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How Long Does It Take To Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Hardwood Flooring Installation in Houston

How Long Does It Take To Refinish Hardwood Floors?

How Long Does It Take To Refinish Hardwood Floors? This is a question that everybody considering updating their wooden floors must consider. It’s stressful enough to hunt for and find a reliable sanding contractor who can do a good job. It should not be difficult to estimate how long the project will take. Take a look below, let us break it down for you.

Knowing the timeline allows you to plan ahead of time and increases the project’s chances of success. So, when it comes to refinishing hardwood floors, how long does it take? To be able to estimate correctly, you have to first understand how various factors affect the duration of wooden floor refreshing.

How Long Does It Take To Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Factors affect the time taken to refinish a wooden floor.

A variety of factors influence the length of time, including:

  • Extent of damage
  • Products used
  • Area to be covered
  • Staining
  • Wood species
  • Current weather conditions at the time.

Once you understand these dynamics and how they affect the refinishing process, you realize you need to do a few preparations. The most important thing to do first is to find a place to move to while the refinishing is going on. For health reasons, neither you nor your pets can stay in the house. Arrange to get space big enough to fit your furniture too. Most people wait to refinish their floors when they are off on vacations or long trips. If you just bought a home, plan to refinish about a month before switching houses. 

 refinish Hardwood Floors

Extent of damage

The state of the floor will determine which steps of the refinishing process to follow. For a complete refinishing job, here is the simple guide;

  1. Removing the shoe base molding if it is there.
  2. Check for and fix loose boards, moisture damage squeaks, and creeks.
  3. Sanding and sealing
  4. Staining
  5. Applying varnish

There is no conventional way to tell exactly how long each step will take. The processes can also be slowed down by the nature of products applied on the floor and how long they have been in place. Sanding an old surface, for example, takes more work and time than sanding unfinished hardwood. It could take a few hours to 1-2 days to fix and sand.


Staining adds a desirable tint to the floor. It may or may not be necessary. Staining may take one day to apply and dry if the shade is light and two days if it is darker. Best practice recommends letting all wood floor stains dry for 24-48 hours before going over with polyurethane.

Finishing Coat

Finishing off is the last and most crucial part of refinishing hardwood floors as it determines the final look of your space and how long the floors retain the glow. 

How Long Does It Take To Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Product: Oil-based polyurethane Vs. Water-based polyurethane.

Both products have pros and cons. Knowing the difference between the two products might help you to decide which is best for your project, but most homeowners and contractors prefer oil-based polyurethane.

It is cheaper, lasts longer, and looks better than water-based varnish. It, therefore, makes sense why oil-based polyurethane would take longer to apply and dry.

The coats of water-based polyurethane, on the contrary, are thinner and dry up very quickly. A maximum of 4 layers can be applied in one day, although most trees species need at least three coats. 

Wood species

The type of wood used on your floor should guide you on whether to use stain or not. It will also determine the appropriate polyurethane base. Some species can only be refinished by oil-based polyurethane, while others only take water-based poly.

Floor Area

Most wood floor refinishing projects are done on 1000-1500 sq ft with one day. For large areas, the workforce can be increased to reduce elapsed time.


The weather conditions also affect how long it will take for the polyurethane to dry up. Humidity conditions will slow down the process, while windy and warm weather will facilitate the drying of both stain and polyurethane.


Ensure to hire an experienced team with a good reputation. It will save you extra expenses due to repeat works and dragged deadlines. Lucky for you, the last thing you need to worry about is the efficiency of our team. We do impeccable work and offer top quality within reasonable timelines.

Refinish Hardwood Floors

General guide

To sum up, the factors affecting hardwood floor refinishing duration, it would take our team 3-5 days to sand and apply oil-based poly on natural hardwood on an area of up to 5000 sq ft.

The table has a summary of the breakdown:




Repairs & sanding

2 days


2 days

Varnishing: Oil-based poly

3 days

Water-based poly

1 day


Drying time, and after how long should you use the space?

Each coat of oil-based polyurethane requires 24hrs of drying before the next one is applied. 2 coats may suffice, but we recommend 3. For all the 3 coats, it will take 3 days if humidity is moderate. However, the floor needs more drying time before you can walk on it and move furniture back in.


We advise that you stay away for at least 5 days after the last coat is applied so that the floor hardens completely. At the end of five days, the house is still musty but, one can walk on the floors. It is safer for humans to wear socks if they need to use the room 1-3 days after application. 


Furniture can be moved back in after 5 days, but not the area rug. Wait until the refinish is 3-4 weeks old so that rug fibers do not stick to the floor or leave an ugly imprint.


Pets can be a bit sensitive to fumes. They could also scratch the floor that may not have been completely dry at the end of the five days. Only allow dogs into the area after 2 weeks. Cats can come in after 7 days.

Refinish Hardwood Floors

Final Thoughts

Hardwood flooring is hard-wearing and can last a good 30 years with proper care. The finishing gloss may disappear due to wear, scratching up, and bad cleaning habits. Refinishing is a cheaper and shorter process done every 6-10 years to prevent replacing the flooring before its economic life is exhausted. Furthermore, refinished floors improve the aesthetic appearance of your home. Even more advantageous if you are looking to sell, this simple remodeling process could drastically improve the resell value to over 110%.


Consultation & Scheduling to Your Dream Home

As one of the top home renovation firms in Houston, Texas, our Smart Remodeling LLC team is here to help bring your remodeling design to life. It’s destined to increase your home’s value and enhance your quality of life. Contact us to schedule your Complimentary Consultation today or visit our showroom at 12711 Fuqua St, Suite 106 Houston, TX 77034, to discuss the possibilities of home remodeling today! We will make every effort to accommodate your schedule when scheduling your consultation.

We at Smart Remodeling have a team ready to help you spruce up your home with professional floor refinishing. Talk to us today.






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