Can I Stay In My House While Floors Are Refinished – Is That Wise?

Refinishing can be the easiest and most cost-effective way to give a new look to the home. But that begs a common dilemma: where to stay during the time? 

Can I stay in my house while floors are refinished? No, staying in the house while the floors are refinished is not recommended. The chemicals used during refinishing release harmful fumes that can affect the lungs and lead to breathing problems. Still, if you have enough space to stay, you should take protective caution before staying. 

The details on the precautions are added below. The discussion will help you understand why staying at home during the process is not a wise choice. So, let’s check it out!

Can I Stay In My House While Floors Are Refinished? Why Not?

Can I Stay In My House While Floors Are Refinished

No, staying in the house while the floors are being refinished is not a wise choice because refinishing takes professional hands with a lot of safety measures. Moreover, safety gears need to be worn during the whole process.

  • The chemicals used during the process are highly toxic. If inhaled, it can get into the lungs, lead to breathing problems, and cause dizziness. 
  • Apart from that, the whole process requires machinery that creates extreme noise. Living in a house with loud noise can lead to headaches and suffering for the people. It can also cause hearing problems
  • On the other hand, the strong odor of the chemicals may make people suffocate. Furthermore, people with low tolerance ability, pregnant women, and kids are at high risk of getting affected. 

If you have a sufficient place to stay at home, you might take a chance. Prior to staying, you must take some precautions that are further discussed below. 

Health Impacts Of The Materials Used In Refinishing 

Health Impacts Of The Materials Used In Refinishing

The materials and chemicals used in the refinishing process can affect the body of healthy individuals. The health impacts of the materials used in the refinishing are added below.

Sanding Dust 

During sanding, the wood dust can get spread in the air. When inhaled by humans, the dust can get into the lungs and cause lung infection. People with dust allergies are more prone to experience allergic reactions.

Other symptoms such as coughing, headache, wheezing, runny nose, and shortness of breath may also be visible in the individual. Long exposure to wood dust can worsen the condition of the surrounding people. Also can cause inflammation in the lung lining

Pregnant women and children would suffer the most. In pregnant women, serious health conditions can occur, impacting the fetus. 

Apart from that, the chemicals sanded off the surface are also toxic and carcinogenic. These chemicals would not only cause lung infection but also can cause eye irritation and skin problems. Staying in such a condition is harmful and would only affect the health. 

Volatile Compounds

The sealer and paints used in the refinishing project mainly contain volatile components. The volatile components not only influence the global environment but also pose negative health impacts. 

Those substances are also hazardous and cancerous. They are considered the main substances that cause eye irritation. Furthermore, it can lead to lung infection, kidney damage, asthma, and meningitis.

House While Floors Are Refinished


Apart from inhaling the substances, odor can cause dizziness and headache. The fumes are so strong that being in the place would be tough and will cause suffocation. 

Moreover, dissociation of the fume takes a long time. During the time interval, fumes in closed rooms can suffocate the people. The odor will come off as long as the sealer and paint are not dried completely. 

How Long Do You Have To Stay Off The Floor After Refinishing?

At least 2 to 3 days are required to dry all materials. However, the drying time also depends on the weather, the floor’s size, the coating used, and ventilation facilities. 

Well, the refinishing process starts with sanding. Later, paints and sealer are added to the floor. Each layer of paint requires time to dry. The wet layer is toxic and you can not do any further work on it. And even after drying, you need to sand again. 

How Long Do You Have To Stay Off The Floor After Refinishing

The polyurethane or any sealer takes 8-24 hours to dry for each layer. But the full curing time is longer.  Simply put, the whole application process requires at least 2-3 days, depending on the sealer. 

Afterward, you can step on the floor. On the other hand, curing can take 7-30 days, depending on the sealer type. Then, you can consider the whole project completed and it is safe to use the home floor as before. 

But after the completion of the application of paint and sealer, you should rest them. You may be able to move on the floor, but with caution. 

What Precautions Should Be Taken If You Want To Stay During The Refinishing?

What Precautions Should Be Taken If You Want To Stay During The Refinishing

Many might have no place to visit or rest during the refinishing. Or some may have enough space to live separately in the same home. In that case, you need to follow some precautions to stay. Below, the precautions are included. 

  • Start the work earlier so that the coats can get dried faster
  • Select the furthest room from the site
  • Choose the weather that would facilitate drying of the floor
  • Dust control measurements should be taken
  • Wear safety guards such as masks and eyeglasses
  • Should use an air purifier and proper ventilation should be ensured
  • Test the air quality before moving to the room


Let’s go through some of the frequently asked questions to help you better understand the problem. 

Q: Can you walk on a refinished floor?

No, you should not walk on a refinished floor immediately. You need to wait until 24 hours pass. Still, you should not walk while putting on shoes or even barefoot. Instead, put on socks until the floor dries. 

Q: How long to wait to put furniture on the refinished floor?

You need to wait at least 3 days to put furniture on the refinished floor. Putting the furniture before drying the refinished floor can damage it and will make all the effort go in vain. Even after 3 days, dragging furniture and rug on the floor should also be prohibited. 

Q: When can you put a rug on the refinished floor?

You should put the rug on the refinished floor after 2-3 weeks. The rug is mainly made of a rough material that can scratch the floor if dragged. That’s why harsh materials should be kept away from the refinished floor until full curing. 


Overall, when you ask, can I stay in my house while floors are refinished, it’s not recommended. Apart from the toxic chemicals, the smell and noise may be intolerable to you. Moreover, the people nearby may get affected by the fumes and suffer severe headaches and breathing problems.

Kids and pregnant women especially will face the side effects the most. Now, if you have no other choice, take on protective measures. If you are compromising your health, at least take some initiative to face the minimum effect.