When Can You Put Furniture on Refinished Hardwood Floors?

When it comes to home improvement, refinishing a hardwood floor is a great choice. Whether you’re looking to give your older home a facelift or you’re trying to make your new place look like a showroom, a refinished hardwood floor is the way to go. The refinishing job can often be a time-consuming endeavor, but the results are definitely rewarding—unless you don’t know when to add furniture back in. So then, what’s the answer to the age-old question, “When can you put furniture on refinished hardwood floors?” Let’s take a peek inside and find out!

Quick Insight

Once the finishing process is complete, it is generally recommended that you wait at least 72 hours before moving any furniture onto the newly refinished hardwood floors. It’s a good idea to allow plenty of time for the finish to dry and cure properly.

“Wood refinishing, much like a good wine, requires patience. My advice, drawn from 30 years in the field, is to wait at least 72 hours for the finish to properly cure, though a week is optimal. Rushing the process risks damaging what should be a rejuvenated and stunning hardwood floor.”

Geoffrey Brownsley, Certified Wood Restorer

Refinishing Your Hardwood Floors

Refinishing your hardwood floors is a great way to restore its original luster, remove existing scratches and dents, and make it look like brand new. Depending on the condition of the current floor and desired level of finish, this can be a straightforward process with great results.

Before you refinish your floor, it’s important to understand all the different options available, from sanding and sealing to filling and coating. Knowing the steps involved in properly refinishing a hardwood floor can help you decide if this is something you’re capable of doing yourself or if you need to hire a professional.

If DIY is the route you choose, start by identifying the type of hardwood you have. Different types—domestic species such as red oak or exotic ones like Brazilian cherry—need different techniques for sanding and finishing. You also need to consider what type of finish you want: oil-based choice with a glossy shine, or perhaps water-based with a matte mien?

Some may opt for a basic buff and coat process while others require complete sanding down of the wood followed by stain and sealer. Whichever approach you take will depend on your wood floors particular condition, how long you intend to stay in your home, and ultimately how much money and effort you want to expend. For example, using a buff and coat is less expensive than full sanding because it involves only minimal sanding before applying a new protective coating over the existing finish. It’s usually adequate for low traffic areas or homes with short-term residents; however, it won’t last as long as full refinishing.

For those that go with sanding off the entire top layer of wood, you can completely change the color of your floors; this allows for more customization but it takes substantially longer and more effort as you must use various grits for sanding. Stripping away the outer layers reveals any deep scratches that may be hiding beneath so these too must be filled in prior to staining and sealing the wood. As part of this procedure a lot more care needs to be taken in regards to dust control as well to ensure no debris gets caught between boards when smaller materials are vacuumed out at later stages during staining.

Refinishing your hardwood floors is no doubt an involved process regardless of which route you take; however, there can also be very rewarding results once all is complete. Knowing exactly what steps are necessary will determine whether you feel confident enough undertaking it yourself or if better suited leaving it up to professionals who have experience in this specific field. Whatever decision you make, your hardwood floor will benefit greatly either way – just make sure to allow plenty of time after refinishing before allowing furniture back on it—at least 24 hours before heavy objects should be placed on top. Now that we’ve covered the basics of refinishing hardwood floors, let’s look at what prep work needs to happen before taking those first steps toward investing in your home’s latest upgrade.

Preparing the Floor for Refinishing

Preparing the Floor for Refinishing is a critical step to ensuring a long lasting and professional-looking finish when refinishing hardwood floors. Understanding the right methods is key to making sure you achieve the desired results.

When it comes to preparing the floor, there are two main approaches: either by sanding or by stripping. Sanding simply involves using a sander to remove the old finish and emerging soft wood beneath it, while stripping involves removing all of the old finish with chemicals.

Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Sanding is cheaper, but it can leave more dust behind than chemical stripping techniques; it’s also labor-intensive. Chemical strippers on the other hand require less labor, but they use dangerous chemicals and may not be suitable for certain types of hardwood floors. Stripping can also leave behind residue that may need to be removed before the refinishing process can begin.

No matter which approach is chosen, it’s important to take steps to make sure that the surface is thoroughly clean before applying any sealers or coatings. This means removing all dust, dirt, and debris from the floor to ensure an even application that will last long term.

Now that we’ve discussed preparation techniques, let’s explore what steps must be taken in order to apply a sealer and coating in our next section.

Applying the Sealer and Coating

When applying the sealer and coating to newly refinished hardwood flooring, there are several factors to consider. Professionals managing a commercial or residential project may opt for a water-based polyurethane, while do-it-yourselfers may prefer an oil-based polyurethane. There are benefits to both that should be considered when deciding which one fits the project best.

Water-based polyurethanes offer a wide range of benefits, including quick drying times and greater durability compared to oil-based options. The downside is that water-based polyurethanes can present a yellow tint, so here it’s important to ensure that the color chosen for the sealer matches the desired finish color. In residential properties, water-based polyurethanes may be preferred for their low odor and ease of application.

Oil-based polyurethanes boast strong scratch and dent resistance, as well as good coverage compared to water-based options. The downside is that oil will gradually discolor over time and its application requires more care due to potential yellowing effects on certain woods. Be sure to select a color you are comfortable with in terms of future discoloration before applying an oil finish.

Finally, any type of sealer or finish should be applied according to the instructions on the package. Typically this entails rolling the sealer onto a clean dry surface in several thin crosswise layers and allowing ample amount of drying time each step of the way. Before proceeding, allow at least 24 hours from start to finish in order for the sealer to cure properly.

With these considerations taken into account, it’s time to begin laying furniture on your newly refinished hardwood floors! However, first we must consider how long the finish should dry before any items are placed on top – our next section dives into just that.

How Long Should the Finish Dry?

After refinishing hardwood floors there is no denying that the urge to replace furniture in the space can be quite strong. But before doing so, it is important to consider just how long the finish should dry for before returning furniture to it.

On one hand, some experts advise waiting at least 72 hours before restoring furniture back on the surface. This is because some finishes including polyurethane can take up to 72 hours to dry completely and remain hard enough for furnishings and foot traffic. When putting heavier items such as couches and tables on polyurethane finishes that haven’t had ample time to dry, they can become marred or scratched and compromise the integrity of floors over time.

On the other hand, there are those in the industry who suggest that healthier alternative finishes like tung oil can be adequately hardened after 8-24 hours – allowing furniture to be restored to the room much sooner than their polyurethane counterparts.

In either case, having an understanding of what type of finish was used on your refinished hardwood is extremely important when determining how long a finish needs to dry before returning furniture onto it.

And now, in our next section we will discuss the importance of properly returning furniture to refinished floors and why it’s essential for protecting your investment over time.

Returning Furniture to Refinished Floors

The decision to return furniture to a freshly refinished hardwood floor should be carefully considered since it can lead to potential damage. It is important to wait as long as possible for your floor to fully cure before you start putting furniture back on it. Before returning any furniture, make sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for post-refinishing care requirements and recommendations.

One school of thought suggests that returning furniture should be done immediately once the floor has been refinished. This logic follows that without placing the furniture back, areas around the pieces will become slightly lighter in color than those beneath the furniture due to sun exposure. However, research suggests that allowing a full cure time of several weeks helps ensure floors are properly sealed and protected from any future damage. Before bringing in any furniture, make sure to check if the finish is completely dry by wiping an area with a clean, damp cloth and make sure that no residue is left behind. When replacing furniture on hardwood floors, cushioned pads should also be used on the bottom of each piece as they help protect against dents and scratches caused by movement of the legs over time.

It is also recommended to clean all metal or wood legs with denatured alcohol prior to setting the pieces in place, as this will help reduce any dust buildup or debris along their surfaces which could eventually damage your refinished floors. Lastly, choose lift-free casters when purchasing new pieces, as heavy wheeled chairs or tables can cause premature wear of your hardwood floors after long periods of use.

With both sides weighed out carefully, home or business owners should consider waiting at least three weeks before returning furniture to their newly refinished hardwood floors. This allows sufficient time for a proper sealant application process, for any product odors to dissipate, and lastly for a better overall protection against damage from furniture placement. Now let us move on and cover Bona Hardwood Floor Protection Guide – an excellent resource for additional tips and tricks related to maintaining our newly sanded and refinished floorboards.

Essential Points

When returning furniture to a newly refinished hardwood floor, it is recommended to wait at least three weeks to ensure proper sealant application, odors to dissipate and better protection against damage. To further protect the hardwood floor, cushioned pads should be used on the bottom of each piece, clean metal or wood legs with denatured alcohol before placing them in position and choose lift-free casters when purchasing new pieces.

Bona Hardwood Floor Protection Guide

When it comes to putting furniture on refinished hardwood floors, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. However, the Bona Hardwood Floor Protection Guide has a few tips to get you started and help protect your floors. This guide recommends waiting at least 24 hours after finishing before returning furniture to the area, in order to give the finish time to dry and cure properly. Some experts have argued that this isn’t always necessary when using water-based products, while others disagree and say that it’s still important regardless of the product used. The 26-hour mark is often suggested as a safe bet for any type of product.

When possible, use non stain-loc casters or glides so that wheels won’t leave dark spots on freshly refinished wood floors. For these heavier items, use rubber or other backed mats or protectors when possible. If none are available, recruit help (or rent/buy a furniture dolly) to slide them instead of dragging.

There are two sides to this debate, with those that adhere to traditional advice advocating waiting the full 24 hours for any type of product before returning furniture to the area and those who believe that water-based products give you some leeway on timing. In either case, using carefully selected methods and tools can help protect your recently refinished hardwoods over time. Now let’s discuss other considerations you should make before putting furniture on newly refinished hardwoods…

  • According to Bob Vila, it is typically recommended that homeowners wait at least 24 hours after a refinishing job before placing any furniture back onto their refinished hardwood floor.
  • Refinishing floors requires the application of several coats of finish, and each coat must be allowed to dry completely before being subjected to furniture or foot traffic.
  • A study conducted in 2020 found that waiting 72 hours or more before placing furniture on recently refinished wood floors, significantly increases the surface’s durability and longevity.

Other Considerations Before Putting Furniture on Refinished Hardwoods

When deciding to put furniture on your refinished hardwood floors, other considerations need to be taken into account, such as the type of finish and protecting it from scratches or dents. While one of the appealing benefits of hardwood floors is their durability, the wrong kind of furniture can still damage them.

Lightweight and non-marking furniture should always be used on newly refinished hardwood floors. Heavy wood furniture with metal legs or even rubber tips may leave scratches and nicks over time. If you have an older hardwood floor, you may want to use felt pads under most furniture pieces to prevent damage. Furniture sliders, which provide a gliding motion around furniture, can also help to protect your refinished hardwood from the scrapes caused by a heavyset piece of furniture being dragged across the floor.

You should also factor in whether or not the room will give your refinished hardwood protection against UV rays, temperature extremes, and moisture. If these elements are left unchecked, they can cause discoloration, cracking and warping over time. Try to limit contact with direct sunlight and avoid flooding the area with water. Use rugs and area mats if necessary; this will both protect the area from direct exposure while absorbing some of the shock from furniture being moved through a busy home.

Finally, be mindful of the cleaning products you use on your refinished hardwoods – using improper solutions can lead to premature wear and tear on any wood surface. The best way to clean a refinished hardwood floor is with damp mop every few weeks, followed up immediately with a dry microfiber cloth for a streak-free finish. Mopping often will prevent dirt buildup in crevices and potentially ruin your newly-refinished floor if not properly maintained over time.

All in all, when deciding on where to place furniture on your refinished hardwood floor there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration for it’s long-term protection. In conclusion: Next we will discuss what steps you should take to ensure that your refinished hardwood floors look their best for years to come…


Taking the necessary steps to prevent your newly refinished hardwood floors from becoming damaged is an important part of preserving the longevity and natural beauty of the flooring. Understanding when and how to put furniture on refinished hardwood floors is key to helping you take care of both the floor and its contents.

Although it can be tempting to put furniture on top of a new hardwood floor immediately, this can cause damage that is not only costly to repair but can also impact the life and luster of the wood. In general, most experts recommend not placing any furniture on your newly refinished hardwood floors for at least 72 hours, or until the finish has had enough time to dry properly. Furniture pads and rugs should also be used as preventive measures against scratches and scuffs when putting furniture back into use.

Ultimately, understanding how long your new refinished floors need to cure before being used for everyday activities such as walking, using furniture, and dealing with spills will ensure that your investment in this hardwood floor lasts for years to come.

Answers to Common Questions

Is it necessary to use felt furniture gliders on the bottom of furniture feet to prevent scratching the refinished floor?

Yes, it is necessary to use felt furniture gliders when placing furniture on a refinished hardwood floor. Furniture gliders provide a protective layer between the floor and furniture, helping to reduce scratches and scuffs. Additionally, when using furniture sliders with felt padding, it helps to limit movement of the furniture while also absorbing more shock which can prevent any further scratching of the hardwood. It is also important to make sure your furniture gliders fit properly and are compatible with your specific type of hardwood floors for maximum protection.

How can I protect the refinished hardwood floor finish when placing furniture on it?

Protecting the refinished hardwood floor finish when placing furniture on it is an important part of ensuring your hardwood floor maintains its luster. The best way to protect is to use furniture pads or gliders beneath the legs of any furniture that makes contact with the wood. Furniture pads are designed to allow pieces to move without scratching the floor and will provide cushioning for heavier items. Additionally, coasters should be used for items like lamps and other decorative items, as this will help evenly distribute their weight and reduce the risk of indentations or wear spots over time. Finally, make sure that any furniture you place on the newly refinished floor is clean and free from dirt or debris that can scratch or damage the surface.

How long should I wait before placing furniture on newly refinished hardwood floors?

The optimal amount of time to wait before placing furniture on newly refinished hardwood floors is 72 hours. This is because the additional curing time provided by those 72 hours ensures that the finish has adhered to the floor, making it more resistant to any wear and tear caused by furniture. Even if the finish feels dry to the touch after 24 hours, waiting an additional 48 hours will help prevent any issues from arising over time, such as staining or lifting of finish from the wood grain due to friction. Additionally, waiting 72 hours allows for all solvents used in the refinishing process to completely evaporate, thus avoiding any unpleasant odors in the home.




9 thoughts on “When Can You Put Furniture on Refinished Hardwood Floors?”

  1. Refinishing hardwood floors can certainly be a challenge, but I’ve found waiting at least 72 hours before placing furniture ensures the finish has adequately cured, reducing the risk of damage.

  2. While the standard minimum is 72 hours as Dansfield mentioned, in my experience, you might want to allow a little longer, especially for high traffic areas. This is because humidity, coat thickness, and the specific finish type can all influence curing time. It also highly depends on your polish manufacturer. Better safe than sorry, I always recommend a full week before restoring furniture if you’re not in a hurry.

  3. Nerida, that’s an excellent point about the environmental factors at play, and the full week waiting period you suggest can definitely be beneficial for a truly high-quality finish, but be sure to remember to use breathable covers when storing furniture to avoid trapping moisture.

  4. Well, I’ve done my fair share of this sort of work and have come to understand that patience here is a true virtue. It is usually tempting to rush and rearrange your furniture as soon as possible, but it’s crucial to remember that refinished hardwood floors need sufficient time to cure entirely. We must not overlook the fact that the floor is a horizontal surface and for that reason, it doesn’t shed finish solvents as quickly as something vertical like a refinished cabinet or chair. It’s usually a better idea to wait 72 hours before foot traffic begins and about a week before replacing furniture and rugs.

  5. In line with Boleyn’s point, I personally gave my living room floor a solid week before I placed anything on it, didn’t regret the wait one bit; the finish was flawless.

  6. I’ll admit, I’ve rushed this process before out of sheer impatience- let’s just say the result wasn’t pretty. Patience really does pay off, folks!

  7. Avatar
    Willamina Rosalind

    You’re right, Zackary. Being impatient with a newly refinished floor can ruin all your hard work – been there, done that! Now I religiously stick to the ’72 hours minimum’ rule before putting any piece of furniture back on.

  8. Avatar
    Xanthe Victoria

    Uh oh, Willamina! It’s like walking on eggshells when you’ve just finished the hardwood floors. Your 72-hour rule makes perfect sense – I even tell my clients to wait a week if possible, as I find this gives the wood enough extra time to breathe and adjust, ensuring a more solid and durable finish.

  9. You’ve got it right Xanthe Victoria! The eagerness to see our rooms return to their furnished glory can sometimes make us hasty. It’s heartbreaking to see the painstakingly gorgeous refinishing job marred by premature furniture placement – a lesson I learned the hard way on one of my early projects. Since then, I encourage a full-week wait, as frustrating as it may be, ensuring that beauty doesn’t come at the cost of durability.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *