actually describe two different but very important processes, they as described below:
This is the amount of time it takes the solvents of a liquid carrier to evaporate from your hardwood floor; this is the time when the odours and fumes also stop being emitted and for the floor to completely harden.
This amount of time this takes depends on the type of refinishing product you had made use of, as well as other external factors such as airflow, temperature, and humidity levels.
If all these factors remain constant, it will take hard wax oils 1-7 days to cure completely, water-based finishes will take 7-14 days, while oil-modified polyurethane takes 30 days to cure.
When a hardwood floor is fully cured, normal activities can resume on the area without fear of long-term wear and tear and damaging it. Fortunately, you don’t need to wait till your hardwood floor cures completely before placing back furniture.
After waiting for 4 or 5 days after refinishing, you can return the furniture to the floor. Therefore, the required cure time of a finish should not be followed as a guide for when to return your furniture on a refinished hardwood floor.
This is the time it takes for liquids and surface solvents to evaporate only from the hardwood surface but not from the deeper layers of the floor.
Dry time is way shorter than cure time. To test if the floor has dried, you can place your hands on the floor, and it should not stick or leave any mark when it has dried.
The dry time enables you to access your floor in between coat layer applications. Even though the floor is dried, it is highly susceptible to damage from human feet and contaminants during this time. Hence, you should not return your furniture to the floor during the drying time.
The dry time for water-based finishes is between 4-8 hours, but it takes hard wax oils about 4-24 hours and oil-modified polyurethane about 12-24 hours.
If you are reading this article, you are probably asking yourself, “when can i put furniture on refinished hardwood floors”? Well, it is recommended to wait for seven days before placing furniture on refinished hardwood!
But this can be a long time to wait, especially when you have lots of furniture and no or little space to store them and just general inconvenience.
Luckily, there’s a way around that; you can use certain ways to hasten the curing process of your floor or make use of a finish that requires a short waiting time.