Professional hardwood refinishing service in progress

How Long Does It Take to Refinish Hardwood Floors?

During the 19th century, wood floors were polished by hand using beeswax or linseed oil. It wasn't until the early 1900s that homeowners began using synthetic resins to finish their floors.

They used solutions like cellulose acetate and cellulose nitrate. By 1910, people were finishing their floors with phenol-formaldehyde. 20 years later, vinyl acetate and acrylic made their way into the home as wood finishes.

Today, homeowners can choose from oak, cherry, bamboo, teak, and a variety of hardwood flooring options.

How long does it take to refinish hardwood floors, though? Keep reading to learn more about refinishing hardwood floors and how long you should expect it to take.

How Long Does It Take to Refinish Wood Floors?

How long it takes to refinish hardwood floors depends on the condition the floors are in. Do they need to be cleaned and restored? What type of finish do you plan to use?

Let's take a look at the different factors that may influence how long it takes to refinish hardwood floors.

Cleaning and Restoring

The beauty of wood flooring is that it boasts a modern aesthetic and a timeless, luxurious appeal. Many people love the rustic look and opt to refinish old wood floors in their homes.

If your floors have seen significant wear and tear, it will probably require cleaning and restoration first.

One of the first steps here would be to remove any non-historic coverings, like paint, from your wood floors. Hand-scraping is the best option to use. If you need to strengthen any partially decayed wood, a semi-rigid epoxy can help.

Remember to let the epoxy harden before you sand your wood floors and apply a natural finish.

Do your floors require sanding? Sanding takes away the original surface of wood floors, which is why most can only withstand being sanded once or twice before nail heads become exposed. If you must sand your wood floors, it's important to know how long to sand floors so that you don't overdo it. If they can spare being sanded, skip it to make your floors last longer. Uncertainties about floor sanding is an excellent example of why you'll likely want to work with a professional flooring installer.

The Type of Finish

The type of finish you use affects the time it takes to refinish wood floors, too. Again, your professional installer would recommend the type best for your floors.

There are 2 types of polyurethane used on hardwood floors. Water-based polyurethane dries quickly, but the finishing isn't as durable as oil-based polyurethane or other natural finishes. Overall, water-based polyurethane takes around 2 days to dry, and each coat dries within around 2 to 4 hours.

Oil-based polyurethane takes about 4 days or more to dry completely, coat by coat. Each coat takes around 24 hours to dry, and darker stains can take 2 days for one coat to dry.

The Weather and Size of Your Space

If humidity is high when you're refinishing your hardwood floors, it will take longer for the wood floors to cure than in drier conditions. If you opt to refinish your floors during a rainy season, the air will inevitably be more humid.

If you need your floors to dry faster, make use of air conditioning and dehumidifiers, to remove excess moisture from the indoor air.

The bigger the space, the more time it'll take to refinish your floors, too. Plus, it depends on whether you have to move furniture and prepare your space to begin refinishing. It's important to allow floors to dry completely before returning to use and putting furniture back in place.

On average, expect it to take 3 full days at the very least to refinish your wood floors. If you're not sure what aesthetic you're going for in every room, get inspired by looking at our sample flooring galleries.

Tips for Sanding Wood Floors

Sanding your wood floors is a lengthy process that requires careful consideration and planning before getting started. While professional assistance is recommended, here is what you can expect the process to entail:

The process requires careful attention and the right grit to ensure you don't take off too much or gauge your floors. Floors need to be immaculately clean and checked for any nail heads or bits of grit stuck in the joints before beginning.

Safety precautions need to be taken. Sanding means dust and sometimes heavy machinery. Proper safety equipment is important for filtering out and vacuuming the wood dust as it can be toxic, and you don't want to breathe it in.

A shop vac is ideal for removing toxic dust, ideally one with soft bristles, as harder bristles could damage the wood and undo all your sanding work.

How long it takes to sand wood floors depends on who is doing it. While a professional might take a few hours to finish, doing it yourself could take a couple of days.

How Long Does It Take to Refinish Hardwood Floors?

The length of time it takes to refinish hardwood floors depends on the variables mentioned above.

How damaged are your wood floors before you opt to refinish them? What's the weather? How much space do you have to cover? Are you refinishing your floors yourself or hiring a professional?

While you might be anxious to get them done, it's essential to take your time and plan accordingly, so that you don't end up rushing through the process or ruining any hard work you complete.

Do you want to replace your flooring with safe and healthy floors? Do you need help ordering and replacing some partially rotted wood? Contact us to find out how we can help or get started by getting a free, in-home estimate!