Frequently Asked Questions About Hardwood Floor Refinishing

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Hardwood floors need to be refinished from time to time to protect the wood itself. A polyurethane-finished hardwood floor is covered with coats of liquid polyurethane that dries to form a protective shell over the wood. Over time, that finish can be scratched, rubbed, and scraped away. The homeowner will then need to have the finish reapplied. 

How Often Does It Need To Be Reapplied?

A general rule of thumb is that polyurethane will need to be reapplied after five to seven years. However, if you use furniture protectors underneath your furniture, only use approved cleaning chemicals, and sweep your floor regularly, you can probably go about ten years between applications. Certain cleaning chemicals interact poorly with the polyurethane, which can shorten its life. Also, pets are a common danger. Pet claws will scratch at the polyurethane, leaving it dented and foggy after a few years. Lastly, pet urine can degrade the polyurethane if not cleaned up quickly. 

How Long Does Refinishing Take?

The refinishing job typically takes between two and four days, depending on your polyurethane. A water-based polyurethane cures more quickly between coats, so it can be finished in about two days. An oil-based polyurethane requires more time between coats, which means it can take three to four days. That might be even longer if you have significant damage to your floor or if you have a very large space. 

You’ll then have to allow the polyurethane to dry. The entire process can be as much as a week before you’re walking on your floor again. 

Can You Change the Color of the Floor?

Hardwood floors can be stained to appear different colors. If your floor is un-stained currently, changing the color is as simple as applying a stain. If your floor currently has a stain, the contractor will need to consider lifting the old stain. The old stain can often be sanded away. If you’re trying to go darker than the existing stain or if you like the look of mixing the colors, you can apply the new stain on top of the old stain. That process will add a  few hours to overall work time. 

How Long Before It’s Livable?

The entire process will take a few days to apply the new coat of finish. You should wait about 24 to 48 hours before walking on the floor in socks. Wait about a week before putting the furniture back in the room, and wait about four weeks before putting down any rugs.

Hire a Professional Floor Refinishing Company

Hire professionals to get the best hardwood floor refinishing job possible. You’ll be glad you did!

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