Can I stay in my house while floors are refinished

Can I stay in my house while floors are refinished

Getting your hardwood floors refinished will demand a major sacrifice from you as a house owner, causing you to vacate your home temporarily. This is unavoidable, especially for those who suffer from health conditions like migraines or have extremely sensitive noses. The fumes and smells produced during refinishing will worsen your health conditions and even cause you additional problems, most of which will be addressed in this article.

Can I stay in my house while floors are refinished

If you get easily irritated by strong smells or you’re prone to allergic reactions if your nose gets exposed to substances like dust or wood, then your best course of action when your floors are being refinished is a complete evacuation, attempting to remain in your house during a refinishing will be very hazardous to your health.

Are floor refinishing fumes harmful ?

Floor refinishing substances are made up of different chemicals, which are very harmful to humans. We have the oil-based and water-based polyurethane used for floor refinishing, and they both give off strong, pungent odors.

Polyurethane contains some chemicals like isocyanates and benzene, and these chemicals sometimes trigger breathing problems and allergies like asthma and bronchial conditions in people. The benzene in polyurethane is also a harmful carcinogen whose fumes can cause skin irritations, headaches, and even drowsiness.

If the level of exposure is extremely high, it can lead to a person becoming unconscious or, even worse, lead to pulmonary edema.
The best way to ensure your safety is to know how long the fumes and all other toxic materials from the polyurethane will last so you can make preparations to stay away for as long as needed.

How long does it take for refinished floors to stop smelling?

The polyurethane chemicals are very strong, and it usually takes some days before it is safe to stay in the house comfortably again. The floors should be safe to live on, even if not yet free of all smells after about 5-7 days. Still, for the fumes and smells to clear away completely, it usually takes about a month at least; within this time frame, the floor has usually attained its maximum hardness too.

What can you do to make refinished floors stop smelling and safe to stay?

The first thing to do to ensure a completely smell-free house after refinishing is to air out the house. This step will be very easy to carry out during the warmer months but difficult during cold winter months.

A window must be kept open in every room of the house, and fans should be kept running to keep the air circulating through the house. It would help if you also tried keeping the house under negative pressure for a little while, especially when your family members are very sensitive to pungent smells.

Can you sleep in house after polyurethane?

After applying polyurethane on your floors, whether oil-based or water-based, it’s unadvisable to stay in the house at least until after a few days or weeks after the job’s completion. Usually, the first two days after refinishing, it’s best to evacuate the house.

Even after five days, it’s still better to stay out of the house because of the fumes and off-gas that the polyurethane gives off. It is very dangerous to breathe in these fumes, and it most often leads to severe reactions in people.

How long before you can place rugs on refinished floors?

Refinished floors always take time before they maintain their maximum hardness; placing rugs or any covering on them before they achieve this state will damage the floors. It should take at least 14 days before any rugs or coverings are placed on freshly refinished floors. Some manufacturers even insist on a 30 day wait.

What happen if you breathe in too much polyurethane?

Polyurethane is a petrochemical resin, and it contains a chemical known as isocyanate, which is a strong respiratory toxin. When polyurethane is inhaled, it inevitably leads to breathing problems, a popular example of which is asthma, children and adults with respiratory allergies are the most sensitive to polyurethane; when exposure to polyurethane occurs for a prolonged period, additional symptoms like headaches, vomiting, throat and eye irritations, nausea and coughing occur.

Polyurethane symptoms worsen the longer the exposure to it, and although it may get extremely severe, it rarely leads to death.

Once the floor is dried, polyurethane will no longer give off toxic fumes, and it will be considered safe for all involved. It is most dangerous during the drying process.

Where to put furniture when refinishing floors?

Clearing away furniture is unnecessary during refinishing, but certain conditions like lack of space, circulation, and most importantly, your furniture conditioning and structure. It’s advisable to move all your furniture out of the way when refinishing.

The best thing to do when refinishing your floors is to move your furniture to a completely different room. You can also try keeping your furniture in a storage unit. It should be rented for at least one month, by this time the floors would have completely hardened. It’s best to ensure that whatever option you opt for is completely waterproof to keep your furniture completely safe.

How long do floors stay before complete hardening after refinishing?

It takes days and most times weeks for your floor to dry off and be completely safe to walk on after a complete refinishing. It takes a minimum of 24 hours before you can even move around on a refinished floor, and even it’s most advisable to walk with socks rather than barefoot or with shoes to keep the floors in perfect condition.

Await of at least four days should be observed before contemplating moving furniture back in. Moving furniture back in any time sooner will cause damage to the newly done floors. For people who own pets to keep your pets out of the house for at least two to three weeks after refinishing the floors was completed.

Pet socks can be considered for your pets if you can’t bear being apart from them for so long. This is most times always uncomfortable for the pets,

However, All floor coverings, especially rugs, should be kept off for at least a month to enable the floors to breathe properly and get rid of all lingering fumes.

Should hardwood floors feel rough after refinishing?

A rough texture after your floors had just been refinished can occur due to a different number of reasons. Including, not using enough polyurethane coats, not cleaning the floor well enough, causing dust to be present in the finish. And also not sanding or screening between coats of poly.

How to care for newly refinished hardwood floors

Once you have been able to achieve a total refinish of your hardwood floor, there are certain steps to follow to make sure it stays properly maintained and cared for.

These steps include:

  • Keeping out all area rugs for about 10-14 days.
  • Ensure to avoid using all harsh products like norwex, oil soaps, and acrylics on the newly refinished floors.
  • Keep all pets, especially those that weigh a lot, off the floors for at least 10 days.
  • Installing a protective “Ramboard” protective sheet with a specific type of tape. So the floors can breathe easily. and ease the movement of all other contractors or movers.
  • To clean the floor effectively, we advise using squeaky floor cleaner rather than steamy mops.

How soon after refinishing should you mop?

All hardwood floors are vulnerable to water; before you use any cleaning products or mop your hardwood floor with water, you’ll have to wait at least 10 days after refinishing. When cleaning this type of floor, one must avoid soaking it with water, and rather a damp mop should be used.

Also, only little amounts of cleaning products should be applied. When cleaning hardwood floors, brooms should also be avoided. A vacuum will work most efficiently to keep the floor clean and sparkly.

Should I acclimate hardwood floors?

Acclimating is an important part of wood flooring; it involves conditioning the moisture content of the wood flooring to the environment it will be used in. Monitoring the moisture content level is an extremely important part of wood flooring.

This type of flooring is most efficient when the environment is controlled. The relative humidity is kept within a specified range, majorly between thirty to fifty per cent. And a temperature range of sixty to eighty degrees Fahrenheit.

Also read:

Can you sleep in a freshly painted room

How often should you pressure wash your house

How long should you wait after staining the floor before adding polyurethane?

When refinishing floors, the first step before adding polyurethane is to stain the floor. After staining, a specific time duration has to be completed before polyurethane can be added to the hardwood floors. To determine how much time to wait before a stained floor is dry, you need to consider the brand of stain used, the temperature, humidity, and even how sir is circulated in the room.

The ideal temperature for applying stain to a space is between 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Slower temperatures will prolong the drying time of the paint. Proper ventilation and the use of fans will increase the drying time of stains considerably.

Most staining brands will give an estimated drying time of 12 to 24 hours on a regular basis. But it is advisable to wait at least 24 to 48 hours to ensure a completely and totally dry room.

Which is better between oil-based polyurethane and water-based polyurethane?

Polyurethanes serve majorly as a shield for hardwood floors, and it keeps them from all forms of damage. Both types of polyurethane have their strengths and weaknesses.

One major difference is their color; oil-based polyurethane has a unique Amber hue while water-based polyurethane is clear. The Amber hue of oil-base polyurethane continues to darken over time.

However, it is usually less noticeable on stained hardwood floors. While water-based polyurethane will remain clear for the lifetime of the wood flooring.

Another difference between them is their drying times. And water-based polyurethane dries faster, allowing over 4 coats to be applied successfully in one day. It can be walked on with socks after a duration of four to six hours. While oil-base polyurethane needs at least 24 hours to dry before it can be walked on with socks.


Getting your hardwood floors refinished involves the use of different substances like polyurethane which contains carcinogens, and some other chemicals which are harmful to the health. It is advised to stay away from the house completely for a reasonable period in which all toxic fumes and smells will have cleared out of your home when newly refinishing your hardwood floors. Polyurethane’s fumes and odors always lead to severe breathing and respiratory allergies, and even asthma.

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