At GJP, one of the most common questions we get our customers in London asking is ‘how long is it going to take to refinish my hardwood floors?’ It’s London, so we’re used to fitting around our customer’s busy work schedules. One of the biggest mistakes DIY enthusiasts make is underestimating how long it will take to fully refinish their hardwood floors and they’re often left with the nightmare of a postponed project.

Like everything when it comes to hardwood floors, time really depends on quite a lot of things. Whether you’re using an oil or water-based polyurethane for instance. The oil based product takes longer to dry but more importantly, it will last longer than water based polyurethane that will dry in half the time. Water-based polyurethane is perfect for London properties going for short term letting tenancies. As a landlord you can simply refinish the floor at the end of each tenancy with a water-based product which will be less time consuming. It really depends on what you want to achieve.


More about oil-based polyurethane

Generally speaking, you’re looking at up to five days when refinishing your hardwood floors with an oil based polyurethane finish. A wooden floor with no artificial staining with 3 coats of oil based polyurethane will take 3 days to dry (roughly 24 hours of drying time for each coat). In humidity, the drying time will increase and wooden floors with an artificial stain of them will take longer to dry, the darker the stain. If it’s humid and your floor is artificially stained, you’ll need to add an additional 48 hours to the normal 3 day drying time which is why we suggest allowing up to five days; you never know what the London weather will do!

More about water-based polyurethane

As we mentioned earlier, if you’re using water-based polyurethane, it will more often than not be for it’s fast drying property which would suggest your one of those on a tight, London schedule. You’re only looking at about 2 days total refinishing time when applying the water-based polyurethane. We at GJP recommend ignoring advice that suggests you can do this in one day because the more time you leave for drying, the longer lasting the results will be.

Other drying factors

We’ve already talk about humidity and stains but there are other factors worth keeping in mind that can increase the drying time your hardwood floors will require. Pine and maple are notorious for needing more time than other species of wood and if you have either of these, it’s worth seeking expert advice to find out if your floors would benefit from conditioning as these species sometimes do. If your having sanding work done, here at GJP we can usually cover 1000 sq ft of floor per day with a standard sized team. So if you’ve got 200 sq ft, you’ll have to factor in an extra 2 days!

Finally, you need to take into account extra work that can add hours onto your refinishing schedule. Do your floors need repairing? This work can be time consuming and more damaging to the wood if it’s a rushed job. Steps often need repair work and if you’re ripping up carpet, you’ll need to remove the tack strips, staples and debris that will come with it.