Can You Refinish Engineered Hardwood Floors?

By Cezar

Refinishing engineered hardwood floors at home might seem appealing, but it’s a complex task usually best left to professionals. Experts in flooring can guarantee high-quality results and minimize potential harm.

What Does Engineered Hardwood Mean?

Engineered hardwood, a type of modern flooring, is recognized for its construction consisting of multiple layers. It gains its durability and stability from a real hardwood top layer, supported by several underlying layers. This composition makes it less susceptible to environmental changes, making engineered wood an attractive and practical choice.
The ability to refinish this type of hardwood depends on the thickness of the top hardwood layer. Floors with a thicker top layer can be refinished similarly to standard hardwood. On the other hand, a thinner top layer may not withstand such treatment. Therefore, it’s crucial to assess the thickness of this layer before deciding on any restoration efforts.

Why Should You Refinish Engineered Hardwood Floors?

Refinishing engineered hardwood floors offers many benefits, making it an attractive option for homeowners. Here are some key reasons, listed and numbered, why you should consider this option:

— Boosting Aesthetic Appeal:

  • Revitalization: Refinishing renews floors that have lost their shine or have suffered from scratches and colour changes.
  • Customization: This method allows you to change the wood colour or finish to suit evolving decor preferences.

— Value for Money:

  • Cost-Effective: Refinishing usually costs less than replacing the entire hardwood. The prices for refinishing range from about $4 to $10 per square foot, whereas replacement costs can be between $10 and $20 per square foot.
  • Increased Longevity: Refinishing enhances the durability of your floors, reducing the frequency and expense of replacements.

— Enhancing Property Value:

  • Attracting Buyers: Well-maintained and recently enhanced hardwood can increase your home’s value and appeal.

— Environmental Impact:

  • Reducing Waste: Using existing materials in the process minimizes the waste associated with total floor replacement.
  • Sustainability: This approach promotes environmental conservation.

— Health and Safety:

  • Improved Indoor Air Quality: Contemporary techniques often involve low VOC products, reducing exposure to harmful chemicals, improving the air quality inside your home.

Refinishing engineered hardwood floors

How To Determine If Your Engineered Wood Floor Can Be Refinished

To figure out if you can refinish your engineered hardwood, you need to follow a few important steps. Here’s a straightforward guide:

  1. The Thickness of Veneer: First, make sure the top layer (veneer) is thick enough for sanding, ideally at least 2 mm. You can check this by looking at the sides or taking off a vent to see from the side.
  2. Checking the Floor’s Condition: Search for major damage like deep scratches, bending, or water harm. If the damage is too severe, it might be better to replace the floor instead of refinishing it.
  3. History of Floor Treatment: Discover how often the surface has undergone treatment. The allowable frequency of this process is dictated by the veneer’s thickness.
  4. Seeking Expert Opinion: Consulting a flooring specialist is recommended. They can thoroughly inspect the hardwood, accurately measure the veneer, and advise on the suitability and potential outcomes of treatment.

Detailed Process of Refinishing Engineered Hardwood

Refinishing engineered hardwood requires proper planning and action. Here’s an easy-to-follow guide:

  1. Initial Examination: First, carefully check the condition and thickness of the top layer to see if refinishing will work.
  2. Preparing the Surface: Clean the surface and fix any sticking-out nails for a smooth process.
  3. Sanding: Gently sand the top layer to get rid of old finishes and defects. Use a professional sander and be careful not to damage the thin layer.
  4. Cleaning After Sanding: Once you’ve finished sanding, clean up all the dust and bits to get ready for the next steps.
  5. Staining: If you want to change the colour, apply the stain evenly for a consistent look.
  6. Applying the Final Finish: Finish off with a protective coat to keep the floor looking good and to protect it. You can choose from polyurethane, oil-based, or water-based finishes, each giving a different look and level of protection.

Rugs for Enginereed Hardwood Floors

Alternatives to Refinishing Engineered Hardwood Flooring

If restoring your engineered hardwood floors isn’t feasible, there are alternative methods to revitalize them. These methods can offer a refreshed appearance for your home without undertaking a complete restoration process.

  • Deep Cleaning and Polishing: A thorough cleaning and polish can make a big difference, getting rid of light scratches and bringing back the shine.
  • Recoating: Putting on a new layer of finish can refresh areas with less damage and is an easier choice than full refinishing.
  • Using Rugs and Carpets: Placing rugs and carpets cleverly can update your home’s style and hide worn spots.
  • Replacing Boards: If only certain parts are damaged, it might be cheaper to just replace those boards or sections.
  • Installing New Flooring: If refinishing isn’t possible, putting in new materials like laminate, vinyl, or a different kind of hardwood can change the look of your space.

Professional Assistance vs. DIY

Trying to refinish engineered hardwood floors yourself might seem appealing, but it’s a complicated task that usually needs the know-how of a pro. Flooring experts can deliver top-notch results and help avoid any damage.

Final Thoughts

In brief, choosing to refinish engineered hardwood floors involves considering the veneer’s thickness and the floor’s condition. While refinishing is beneficial for aesthetics and cost, it often requires expert help. If not possible, other options exist to enhance your living space. The choice should balance the floor’s practical needs with the homeowner’s style preferences.