Don’t wait for your wood floors to dry before putting rugs on them. This is common advice, but it’s wrong. If you put a rug on refinished floors before it dries completely, the floor and rug both will be damaged. 

The rug can suck some colors of the flooring that will cause discoloration problems in the wet floor and the rug also. The oils of the floors will react and speedily cause the rug to wear and tear.

The rug may also be stuck with the floors, and while removing, you may have to face rug residue and scratches on the floor. This means you have to face troubles like redoing the floor refinishing process and buying a new rug.

Do you have any wish in mind to face any of these problems? If not, then you must know exactly how long before you can put rugs on refinished floors.

And for that, reading our article is best. Here we will tell you everything you need to know to save your floor and rug.

How Long Before You Can Put Rugs on Refinished Floors

There is no fixed time frame for when you can put rugs on refinished floors. 

Ultimately it depends on some crucial facts like the Refinishing methods, the condition and type of the floor, the kind of rug, temperature, and prepping the floor.

Let’s know a little more about these factors to understand the waiting time.

Refinishing Methods:

There are two refinishing methods, one is water-based, and another one is oil-based polyurethane. The drying time your floor will take decides how long before you can put rugs on it.

If the A water-based polyurethane takes three days to dry properly after the job is finished. Though it will be ready to use after 24 hours, it’s better to wait for one week and then put your rug on it.

But one the other hand, if the floor is refinished with oil-based polyurethane, it will take a minimum of one week to dry and sometimes more. As we know, we can put the rug only after the floor is fully dry, and experts say it’s better to wait two days more after proper drying. 

So basically, we can put a rug on an oil-based floor after 10-14 days of refinishing. If the drying process takes less time, put a rug after ten days and if it takes longer, then put the rug after 14 days. 

(You can do the test to know if the floor is fully dried or not.)

Types of Floors:

Floor-type is another important factor that decides the drying process. Some floors take a longer time to dry, and some lower. If your floor is the one that takes lower time, you can put your rug on it faster.

But if the floor is herringbone, maple, or such wood that takes a long time to dry, you may have to wait a minimum of 14 days.

Types of Rugs You Use:

Rugs are available in various varieties. If your rug is luxurious oriental rugs like a Persian or Turkish rug, know these are very delicate. It’s better to wait a little more time before putting these on refinishing floors. 

But if it’s a durable rug like nylon or polyester, put them on the refinished floor just after it’s dried. You don’t have to wait any extra time, as they can sustain in a moisture environment.


Temperature is another factor that affects the floor drying time. If the temperature is high, the floor will dry faster, but it will take a long time to dry if the temperature is humid.

Experts say, with the right temperature, a water-based polyurethane refinished floor will take 3-4 days to dry properly, while the rime will increase when it’s oil-based polyurethane. It will take 7-10 days to dry properly.

Now we suggest, based on research if you use the traditional water-based method, wait one week and then put the rug on it. And if you choose the second option, wait 14 days and then put the rug on the floor. 

How to Test the Refinished Floors Is Ready to Put Rugs?

Is the floor dry enough or not? How to know that? 

It’s simple with our clever trick. After the mentioned drying time has passed, you can do a taste to know whether the floor is dried or not finally. 

Take a white cotton cloth, tissue, or towel. Ensure whatever you are using is white so that you won’t get confused with discoloring. Place the towel flat a long way on top of the floor, and walk over it.

Avoid walking barefoot, as well as wearing any shoes. So what’s left? The comfortable socks. Yes, you can walk over it with socks, it will ensure your foot is safe along with the floor, and you get the best results.

You don’t have to walk a lot; a step will be enough, but you can use the step twice to be assured. Go over it, stepping once, and come back in the same way.

Now check the piece of cloth or towel; is it still pure white or any visibility of the floor or a little moisture or discoloration?

Now you are the decider, if the cloth seems OK, we mean dry and pure white, it means it’s fully dry, and you can put a rug on it the next day. But if it’s a little moisturized or discolored, wait for a few days more. 

When Can You Put Rugs Down on New Hardwood Floors?

You can put rugs on the new hardwood floor when it’s properly refinished and dried. In general, if you do a professional water-based polyurethane with fast-curing materials, the job will be done within a week, and you can put the rug after 3-5 days have passed. If it’s fully dried in 3 days, wait two days more and put a rug on it on the 5th day.

On the other hand, if the new hardwood floor is just refinished with low-end materials or oil-based polyurethane, it won’t take a long time to complete but a long time to dry. Usually, an oil-based polyurethane floor takes 7-10 days to dry.

Experts recommend waiting extra four days (double than water-based polyurethane) with oil-based, so if it dried in 7 days, put the rug on it on the 12th day, and if it takes ten days do it on the 14th day.

Frequently Asked Question

How Long Before You Can Put Furniture on Refinished Hardwood Floors

You can put furniture on refinished hardwood floors from 24 hours to 3 days. If you have refinish your hardwood floors with water-based polyurethane, you can put rugs on the floors in 24 hours. And if it’s oil-based polyurethane, you have to wait a minimum of 3 days.

How Long Does It Take for Refinished Hardwood Floors to Dry

It will take a minimum of 3 days for refinished hardwood floors to dry if it’s refinished with water-based polyurethane. It will be 80% dry on the first day, 90% on the second day, and fully dried in 3 days.

But if it’s oil-based polyurethane, it will take seven days to dry. 80% dried in 3 days, 90% in 5days, and 100% in 7 days. But it can differ due to temperature and humidity.

How Do You Get the Smell out Of Hardwood Floors After Refinishing

Getting the smell out of hardwood floors after refinishing is simple. You can do it with home ingredients white vinegar. Take some white vinegar in an open bowl, place it overnight and change in the morning. On the very first day, you will almost get rid of the smell; if you want more clear air, continue for three days.

Can I Stay in My House While the Floors Are Refinished

You can live in your house while floors are refinished if you want, but it’s better not to. We don’t think anyone can stay with polyurethane scent for a long time. And if you have a migraine, don’t ever think of it. Polyurethane can cause and increase migraine.

How Long Before Dogs Can Walk on Refinished Hardwood Floors

Dogs can walk on refinished hardwood floors after 48-72 hours have passed. If the temperature was high, allow the dog after 48 hours, but if the temperature was low and the floor is not yet 90% dried, dogs can’t walk on it.


Refinishing the floor is a great way to give your home a fresh look, but allowing them to dry properly is also essential. If you put rugs on wet floors, it will cost you a lot. So how long to wait before you can put rugs on the refinished floor? 

Depending on the polyurethane method, the waiting time will be 7-14 days. Read above to learn more. We have answered with explanations and complete details. Comment below if you have something more to know; we will respond as soon as possible.

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  1. Sharron May says:

    What rug is ok to put down on new polyurethane floor

    1. A non-slip rug with a natural rubber or felt backing is safe for new polyurethane floors. Avoid rugs with plastic or latex backing, as they can damage the finish.

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