How Long Do Fumes from Hardwood Floor Refinishing Last?

Hardwood floors are the best thing you can do for the aesthetics of your house. They’ll give the whole house a modern look while maintaining a minimalist look. 

However, the problem comes when you try to refinish those hardwood floors. We’ve all seen the past accidents that happened because of this particular issue.

So, what can you do about fumes from hardwood floor refinishing? 

Well, we can’t sum it up in one sentence. That’s why we wrote this article explaining all the things about it. 

Let’s start, shall we? 

Types of Finish for Hardwood Floors

Types of Finish for Hardwood Floors

There are mainly 3 types of finish or sealers for hardwood floors. But here’s the thing. If you choose a less dangerous sealer, you can reduce or eliminate the fumes of the finish.

Lacquer Sealers

Lacquer sealers contain a huge amount of solvent, making them the most dangerous sealer in our list. And to put a cherry on the top, they’re extremely flammable too. 

You’d be surprised to know that most houses that burned before 20 to 30 years ago were because of lacquer sealed hardwood floors. The strong vapors take no time to fill an entire room. And all it takes to ignite is a tiny spark. 

That’s why ask your contractor what type of sealer he’s going to use. If he says lacquer sealer, ask him to provide another sealer. 

Although now there are VOC(Volatile Organic Compound) laws that are slowly taking out all the lacquer sealers. Most people used it for its quick drying time and its cheap price. 

But if you want the perfect finish for your hardwood floor, you should stay away from lacquer sealers. 

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Here are Our recommended models for the best sanding sealer-

Solvent-Based Sealers

Apart from solvent-based sealers, there are a lot of other sealers that use solvents in them. While they often provide a good look and cause no accidents, they are still dangerous. 

In fact, most of these sealers have very strong fumes and vapors. And depending on the brand, it can be more or less. 

As we mentioned earlier, the new VOC laws are slowly taking out all these products. Because at the end of the day, they are not all safe.

Let’s simplify it with an example-

Suppose you’ve hired someone to refinish the hardwood floors of your house during winter. After a while, the house is full of vapor as the windows are closed. 

If somehow there’s an open flame or you light up a cigarette, can you imagine what’d happen? 

So, our advice would be to stay away from these things. You never know when there’s going to be an accident. 

Here is our recommendations:

Water-Based Finishes

Water-based finishes are the best kind of finish there is. With these things, there’s no risk of getting side effects from VOC. Most importantly, you won’t have to stay extra careful about fire hazards. 

These finishes are designed to release water vapor. So, the fumes are relatively harmless. If you’re refinishing the hardwood floors of your house, this is what we’d recommend. 

Here is the list of the Best Water Based Polyurethane for Floors :

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How Long Do Fumes from Hardwood Floor Refinishing Last?

Now, let’s talk about how long these fumes will last in your house. If you’ve ever been in a house that’s recently gone through a refinishing, you know that the odorous fumes are all over the place. 

However, the length of time will depend on the type of sealers you’re using. As we all know, oil-based products will take much longer to dry whereas water-based products don’t take that long. 

So, drying and curing time can range from 24 to 30 hours. No matter what type of finish you’ll be using, you should never walk on hardwood floors before the 48-hour time period has passed. 

Moreover, the furniture in your house shouldn’t be moved back in before 4 days. So, you get that the fumes are really dangerous. 

Other than that, they take an awfully long time to dry and cure. Some contractors even say that it takes around 30 days for the house to be completely free of fumes. 

How to Get Rid of Finish Smell from Hardwood Floors?

How to Get Rid of Finish Smell from Hardwood Floors

It’s not easy to get rid of the finish smell from hardwood floors. These things travel quite fast and fill out the air of the entire house in no time. As we’ve already mentioned, it can take up to 30 days for the smell to go away.

The worst part is you can even wash the floors to remove the smell. That’ll only make the situation worse on how to get rid of floor refinishing smell. 

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We should warn you that you must never wash your hardwood floors as it’ll remove the finish. Eventually, your investment will be worth nothing. 

So, what’s the best method of removing the finish smell from hardwood floors?

Well, based on our experience we found the best thing you can do is bring in a high-quality air purifier. Nowadays there are a lot of great air purifiers thanks to modern technology. 

You can remove anything from volatile organic compounds to dust, pollen, and other things. But when buying an air purifier, make sure you get a one that has both true HEPA filters and Energy Star ratings. 

The top of the line air purifiers will remove any kind of chemical particles with 99.99 percent efficiency. Although you have to check if they have the proper specifications or not.

That’s why you should do your research first. In fact, we’ll tell you to do your air purifier even before you start refinishing your hardwood floors. That way you’ll be completely prepared about what to do. 


Are Hardwood Floors Toxic?

Bottom Line

So, that’s been it, folks. We don’t know if you noticed it or not but in most parts, we tried to warn you about the dangers of VOC and solvent-based sealers. 

Your precious house shouldn’t burn down because of the fumes from hardwood floor refinishing. So, be careful about who you’re hiring to do the job. 

Ensure that they’re using products that are completely safe. In fact, you should try to cross-check everything, that way you’ll be at ease of mind. 

Good luck!

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