How Long Does It Take To Install Hardwood Floors? | Our Real Timeline

How Long To Install Hardwood Floors Graphic

Installing hardwood floors is a great way to add value and beauty to your home. But many people are hesitant to do it because they aren’t sure how long it will take. Since we recently renovated our entire home with hardwood floors, we’ll give you a realistic timeline of what to expect when you install hardwood floors in your home. Plus, some of the real delays we encountered during our installation.

Online you’ll find the average time to install hardwood floors is 10-14 days, but this doesn’t include a lot of factors like acclimating your wood or moving furniture. In reality, you should expect it to take 16-24 days, depending on the size of your project, the type of floors, and how fast your installer is. Keep reading for our full expanded timeline below.

And for more, check out our experience installing white oak floors (from buying floors to the finished product).

A Realistic Timeline for Installing Hardwood Floors:

Days 1-7: Acclimating your floors

The installation process really begins with acclimating your floors. Hardwood floors need to acclimate to the humidity and temperature of your house before being installed to avoid any issues with moisture.

Your installer will likely leave the wood in your home for 7-10 days to let it adjust. And this is the same process for solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. We recommend you leave it in the room where it will be installed and cover it with a tarp or sheet to protect it from pets, kids, and traffic.

While this time doesn’t involve any actual installation, it absolutely affects your life by having large boxes of wood all over your house or whatever rooms you’re renovating.

Biggest factors affecting this stage:

  • Project size
  • Type of hardwood
  • Weather conditions
Acclimating Floors
Hardwood Floors Need To Acclimate To Your Home Before Being Installed

Days 5-7: Removing Your Furniture

While your floors are still acclimating, you’ll need to remove all of your furniture wherever floors are being installed.

If you’re only installing floors in one or two rooms, you can just move your furniture to another part of the house. But if you’re renovating an entire house (like we did), you’ll need to plan accordingly.

We were able to renovate our floors before moving into our house, so any furniture we had, we just stored in the garage. But if you’re already living in your house, you’ll need storage. Most people we know who have done this get a pod-type storage container for their driveway.

Once your floors are acclimated, and your furniture is moved out, then your installation can begin.

Biggest factors affecting this stage:

  • Project size
  • Amount of furniture

Days 8-10: Removing Your Old Floors

The first step in the installation phase is actually removal. Before you can install your new floors, you need to remove your existing floors and quarter round.

Floor removal times will vary based on the type of floors you currently have along with the quantity, but we’ve given ballparks you can expect from a professional crew below:

Estimated Amount of Floor Removed Per Day

  • Carpet: 4,000+ square feet
  • Floating Wood: 1,500-2,000 square feet
  • Nail-Down Wood: 1,000-2,000 square feet
  • Glue-Down Wood: 200-500 square feet
  • Tile: 300-750 square feet

Using these amounts, you can get an idea of how long it may take to remove your existing floors for a professional crew.

Carpet is by far the easiest, and our installers were able to remove about 2,000 square feet of carpet in our house within 1-2 hours.

On the other hand, the existing glue-down floor we had was very time-consuming to remove. Since the floors are glued down, the floors need to be cut and chipped away from the subfloor. As you can see in our picture below, this is not only tedious but also messy! Removing our glue-down floors left inches of dust throughout our house.

Biggest factors affecting this stage:

  • Project size
  • Type of existing flooring in your home

Days 11-15: Installing Your New Floors

Once the old floors are removed, the installation can begin. Typically, if you have professional installers, they’ll begin the installation while other rooms are still being demo’d.

A professional will install 400-600 square feet of floors per day.

You can expect your installer to be on the higher end of that range for wider plank floors or floating installations. Since wider plank floors take up more space, fewer planks are needed per room.

Alternatively, thinner plank floors, or an intricate pattern like herringbone floors, would be on the lower end of the range. Since herringbone floors require more cutting and planning, they take significantly longer to install.

Biggest factors affecting this stage:

  • Project size
  • Width of new flooring
  • Type of new floor installation
  • Pattern of new floor installation
Installing Floating Floors
Installing Floating Floors Is Usually Faster Than Other Installation Techniques

Days 16-20: Staining and Finishing (Optional)

If your floors are unfinished, you’ll need to account for staining and finishing. (If your floors are prefinished, you can ignore this time and skip to the next section.) This is more common for solid hardwood floors, while engineered hardwood is usually prefinished.

Staining your floors will add 1-2 days to the project timeline. Once the stain dries, you’ll need to add a topcoat. Depending on the finish you choose, this could be a water-based polyurethane, an oil-based polyurethane, wax, or even a natural oil.

Applying a topcoat will add an additional day to the project. And depending on the dry time of your finish, you may need to wait 24 hours or more before walking on your floors or moving furniture back into the room.

Keep in mind that if you’re staining your floors, you’ll need to account for the fumes. Many people choose to leave their house while the floors are being stained and top coated.

Biggest factors affecting this stage:

  • Whether or not your floors are prefinished
  • Type of finish you choose for your floors
  • Dry time of your chosen finish

Days 21-22: Quarter Round, Cleanup and Move-In

Once your floors are installed (and stained if applicable), quarter round will need to be installed. Quarter round is the trim that goes around the edge of the room, and it covers the expansion gap that is required with all installed floors.

Installing quarter round will add about an hour per room, depending on how much is needed. For larger-size projects, this will take about half a day.

After the quarter round is installed, your installer will do a final cleanup. But once they’re finished, you’ll likely need a deeper clean.

Side note: From our experience, there was a lot of dust and debris. Between removing the glue down floors , and the installers cutting wood in the house, we were not prepared for the amount of dust. It took us almost a full day to deep clean our house, wiping down every surface and vacuuming multiple times. And we still found random dusty spots over the next few months.

Once your area is clean, you’re ready to move in your furniture!

Voila – You did it! Your new floors are installed, and you can finally enjoy them. Keep reading for our top tips and tricks to speed up this timeline.

Biggest factors affecting this stage:

  • Project size
  • Type of new floor installation

Tips to Speed Up the Process (Without Sacrificing Quality)

1. Order your floors in advance

If you know you’re going to need new floors, order them as soon as possible. It can often take weeks or even months to get your floors delivered, and you don’t want to be stuck waiting around for them to come in.

2. Schedule your installation for when you’ll be out of the house

If possible, schedule your installation for when you’ll be out of the house. This way, you won’t have to deal with the dust and noise, and you can come home to beautiful new floors.

3. Choose a prefinished floor

If you’re looking to save time, choose a prefinished floor. With prefinished floors, you won’t need to account for staining and finishing, and you can often move furniture back into the room the same day.

4. Choose a floating floor installation

If you’re looking for a quick and easy installation, choose a floating floor. Floating floors can be installed quickly and easily, and they don’t require any sanding or staining.

But you’ll want to check with your installer to see if this is the best option. It isn’t worth sacrificing quality to save a few days.

Our installer recommended glue-down floors based on our environment and subfloor. And while it added a few days to our timeline, it was absolutely worth it to avoid any issues like gaps in the future.

5. Choose a simple floor pattern

If you’re looking to save time on installation, choose a simple floor pattern. Floor patterns like herringbone can take significantly longer to install, so if you’re looking for a quick project, stick to something simpler.

6. Hire a professional

Hiring a professional for your flooring installation can speed up the process significantly. Professionals have the experience and expertise to get the job done quickly and efficiently, so you can enjoy your new floors sooner.

Cost of Professional Floor Installation Services

For most flooring types, you can expect to pay between $4 and $12 per square foot for professional installation services.

Of course, this will vary depending on the type of flooring you’re having installed, as well as the size of your project.

To get a more accurate estimate, we recommend getting a few quotes from local flooring professionals. This way, you can compare prices and find the best option for your budget.

How Much We Paid

For our renovation, we spent about $5/sf for a 3,200-square-foot installation. We were able to negotiate a price on the lower end of the range because of the size of our project.

And for a full cost breakdown, including materials and installation, check out How Much We Spent on Our White Oak Floors.

Living Room With White Oak Hardwood Floors
Our Installed White Oak Floors Make The Stress Of Renovating Always Worth It!

Bottom Line

Installing new floors can be a big project, but with proper planning, it doesn’t have to be stressful. By understanding a realistic timeline from the start, you can plan accordingly!

Keep in mind that every project is different, and your timeline may vary depending on the type of floors you’re having installed.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below!