Q: We are about to have a hardwood (oak) floor laid, and also (at the same time) another room resurfaced and refinished. Both will use ‘swedish finish’. What is the appropriate amount of time for us to not be in the home (and our cats) because of toxic swedish finish fumes?
We would like your opinion.
A: Swedish Finishes like others including solvent based and water borne generally off gas in the first 24 hours. I would not be in the house while an acid cure is drying. This is nasty stuff. Tough finish, but nasty. I have a lot of opinion about finishes. The hammer is falling on finishes that contain mineral spirits as the main solvent. To me, this is the less dangerous to a home owner. Water borne sounds very safe but contains some solvents that are really dangerous and can lead to nasty consequences for those who are sensitive, though these finishes don’t smell bad. You don’t want to be in the house when Swedish finishes are drying. After they are dry, ventilation is the key.
Follow-up Q: So, would you say, 2 nights?
A: Each coat would dry overnight. Next day you should be able to go in and open the windows. I would stay out for a full 24 hours if applying acid cure.