How soon after refinishing wood floors can you put rugs down?

In other words, how long before you can put rugs on refinished floors? Or..

When can I put rugs on refinished floors?

This is a post on how long you need to wait before putting rugs on your hardwood floors which have been refinished recently.

Getting your floors refinished in a job, will cost lots of money.

Placing a rug too soon before your floors are completely dry can damage both the rug and the floors.

The rug can suck out some of the colors creating a discoloration problem on the fibers.

In a worst-case scenario, the oils used can cause a reaction leading to wear and tear.

Additionally, the rug might end up stuck on the floors, which will leave residues or scratches that will cost you more money to remove.

Worse off, the imprints or residues left by the rug on the floor might be permanent, causing you to completely redo the whole place.

Your rug might be an oriental rug, such as a Persian or Turkish rug, which will even cost you more money to replace it with a new one.

I am sure you do not want to run into any of the problems above, and that is why I wrote this guide to help you decide how long you should wait before putting a rug on refinished floors.


How Soon After Refinishing Wood Floors Can You Put Rugs Down? [Factors To Consider]


The time it will take to wait depends on the refinishing method used: Water-based polyurethane or oil-based polyurethane.

Water-based polyurethane will typically take less than 24 hours to dry. It is recommended you wait at least two days before you can put your rug or move back the furniture.

On the other hand, an oil-based polyurethane will take several weeks to dry.  The wait time is longer, but it will cost you less, looks better, and it will last longer.

In the case where you use a traditional Varnish, waiting three to five days is enough to get you that perfect final look.


High temperatures and low humidity are the factors you need to speed up the drying process.

If the weather is humid and cold, the floors will take much longer to dry compared to hot, summer-like homes with free circulation of air.

If the humidity of your home is too high, you can get a dehumidifier to reduce it. This is very important, especially for rugs and carpets, which quickly form mildew smells when they become too moist.

You can also improve air circulation in your home by opening windows during the day, handing wet clothes outside, or turning on fans or air conditioners during long showers and cooking sessions.


Earlier, we said that if you put a rug too soon, it might end up sucking up the un-dry oils or paint, causing problems like discoloration.

Some rugs are more delicate than others. For example, Persian or Turkish rugs, often known as Oriental rugs, are too valuable, quality, and expensive to expose to such conditions.

The same can be said about all handmade rugs made with natural fibers like cotton, wool, and silk. The organic dyes found in these rugs can quickly run off into your floors, causing permanent scars.

Pro Tip: Make sure you use a rug pad on such delicate rugs to prevent the solvents oils from sipping through the fibers of the rug leading to their damage. You must also remember to choose the right rug pad material to avoid causing further damage.



For example, herringbone and Parquet are two types of wood that are known to take longer to dry compared to other wood types.

Similarly, some wood species, such as Pine and Maple, are known to take longer too.



Sometimes after the floors are completely dry, you might need to do some repair work such as adding another coat of paint or removing some stains which have formed in the process.

When such works arise, it means that you have to wait much longer until the whole process is complete.

For example, if you added a wax coating for further protection during the refinishing process, you also need to consider its drying time during the calculation process.



You can test if your refinished floor is dry safely by placing a facial tissue on top of the floor panel then walk on it.

In case you notice some residue or discoloration on the tissue, you need to sit back and wait for more time before placing a rug.

Pro Tip: You can also use a cotton Towel or Paper Towel if you do not have a facial tissue mentioned above.

Before performing the test, take these precautions:

  • Make sure you have waited at least 24-48 hours if Urethane was used and at least one week if oil-based paint was applied from the time you applied the paint.
  • Please remove your shoes, but do not do it bare feet, you can put on some socks.
  • You can put these Doggie Socks or Felt Pads on your dog or any other pet and allow them to walk on the floor to test if they are dry.


Your floors might be dry, but you can easily cause new problems if you do not follow the right cleaning or maintenance procedures used on newly refinished floors.

Before you put your rug on the floor am sure you shall clean up the place to remove any dust or particles which might have collected during the wait time.

Make sure you use the right equipment, detergents, and procedures during the cleaning.

Pro Tip: For instance, these products are highly recommended for use in cleaning hardwood floors: Bona floor Mop, and this Bona no residue water-based floor cleaner.

How Soon After Refinishing Wood Floors Can You Put Rugs Down?


Similar Posts


  1. Thank you for the heads up about certain rug materials and how they might need extra protection before you use them on refinished hardwood floors. We’re planning some spring cleaning and home renovation projects in the coming weeks, and we wanted to take this opportunity to try and use some antique rugs to give the place a new look. Since we’re going to hire some hardwood refinishing services along the way, I’ll make sure to remember your tips and hints on what to do before we lay down some rugs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *