Installing hardwood flooring – how long does it take?
How long does it take to install hardwood floors for your home in Westchester NY? This is a common question among Westchester homeowners, especially if deadlines are attached (e.g. a move in date) or coordination with a larger project (e.g. kitchen remodel or new addition).
While all projects vary in length, usually the largest factor is whether you are installing Prefinished or Unfinished hardwood. Generally, prefinished hardwood will take longer to arrive, but less time to install, while unfinished hardwood will arrive quickly, but will take longer to install due to the drying time. Every situation is different and sometimes the focus is on meeting a specific deadline; other times the timing is flexible but the customer wants the least interruption time, especially if they are living there during construction.
Time to install prefinished Hardwood for Westchester County
- Often it can take 1-3 weeks for the hardwood to arrive. (Occasionally, it will take longer if it’s a real specialty item or if one of the transition pieces is on back order). Sometimes, one of the hold ups on prefinished hardwood is the matching transition pieces (sometimes these items are on back order an they can really slow the order down).
- Then, the hardwood needs to be dropped off for acclimation, so the wood gets used to the temperature and humidity in your house. This should be done for a minimum of 2 days. For denser woods (e.g. Brazilian Cherry or Brazilian Walnut), it’s best to let the wood acclimate for longer (e.g 5-7 days). There is never any harm in letting the hardwood acclimate longer. It’s ideal to drop this off on the same floor/level of where the hardwood will be installed.
- Installation will often take about 1-4 days but this can vary on the amount of wood being installed and complexity of the area (e.g. are there cabinets to work around, are there a lot of angles (or curves). If we are installing on a diagonal, it can take longer as there are more cuts.
- If there is flooring that needs to be ripped up, it can take a bit longer. Generally, ripping up carpet and laminate can be done in the same day. Ripping up tile can take at least 1 full day (longer if it is over a concrete slab), so if you have that be sure to plan some extra time. If furniture is being moved, that can also add to the timeline.
- After the hardwood is installed, there is also some trim work involved – either adding in shoe molding or base molding (or replacing your existing base molding).
- If floor prep is needed (e.g. if the floor is uneven) that can also add on some extra time, but this varies greatly and sometimes can not be predicted until after the floor is ripped up. it could take an extra hour or up to an extra 2 days (or not be needed at all).</li>
- There may also be some time involved in coordinating schedules for delivery dates and install dates based on your and the installer’s availability.
Summary time line for Pre-finished hardwood flooring:
- Total install time for 1,000 sf or less = 1-5 days (+ extra if floor prep is needed and/or tile rip up)
- Total elapsed time for 1,000 sf or less = 2- 4 weeks
Timeline for installing unfinished hardwood in Westchester County
- Usually, we can deliver 2-3 days later (occasionally 1 day). This usually holds true for standard oak but can take an extra week or so for special orders (e.g. Pine, extra wide boards, extra long boards, herringbone)
- The hardwood needs to acclimate 1-2 days (2 is much better and more days for denser woods)
- Installation time is similar or slightly faster than detailed above. It’s usually a bit faster to nail in unfinished wood, but not that much different. (extra if floor prep/rip needed – see above)
- Sanding & refinishing often takes 3-5 days (+ extra day drying)pending on size of job, whether a stain color is used/what color (darker can take an extra day), number of coats of poly (assume on day per coat) and humidity (if it’s humid, it can often add an extra day to the process.
- There may be some extra time in coordinating schedules for delivery and install dates as well as extra time if rip out or prep work needed (see above)
Summary Time line for Unfinished hardwood flooring:
- Total install time for 1,000 sf or less = 4-9 days + 1 day drying (+ extra if floor prep is needed and/or tile rip up)
- Total elapsed time for 1,000 sf or less = 1-2 weeks
Of course timelines can vary based on the project scope, unforeseen issues (e.g. after floor is ripped up, if sub-floor is damaged and needs repair), humidity and/or delays due to holidays or customer’s schedule, but I think these are some good guidelines.
Generally, site finished hardwood will take more days in the home/drying, but the project will usually be completed sooner from the time the order is placed as the wood is usually on hand. Homeowners should ask about lead times and coordination with other work that is planned (e.g. painting, cabinets), etc.. Sometimes, there are ways to speed up times (e.g. use a water based poly) but usually these solutions require trade offs (e.g. water based poly dries faster but costs more, doesn’t look as nice and doesn’t last as long. Sometimes, customers don’t realize the ideal order of projects and this can cause delays and extra costs (e.g. Is it better to paint or do the floors first?) The best plan is to have a plan and not leave it to the last minute. Then, you can choose whichever option works best for you (in terms so what you like, budget and time frame).
If you are moving into a new home, and are going to be on a tight time line, it’s ideal if your real estate agent can let us into your new home to be so we can take measurements and give you an estimate. That way, you’ll know ahead of time how much it will cost and how long it will take. Some of my customers will order the product before closing, so that we can delivered the day after closing to shorten the time line before move in; others prefer to wait until the after deal is closed and place the order that day or the following day.
Complementary products that will prolong the life of your hardwood floors, whether they are light or dark
Additional Info on Hardwood flooring
- How long does it take to sand and refinish hardwood floors?
- Is it better to paint or do the floors first?
- Can you change the color of your hardwood floors?
- What types of hardwood floors are good for dogs?