Refinishing Wood Floor -- Advice Needed!

chezronJanuary 21, 2014

Refinishing Wood Floor-- Advice Needed!

I am getting the wood floor in my master bedroom refinished. The master bedroom is on the opposite side of the house from the deck. This will entail 3 coats of oil-based polyurethane spread over several days. I live in San Diego where the highs are 70ish and the lows are around 53-55. I live in a isolated cul de sac at the end of a long driveway. People cannot easily come down unnoticed, if not by me, but also by my two neighbors. My floor guy says he will apply early in the morning and the house will be habitable (for humans) in 6 hours. I am not familiar with how badly polyurethane volitilizes and affects air quality. I have pet parrots whose lungs are much more sensitive to toxins than human lungs are. Here are my choices:

  1. Move the parrot cages into the garage and open both garage doors during the day, and closing the doors at night, and leaving them in the garage. I would live there also.
  2. Moving the cages out onto the deck all day (we have hawks) and rolling them in at night. I will be out there with them most of the time.
  3. Moving the cages onto a balcony deck outside the living room where they will be more isolated from possible human interest, but still there is the hawks, and rolling them in at night.
  4. Taking them for several days to a boarding facility. I hate this option as I will be subjecting them to an unfamiliar place with possible disease.

Any suggestions?

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I could be wrong but i thought you couldnt get oil polyurethane in cali.

Regardless. Take the parrots out of the house. The fumes will eventually disperse but not enough in 6 hours for your birds.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 6:00PM
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Is your garage insulated? Do your parrots ever go on the deck/balcony or would this be a new experience for them?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 9:21PM
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The garage is insulated, and yes, they are on the deck, outside, nearly every day. The guy doing the floors specifically said, "oil-based polyurethane." I have wood floors throughout the rest of the house, except the bedrooms. The master carpet was disgusting! It had use-stains that could not be cleaned. Recently separated, and had to get rid of the bed because i couldn't stand to sleep in it, and decided that with a furniture-less master it was a good time to redo the floor.

I did not know how toxic the fumes from the polyurethane would be. My guy is matching existing floors, hence the need for oil-based product. Another question:
Would the fumes be as bad on the second floor?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 10:39PM
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Is this guy a pro or someone off Craigslist?

Guess it really doesnt matter. The fumes are goin to be around for at least a few days. Oil poly takes longer to dry which means it has more time to release fumes/gases. And chances are youre going to get at least 3 days for stain/coats being applied.

Humans are capable of withstanding the fumes. It will give ya a headache if its strong or if you have been exposed for a long time. But im a pet guy myself. I take my dogs to a neighbors or family when i do my floors and i advise all my customers to do the same. Its cruel in my opinion to leave them to breathe that junk.

Fumes rise and so the smell will too. You can plastic off all doorways and intake ductwork which will help.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 12:08AM
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Thanks for the advice. i will see if water-based poly will allow them to match the existing oak floor.
And yes, these guys are super-craftsmen with at least a hundred 5-star Yelp ratings. They have seamlessly feathered in the new floor with the 30-year-old oak floor. It is beautiful! Just waiting for refinishing. They are allowing the wood to acclimatize and change for two weeks before refinishing.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 1:50AM
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Is it possible to live on the unfinished floor and wait a few months until weather conditions are more favorable?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 2:37PM
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I live in San Diego. The conditions are fine 70+ during the day and 55ish at night.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 3:01PM
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I'd get a min/max thermometer and find out how cold the garage gets overnight. If the low temperature is tolerable to the parrots (I think it probably would retain a lot of the heat from the day if you open the doors during the day to let the 70s in and close it up before it starts cooling in the late afternoon) I would keep the birds outside during the day and into the garage at night. For the human, I could go either way on sleeping in the garage or upstairs in the house. Some people are not so bothered: my husband slept in the house with all the windows open when we had our living room floors stained and poly'd - but the smell made me so sick to my stomach I was throwing up and had to sleep on the couch at my dad's house!

Here is a link that might be useful: temps for birds

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 4:16PM
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Can you and the parrots stay with friends until the smell goes away?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 8:21AM
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