Made of strong wood with finishes that are more protective than ever, hardwood floors are extremely durable.
But when the finish is fresh, it’s much more sensitive than it will be after it fully cures.
During this brief time, we recommend that homeowners follow these guidelines:
Maintain a warm room temperature
Once the floor is finished, the room temperature needs to remain between 68-75 degrees for one week. The floor must be warm for the finish to cure properly.
(For new sand-on-site floors or refinish jobs that involve re-sanding, the room temperature should also be between 68-75 degrees for at least one day prior to the sanding.)
Help your floors dry
Ventilation helps finish dry. It also helps get rid of the strong finish smell. So, six hours after the last coat of finish has been applied, go by your home and open any doors or windows you can without entering the home—creating as much cross-ventilation as possible. Let the air flow for 15-30 minutes before closing up again.
The next day, you can return home and begin walking on the floor. Open all the windows and doors for a half-hour to an hour, turning on any fans to help with the ventilation, and then close up again. Heat also helps the finish dry.
Wait to move in furniture
Don’t put furniture (or appliances) in the room for at least 24 hours after the final application of finish. And when you move it in, set it in place rather than dragging it across the floor. If it’s too heavy to lift, use plywood over blankets or some other method of protecting the floor while you move the heavy load.
Wait to cover the floors
Rugs on hardwood floors are a great way to protect floors and add to their beauty. But for the first two weeks after finishing, the finish is still curing. So, for two weeks, don’t cover the floor(s) with rugs, or anything else (such as cardboard boxes during a move).
An exception is when construction is still going on. In that case, cover the flooring with soft rugs, sheets, blankets, etc., during the day but take them up at night.
Don’t mop for a month
Until the finish is sufficiently cured, which can take up to a month, using any liquid to clean (including hardwood flooring cleaners) can weaken the finish.
If you spill something on the floor, use a damp cloth on that spot only.
Get ready to enjoy
Hardwood floors with modern finishes will look wonderful and resist damage for many years—often decades—without any need for refurbishment.
So, be patient as you follow these guidelines. A month of pampering your new finish is a small price to pay for the lasting enjoyment you’ll gain.