How long does it take to lay parquet flooring?

When it comes to the question of how long it takes to lay parquet, there are several factors to consider. First, the ground must be prepared. Then parquet should first lie in the room for a few days before it is processed. After laying the floor it may have to be sanded. Then comes the sealing. The actual installation is relatively quick.

To lay hardwood floors with two skilled workers, calculate about one day per 700 square feet. However, if it is a complex parquet pattern, you should calculate 2-3 days. Covering stairs with parquet also takes one day per floor. If you lay the parquet in a floating way, you can cover 800-1000 square feet.

In order to give a more precise answer, I took a closer look at the individual areas and would like to show you the results of my research here. I will also try to explain to you in detail why it takes a certain amount of time for each of the steps. But let’s look at the facts now.

How do you prepare a subfloor for hardwood floors?

As I mentioned in my introduction, laying the parquet floor is not necessarily the most time-consuming part of installing a new floor. That’s why I’ve listed the individual steps to find out how much time is needed for a parquet installation. First of all we need to prepare the sub-floor. Of course there are variations country-wise. In Germany, most subfloors consist of screed. In the US, the norm is to have plywood subfloors mounted on joints. First of all, let’s assume that we have a brand new subfloor. First of all we have to check this subfloor for its condition. Is the floor, level, are there cavities or dents, are there gaps between the individual floor panels, or are some even sticking out, has part of the screed flaked off? All of these weaknesses must be eliminated. 

After vacuuming you should apply a primer. This binds dust and prevents water from penetrating the underbody. Water from, for example, leveling compounds that migrates too quickly into the screed can cause the filler to burn and simply crumble. What you should note, however, is that primers cannot improve the strength of a screed. The application of a primer also takes a few hours, since you also have to reckon with drying.

In order to fill cavities, there are so-called leveling compounds that you sometimes have to mix with water and pour out on the floor. Dents in the screed, for example, have to be sanded down or even milled off with appropriate machines. If a specialist company has installed the underbody, you should contact them first, since you have a guarantee. This soil preparation can take anywhere from a few hours to a week. Since grinding or leveling the floor can be very time-consuming. It is of great advantage to make sure to install the sub-floor level and straight but also firm and stable right away.

Now we want to deal briefly with the case that we have to remove an old floor first. Of course, this can be done very quickly if you just have to remove a floating laminate. However, it can take a few days to remove a bonded floor from the subsurface. Because there are companies that specialize in this kind of work and also have the appropriate machines, for many homeowners it is a better option to hire a company. If you do the work yourself, remember to cut or break the scrap pieces into a good size for carrying.

Again, in the end of the process  the same principles apply, the subfloor have to be level and straight, there must be no adhesive residue. When the subfloor is prepared we can bring in the new Parquet floor, but we can’t install it yet. First the Parquet should acclimate.

Why should you acclimate hardwood flooring?

Imagine you order your parquet from a retailer near you. You may think that the company is in the same climatic conditions as your home. But that’s not true in 99% of all cases. Of course, parquet floors are not kept in heated or air-conditioned rooms. They are usually stored in large halls and are protected from external influences, but of course not under living conditions. So how can you ensure that your floor is adapted to your living environment before installation? 

First of all, the construction site must be prepared for acclimatization. All windows and doors should be installed and sealed. All work that has to do with moisture should be finished, such as plastering, painting or tiling. All areas of the construction site should be dry. The screed should be installed for at least 6 weeks before the first measurement should be made. Heating or air conditioning should bring the indoor climate to the normal state of 35-60% at least 5 days before starting work. A comfortable room climate is given with room air and surface temperatures around 20 °C (68 °F) and around 50% relative humidity. Now you can measure the subfloor and your Parquet.

If you want to be precise, you have to match the moisture content of the parquet floor and the sub-floor on which it is to be laid. There are various measuring devices that can measure the moisture content of the screed, for example. This should be measured in any case because a screed that is too damp, i.e. a screed that has not yet dried out, must under no circumstances be covered with parquet. So if you have measured both (parquet and subfloor) you should have a difference in your moisture content that is no more than 3%. If you have wider solid planks you should be more careful and your difference in moisture content should be no more than 2 %.  For a precise analysis you have to check not only one board, a good rule of thumb is to measure at least every 10th board. 

But why is it so important? In Germany we say that wood is alive, which means it will always shrink and swell to a certain extent. Parquet manufacturers pay close attention to the fact that their product has a certain wood moisture content. This is 9% +- 2% for solid parquet and 8% +- 2% for multi-layer parquet. It is imperative that these values ​​are observed. Let’s assume that the parquet has a moisture content of 12% due to humid ambient temperatures, we are not allowed to install it. The same applies if our parquet has a moisture content of 11%, which is actually still normal, but our screed has a moisture content of 7%, here the parquet has to be acclimatized. If you don’t follow these rules, the floor can be damaged and in the worst case it has to be ripped out completely. There have been cases where the wooden floor was so swollen when it was done improperly that real waves and hills appeared in the room. So if you rush your contractor or yourself you might not have an immediate effect but could run into problems after a couple of months.

How Long Does it Take to Acclimate Hardwood Flooring?

Most manufacturers recommend hardwood materials acclimate for a minimum of 3 days with no maximum suggested. A rule of thumb is that it takes around 1-2 weeks for Parquet to acclimate. It really depends on the climate conditions. If you DIY you should really get a moisture meter if you don’t have one. Measuring the concrete and the floor is of utmost importance. 

How should the parquet be stored during acclimatization? It is best to cross-stack unfinished material so that it is ventilated from all sides. If you have engineered hardwood you should pay attention to the manufacturer’s description and follow it. In most cases, however, it is a good idea not to put the packs in a heap, not only for reasons of weight but also so that the ambient air reaches all the packs evenly. In addition, it is of great advantage to distribute the parquet in the rooms and to pay attention to where you want to cut and start laying so that you don’t have to move all the packages again when you start working.

Acclimating Parquet flooring takes as long as necessary. It could range between 3 to 14 days. Never rush the process it could lead to serious problems afterward.

How long does it take to lay hardwood Parquet?

Of course, the first thing that matters is whether you glue the parquet or lay it floating. A floating installation is of course much faster. Here you only have to apply the impact sound insulation and you can start laying. In the case of glued parquet, 4-5 rows of the floor should be cut and laid out. You don’t need to put the elements together yet. Then you vacuum the area well and can start gluing. It is of course a great advantage if you do not have to lay the floor alone. 2-man teams are excellent for making good progress. If you lay the floor alone and two friends help you, even better. Everyone has a task and the work can be done quickly. A man should prepare and clean up. Another measure and cut. And another one can take care of the laying. With three well trained workers it is easy to lay more than 1000 square feet in one day. But it is also possible to lay 400 square feet of parquet alone. But you should always make sure to do everything calmly and carefully. Never rush.

How long should you stay off hardwood floors when finished?

After you have laid the floor, you would of course like to use it. But caution is advised. You should wait at least 24 hours before using the floor. Of course, if you have to continue working on the construction site, you can, with caution, walk on the floor the next day. But please don’t run and pay special attention to the connecting edge. If you have to work on a floor that has already been sealed, protective measures must be taken. You can use painter’s fleece or old but clean carpets. Cardboard is not so good as it can slip and cause accidents. 

If you want to cover a staircase with parquet, a fast-hardening adhesive is a good idea. You get this in cartridges. You apply the glue as a seam in three places (right, middle, left) and can then fill the remaining places with normal glue to avoid cavities. in this way you save a lot of money, because these special fast adhesives are relatively expensive. However, it saves you a lot of hassle. I once laid a staircase and although I had told all the other craftsmen and the client I had to interrupt my work every 30 minutes because someone wanted to use the stairs. And especially when walking down, the individual steps shift very quickly. So either make sure that no one uses the stairs or use a quick glue like me, then each step is carefully accessible after a few minutes.

Furniture should only be put into the rooms after about 3 days. But the time in between is well used if you attach the skirting boards. 

How long does it take for a Parquet floor finish to dry?

Not all parquet floors come already pre-finished, sanded and sealed. So this work still has to be done. It takes about a day to grind a 1500 square foot floor. The subsequent sealing with oil or varnish takes a few hours. Oil should be applied at least twice, better three times. Most products have a drying time before the second coat of 12 hours and a curing time of 24 hours. In any case, you have to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and plan enough time for drying. So it may be, that another 3-4 days are necessary for grinding and sealing. When sealing it is also a good idea to ventilate the rooms if necessary. Note that some seals can cause health problems in poorly ventilated rooms. It’s definitely better to spend a little more money for a better quality finish which will not ruin ones health.

Conclusion

We have seen that various factors play a role in answering the question of how long it takes to lay parquet. On the one hand there is the subfloor preparation, which can take up to a week. Then we have to acclimatize the parquet floor for 1-2 weeks. Laying an average floor of 1000 square feet takes about 2 days. If we still have to sand and seal the floor, we should add another 3-4 days. Finally, the baseboards remain to be installed with 1-2 days depending on the Layout. In summary, a floating, prefabricated hardwood floor takes much less time to lay than a glued parquet. But in my opinion, the benefits of a bonded parquet are worth the effort.

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