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Can You Walk on Hardwood Floors After Installation?

If you’ve just installed a hardwood floor, you may be wondering when you can walk on it. The answer is…it depends. Seriously. Read on to find out more and to access your type of flooring and installation method for a clear-cut answer.

Things to Consider

The type of flooring you lay matters greatly in figuring the length of time after installation it can safely be walked over.

Give any floor a day. At minimum, a full 24 hours is recommended for any type of flooring that is laid with any method.

Glued flooring depends on the glue. Most adhesive comes with an instructional manual that varies from product to product. The drying time should be included in the information. Most urethane-based adhesive will fully cure in 12-20 hours but many continue to cure for weeks. It does depend on the humidity and the temperature of the room. It is recommended that only light traffic go across floors that continue to dry over a period of time and that no traffic be on for the first 24 hours.

Urethane wood flooring adhesive that has a vapor and sound barrier can take longer to completely dry. If you are using this type, it’s best not to walk on it for a day or two and then to only have light traffic until it is fully cured which should be stated in the instructions.

Nailed down hardwood flooring can typically be walked on after 24 hours. There should be no additional wait time.

While tough hardwoods, like oak and hickory, are safe to walk on before softer wood like bamboo and Douglas fir.

Worth the Wait

Hardwood flooring is an investment. Doing whatever it calls for to take good care of them, like holding off to walk on them after installation, is worth the wait.

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