Can Engineered Hardwood Floors Be Refinished?

By Cezar

Some people claim that an engineered hardwood floor can’t be refinished, but that is generally untrue. An engineered hardwood floor may not be able to endure as many refinishing as “true” hardwood floors, but it certainly can be refinished at least a couple times. There are some extra dangers to refinishing engineered hardwood floors, which is why many people choose to hire professionals to do so.

Read on to learn what an engineered hardwood floor is, how to determine if your engineered hardwood floor can be refinished, when refinishing an engineered hardwood floor is necessary, how to determine if yours should be refinished, and what alternatives to engineered hardwood floor refinishing are out there.

What Is Engineered Hardwood?

An engineered hardwood floor is essentially one made of high-quality plywood with a veneer of real wood over top of it. The quality of an engineered hardwood floor is often so good that its owners don’t even realize that it’s not true hardwood. Because of this, there are certain regions where you are much more likely to find an engineered hardwood floor in your house.

The advantages of an engineered hardwood floor are cost and ease of installation. There are also sometimes environmental advantages to owning an engineered hardwood floor because the material is often less likely to warp due to moisture and humidity.

Reasons To Refinish Engineered Hardwood Floors

While an engineered hardwood floor generally can be refinished, you generally want to make sure you have a good reason to do so. There is some risk involved because of the relatively thin veneer of true hardwood over the plywood. Refinishing requires sanding, and there just isn’t as much quality wood to sand down in an engineered hardwood floor as there is solid hardwood floors.

Reasons you’d want to refinish an engineered hardwood floor include:

  • The top layer of your floor is called a wear layer. If your floor’s wear layer is badly scratched, cut, stained, or otherwise damaged, a good refinish can restore its appearance.
  • If you want to change the color of the stain of your engineered hardwood floors, refinishing will allow you to do so. For this process, you would only want to go down 1–1.5 millimeters, as it doesn’t warrant risking sanding too far into the wood.

If any of those reasons for refinishing your engineered hardwood floor apply, then read on to determine if your engineered hardwood floor can be refinished.

How To Determine If Your Engineered Hardwood Floor Can Be Refinished

The first thing you’ll need to do is to investigate the condition of your engineered hardwood floor. If you don’t know its full history, you’ll need to remove a floor grate, baseboard, piece of door trim, or whatever else is available to get a look at the edge of the engineered hardwood floor. This will tell you how much work has been done on it already. The key is to see how much of the veneer is left atop the engineered hardwood floors. If it’s too thin, it might be best to explore one of the alternatives listed below.

An excessively damaged wear layer probably can’t be fixed with refinishing. Even less likely to be salvageable by refinishing is a floor with damage deep in the boards.

Alternatives to Refinishing Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Your engineered hardwood floors might be better suited to an alternative that’s gentler than a full refinish. This is particularly true if you inspected the floor and found that it has already been refinished too many times to endure another layer.

Simply refreshing the sealant on your engineered hardwood floor might do the trick. You can test this by flicking water droplets on your floor and observing whether or not the spots darken as they penetrate into the engineered hardwood floor. If that is so, then the floor needs resealing.

Going in the other direction, if your engineered hardwood floor is too damaged, then refinishing isn’t going to help, anyway. In this case, your best course of action might be replacing the damaged planks or using wood filler to fill scratches, dents, and holes in the individual engineered hardwood floor planks.

Summary

An engineered hardwood floor can indeed be refinished, but it carries with it a few more concerns than true hardwood floors do. If you’re careful and take the time to inspect your engineered hardwood floor, then you can safely determine if it’s in the proper condition for a refinish or if you should explore the alternatives.

All that being said, the risk of amateurs refinishing engineered hardwood floors is greater than having professionals do it. The Pros will be able to determine is the floor really can endure a proper refinishing and advise you on the best course of action for your home. They can take the stress out of the process for you and make sure the job is done safely and correctly.

There is no “one size fits all” solution here! Each wood floor and its condition are unique. We will provide you with the best and most cost-efficient solution for your floors.

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As a general rule, professionally refinished hardwood floors last 5 times longer vs DIY.