by Ron Joseph
Curing time for polyurethane coated floors
Q. We've just installed new oak flooring that has been coated, in situ, with a non-water based polyurethane finish (not stained). Our contractor recommended that no furniture be placed on it for four days after the final coat, and were surprised at his recommendation that no carpets (Oriental wool carpets) be placed on it for four weeks. Are these times reasonable?
A.Thanks for your email. Frankly, I too am surprised at the four week recommendation. Basically, you want to wait until all the solvents have evaporated from the coating. The acutal time for full drying and cure changes on a case-by-case basis. However, you can speed this up by blowing air over the floor using one or more fans. Test for full hardness and scratch resistance in a corner or somewhere on the floor that is not easily visible to others. Without being there myself to perform the test, I can only suggest that once the solvents have evaporated and the coating has achieved its full cure, you can safely replace the carpets and furniture. One week is better than four days, but I doubt that you need to wait four weeks.