Q: My husband and I recently purchased a home and we are having the floors refinished using Duraseal stain and oil poly. We have a 15-month old son who is very active and into everything. How long after the floors are completed should we wait to move in, so it is safe for our son?
Additionally, when can I wash the floors to remove any sticky residue left behind?
A: If they use Dura Seal Quick Coat which contains polyurethane resin and dries in about 2-3 hours for a coat of finish that would speed things up. With this product the stain is also considered a seal coat so only two more polyurethane coats are required. Almost all finishes contain some type of solvent. With oil based polyurethane that solvent is general mineral spirits and perhaps a small amount of kerosene, depending on who the manufacturer is. The coating dries by solvent evaporating out of the film. This generally is accomplished with over night drying. After the final coat the windows should be opened to ventilate the rooms.
Any typical polyurethane will not be off gassing at this point, so I would expect it to be safe. Each person has to judge their individual circumstance. Not all environments are the same and could slow the process down. But if the coating is dry to walk on it is not releasing solvent. The finish will continue to get harder over the next 3 or 4 weeks as it is exposed to air. This is called curing. So, the second or third day after the final coat should be fine.
I don’t know what you mean by “sticky residue” left behind. What residue? There should not be any such thing.