How long does it take to install hardwood floor? Well, this is a common question among most homeowners. The answer to this question becomes increasingly important when working with a deadline or when bigger projects are involved (e.g., kitchen remodel or new addition).
The usual time to install hardwood flooring once it arrives at your home is 10-15 days, with about 7 days for acclimation and the remaining time for installation and finishing the floors.
This post will provide a comprehensive breakdown of the amount of time it takes to install hardwood floors. Read on!
How Long Does it Take to Install Hardwood Floors?
Below is a breakdown of the time involved. Note that the time provided here is a rough estimate and will vary according to the size of the project.
1. Days 1 to 7: Hardwood Acclimation
What is hardwood acclimation? This is the process of allowing the wood to adjust to the relative humidity of the home before installing it.
Why is this important? If the hardwood is installed while it is drier or wetter than the rest of your home, you will encounter the following issues:
- When the hardwood is too dry, it absorbs moisture from the subfloor and the air, which will lead to its expansion. As a result, the wood will cup and bulge.
- When the hardwood is too wet (that is, the flooring has a higher moisture content than the rest of the house), it will shrink as it loses moisture, and the planks will peel apart from one another, leaving gaps in the floor.
The first step in acclimating wood flooring is bringing the boxes inside the house and opening them, including any plastic wrap around the planks within.
Boxes can be set on the floor one foot apart, and another layer of boxes can be laid on top of them in a cross-wise direction.
You should ask a flooring contractor or vendor for precise instructions on how to acclimate hardwood floors.
Before nailing the first plank to the subfloor, you should use a moisture meter, such as the Wagner MMC220, to measure multiple hardwood samples and the subfloor. When the hardwood flooring measures within 2% of the subfloor, it is effectively acclimated.
We recommend acclimating the wood for at least 5 days. Any old flooring that must be removed should be removed before or during this period, and the subfloor should be swept and inspected.
It is preferable to discover that the subfloor needs repair or replacement earlier than later during the acclimatization phase.
Note that you may not need to acclimate engineered hardwood flooring.
Engineered flooring is designed to be sturdy, with minimal expansion and shrinkage. This is why engineered hardwood floors are a better choice for bathrooms and kitchens than solid hardwood.
Also, note that your installer may prefer solid hardwood flooring to acclimatize for at least two weeks. It’s important you have a conversation with your installer before the project kicks off.
Related: How to tell if floors are engineered hardwood
2. Days 8 to 10: Hardwood Flooring Installation
A skilled installation crew of two people can install 750 to 1,000 square feet of hardwood flooring every day. The typical task is 1,000 to 1,500 square feet of floor space.
When the flooring is prefinished, a portion of the third day is spent replacing trim and cleaning up.
Note that the time mentioned here might take longer or shorter.
If the work is smaller than normal, it may take less time. In addition, if the floor layout of the property is open and there are few obstacles to trim around, such as a fireplace hearth or staircase, competent installers may be able to lay 1,500+ square feet in a single day.
Larger jobs take longer to complete, especially when there are a lot of obstacles. For instance, stairs can take a whole day to complete.
Trimming around cabinets, bathroom fixtures, a hearth, and other obstructions, as well as installing the flooring diagonally, adds time to the installation process.
Remember that we mentioned that it is important to fix all cracks and dents on the subfloor (if any) before acclimation.
Now, when this is ignored, the whole installation process might take longer. Repairs such as filling and sanding damage or replacing tiny parts of a subfloor might take up to a day.
3. Days 11 to 15: Finishing the Floor
After installation, unfinished hardwood flooring is stained and protected with two or three coats of polyurethane. Each coat applied needs at least a day to dry before a new coat is applied.
The time mentioned here might be shorter if the installer uses a stain and sealer combination product.
Note that this step is not required if you are using factory-finished wood. Some installers like to apply a coat or two of polyurethane to prefinished flooring to bridge the gap between boards.
Others claim that the polyurethane between the planks is easily shattered due to the wood’s natural expansion and contraction.
How Long Does It Take to Install 1500 Square Feet of Hardwood Floors?
It should take about 1 and 3 days for a small crew of at least two persons.
Can You Walk on Hardwood Floors After Installation?
We recommend that you wait 6 hours before walking on your new floors while wearing socks. You can walk through with your shoes on after 24 hours.
How Much Does It Cost to Install 1000 Square Feet of Hardwood Floors?
Wood flooring typically costs between $3 and $7 per square foot in supplies and $3 to $5 per square foot in labor. The cost to install 1000 square feet of hardwood flooring is between $6,000 and $12,000.
How Much Does It Cost to Install Hardwood Floors in A 12×12 Room?
The national average cost of installing hardwood flooring ranges from $6 to $12 per square foot, including labor and materials.
Read: How to install linoleum flooring
Back to the question, how long does it take to install hardwood floors? In most cases, installing hardwood flooring in your house or office can take a number of weeks. This timetable, however, is open to change.
For starters, you must evaluate the amount of time it will take for the flooring to acclimate. Furthermore, if the old subfloor must be removed, the installation duration will be extended.