Two people moving a cream colored couch

When can I move my furniture back/walk on the floors?

Most of our clients are surprised on how quickly they can walk on their wood floors after our work is completed!

I am going to explain the drying/curing process for the way we finish 95% of our floors. Unless you have asked for an alternative method or products, we can assume this will relate to your floors. The most commonly used finish is a catalyzed commercial-grade water-based polyurethane. The beauty of this finish is it has almost no odor, is extremely durable and dries very quickly. Under ideal drying conditions (60-80 degrees with a relative humidity between 30-50%) this finish will dry between 2-3 hours. At that point, you can walk on your floors! We strongly recommend socks only traffic for the first 24 hours. After this time, the floors are 90% cured, meaning almost at their full hardness and durability. We also strongly recommend keeping higher traffic and/or pets (with freshly trimmed nails, of course) off the floor for the first 24 hours, if possible, as the floors are more susceptible to scratching the first couple days. Obviously, dogs closer to 40-50 lbs+ will do much more damage than cats or smaller dogs. Some clients have used the doggy slippers in the past with some success.

At this point, 24 hours after the final coat has been applied, your floors are ready for your furniture again. DO NOT SLIDE ANYTHING ACROSS THE FLOOR. Lift and place everything – we know it can be challenging, but this will ensure a scratch/gouge free floor. Some clients want to use furniture sliders, large moving blankest, or comforters to drag their furniture across the wood floors, but this is still not recommended. We do strongly recommend using felt pads on anything that moves such as ottomans, bar stools or dining room chairs, and can provide these if needed.

At 72 hours, the floors are 100% cured and this is when the area rugs can return.

When we first got into this business, over 20 years ago, oil-based finish was very popular. It was inexpensive, looked great, and was very durable. The downsides are it took 18 hours to dry and was full of chemicals and odors that would off-gas in your home for 30 days or more. We rarely use this finish unless requested. If using this finish, you need to wait up to 24 hours to walk on the floor and 3-5 days before you move your furniture back, then an additional 25 days before returning any area rugs. Most of the time, these dry times are difficult to accommodate. More often than not, this is used for clients that are not moving into their home right away.

Recently, hard wax oils or natural oil finishes like Rubio Monocoat and Bona Hard wax oil have become popular because of the different color options and the low or no VOC’s. This is a good option for people that are very sensitive to chemicals, but there are also downsides. This is a penetrating finish, meaning it seals the wood from within, as opposed to a polyurethane that sits on top of the wood. Some clients feel this is less durable that a polyurethane, and it typically only has a flat or matte sheen. These also have long dry times, requiring at least 1-2 days before walking on the floors and achieving a full cure after a week or more.