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Having been on all sides of this scenario, I thought it best that I write it with the best advice attached. There are all sorts of theories and things to be considered when planning to have construction done to remodel your home. Some are concerned with personal belongings being stolen; others with the health of their lungs, and also some want to be involved with the process in some way.
The sanding process is one with many factors affecting the length it takes to complete. Sometimes the existing finish is durable and thick, taking up additional sand paper and time to remove. Sometimes the floor is not level, and additional or cross-cut sanding is necessary to accomplish the best finished result. In other experiences, a damaged or missing board needs replacement, adding a day or more to the project.
This is one reason it is very important to have someone come to your house to give you an estimate if the timeline and exact estimated cost are of concern to you. Make sure to let the flooring professional, or your cousin who is planning to rent the machines, when you are hoping to have it done by, and be open to their feedback on changing those plans if you need to.
If you will have no where else to spend your time while you’re having a floor refinishing done, you will be unhappy with how long it takes. The machines are loud, the sawdust material being removed from the floor is unknown finish and wood that are not healthy to inhale, and often there are room-to-room barriers and the requirement of no forced air heat during sanding and coating.
So, you make a reservation for your trip to Mexico, plan to be gone for the time the refinishing should take, and go off the grid for a day or two on a cruise. While you’re gone and progress is made on the floor, a moisture problem is noted by the crew and the progress is halted or more materials are necessary due to a tool malfunction. When you get back, it still would be uncomfortable because walking privileges would be limited.
These are worst-case scenarios, but I have years of experiences to tell me- have a place to go besides home, and plan to go there unless you hear otherwise! My suggestion is a family-friend or neighbor’s house where you can stop in to check on things near the end of the project, but still follow the professional’s suggested no-walking times.
If you’re having a floor refinished, the product that’s applied will be dry enough to walk on, but not fully cured, for some time after it’s applied. If you can afford to keep things off of the floor for longer, especially pets, do it! The longer the floor coating has to dry, the harder it will become against the damage.
Moving appliances back into place is usually the first scratch that happens to your newly finished floors. Most flooring companies don’t offer to move or disconnect appliances, for fear of damaging the fresh floor when the labor is done. Make sure to have the proper tools or hire someone who knows your appliances and how to reconnect them safely on the new finish, but give it as much time as you can.
If you hang out at home while the sanding takes place, you’ll likely feel as though the same areas are sanded multiple times. That’s because they are. Multiple grits and multiple passes are necessary to first remove the finish, then sand the wood and polish it smooth.
Finally buffing, a ton of vacuuming, and several times of lightly scuffing and re-coating the newly polished floor can seem to take forever, although the professional isn’t there for very long each day.
It’s also important to understand the many forms of contaminants that can become trapped in the coating or the wood after it is applied to the floor. Coming and going, pet and people hair, dust disturbances, cleaning products, and other measures of comfort can cause more contaminants to land in the drying finish.
Expert tip: It’s recommended to change the furnace filter after the refinishing process is complete, and not to run forced air heat or air conditioner during construction to prevent duct & floor contamination. You may also wish to cover the cold-air-return vents so that the dusty air isn’t circulated into the ducts.
Pets of all kinds can become stressed over the extra commotion in the space, even if they can be corralled in another part of the house. If you have to be home during the sanding and coating, it still would be best to have the pets go on vacation, even if just for their sanity.