Once you have sanded and finished a wooden floor with either lacquer or oil, there are some cases where other trades may need to come in to complete other works or repairs. Usually, we like to put in place the idea that the floor sander/finisher should be the last trade-in to finish if a property is being renovated. Giving you a whole floor to work with after any other work that is needed is completed. This stops any other trades that may not understand that once you get to a certain point in the sanding and sealing process that no one can walk on the floor. You can easily end up having to go back to the site for re-sanding and finishing to remove footprints.
After a wooden floor has been finished you should leave it to dry properly overnight before it is walked on, but this is for light foot traffic only. Although this is the ideal situation sometimes it can’t be helped where other trades will need to walk over the floor to complete other services like painters & decorators or electricians. So here are some tips on what you can use to protect your wooden floor after it is finished.
Most builders and trades prefer to use some sort of plastic protective sheeting on the floor like correx surface protection sheeting. This is a definite no! all plastic protective sheeting contains plasticizers that will migrate into the coating AND even the wood itself leaving staining. Completely covering and smothering the floor not allowing it to cure or breathe. As wood is a natural material it always needs to be able to breathe. Topical and impregnating coats do dry reasonable quick on top but usually take at least 7 - 10 days before the floor reaches its final strength. Although you can walk on the floor within this time. Depending on the finish that is applied. It is always best not to cover the floor at this time. If it is required, the best thing to use would be a breathable material. Something like a dust /drop sheet, an old thin bed sheet, or a blanket. When these types of coverings are placed on the floor it is best off just have them down on the floor while you are working. Not to be left for a long period.
The same goes for furniture that takes up a large surface area over the floor, like stands or bookshelves. Items of furniture that come on legs should be put back into the room or house 24 hours after the finish has been applied, if possible, with felt pads on the bottom of feet and legs. These will act as a cushion on such materials as plastic, wood, and metal from denting and marking the floor. Felt pads are important to be used on wooden floors when you have meal legs or feet from your furniture that make contact with the floor. The reason for this is the metal reacts with the wood causing a chemical reaction with the tannins in the wood floor leaving dark spots or rings where this has come into contact. Using felt pads between the metal feet or legs will prevent this from occurring.