Hardwood Floor Refinishing: Answers to the Three Most Frequently Asked Questions

Posted on: 30 November 2018


Hardwood floors provide homes with warmth and beauty. They're also an excellent flooring choice because they can last 100 years or more when properly maintained and cared for. To keep them looking beautiful, they will need to be refinished every decade or two, however. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about hardwood floor refinishing.

Which Is Better, Water- or Oil-Based Polyurethane?

In general, oil-based polyurethane is the better choice. It looks better, but more importantly, it lasts longer and is more durable. It is also less expensive than a water-based polyurethane. The only advantages of a water-based polyurethane are that it dries quicker and doesn't have as much of a lingering smell. Unless you are desperate to move into a new home and need the refinished floors to hurry up and dry, oil-based polyurethane is the superior product.

How Long Will the Floor Take to Dry?

This depends on whether oil-based polyurethane or water-based polyurethane is used. For water-based polyurethane, you can gingerly walk on it with stocking feet after about 8 hours. After one day, you can walk on it with shoes. After 48 hours, you can move your furniture back into place. Dogs cannot walk on it until it has been one week. Rugs should not be used until it has cured for at least 30 days.

With oil-based polyurethane, it will be 24 hours before you can carefully walk on it with socks on. After 48–72 hours, you can walk on it with shoes. After five days, you can put your furniture in place, being careful to not slide it around. Dogs cannot walk on it until it has been at least two weeks, and if you have big dogs, you should put dog booties on their feet. As with water-based polyurethane, area rugs should not be used for at least 30 days.

Obviously, not being able to use a room for several days or allow your dogs in it can be difficult logistically, but the end result is worth the hassle.

How Long Does It Take to Refinish Hardwood Floors?

First, the floors must be sanded and then thoroughly cleaned. Oil-based polyurethane coated floors, which most older floors are, can take longer to sand than water-based, but if the floors are old, it may take no longer. A good rule of thumb for either finish is it will take a full day of work to sand 1,000 square feet.

Hardwood floors require more than one coat of polyurethane, regardless of the type. Three coats are the norm. For oil-based polyurethane, there must be 24 hours in between each coat. Water-based polyurethane will require 12 hours in between coats.

Contact a business like Alpine Wood Flooring Inc. for more information about refinishing hardwood floors.