What to Know About Hardwood Floors: Can You Refinish Engineered Hardwood Floors?

By Cezar

Hardwood or products that imitate it are some of the most popular on the market. While pure hardwood is a fantastic product with great durability and longevity, it definitely has a few downsides. The biggest downside is the price – natural hardwood is one of the most expensive flooring products on the market. It’s also vulnerable to moisture and can’t be installed in rooms like basements.

On the other hand, while products like laminate or vinyl can imitate the look of hardwood, they don’t feel very much like the real thing. Enter engineered hardwood. Engineered wood flooring is a composite product, made of a thin veneer of real hardwood bonded to a core of plywood. While having an almost identical look to real hardwood, engineered boards are softer underfoot and resist moisture damage. Engineered hardwood is also cheaper and easier to install.

Those interested in a new engineered hardwood floor, or who have purchased a house that already has the product installed, often ask the question: can I refinish my engineered hardwood? How can I change the colour of my floors?

Can I Refinish Engineered Hardwood Floors?

For a hardwood floor, refinishing is a process where the top layer of wood is sanded off. This removes the old finish and stain, leaving raw wood underneath. It also removes any scratches, scuffs, or stains that penetrated that top layer of wood. After sanding, you can apply a new stain and finish.

A great advantage to natural hardwood is that it can be refinished multiple times throughout its lifespan, often ten to twelve times or even more. This makes your floor incredibly resilient.

Can engineered hardwood be refinished? The answer is yes and no. The hardwood part of engineered hardwood is called the veneer, with the rest of the board being plywood. Depending on the thickness of the veneer, the floor might be able to be refinished once, twice or even up to six times. However, sometimes the veneer will be so thin that it cannot be refinished even once. If you want to refinish your engineered hardwood, you’ll need to check to see how many refinishings your product can withstand.

Can I Change The Colour Of Engineered Hardwood Floors?

If your engineered hardwood can be refinished, the answer is yes! (If you aren’t able to refinish, we’ll discuss some alternatives below). The best way to change the colour is to have your floor sanded and refinished. Before applying your new finish, you’ll have the chance to restain your floor. Taking into account your wood species, you can pick a new stain colour and voila! Your finished floors will look brand new.

How To Sand Engineered Hardwood Floors?

Sanding engineered floors is much like sanding normal hardwood, with the important caveat that there is very little room for error!

While you can rent a machine and perform the process yourself, it’s best to leave sanding the floor to the pros, as if you oversand or leave marks you may not be able to remove them.

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Other Ways To Change The Colour

If you’ve checked and your engineered hardwood can’t be sanded, there are still some options available to you.

One is to check out glazes. Glazes form a thin layer over your wood and provide it with a new colour. While they aren’t as permanent as a stain and refinish, they do allow you to change the colour without sanding. Over time, the glaze will chip off and need to be replaced. The current colour of your floor will also affect how the glaze appears – it will be hard to change the colour much for a very dark floor.

Summary

Engineered hardwood is a fantastic product that looks just like hardwood while being cheaper, easier to install, more resistant to moisture and softer underfoot. However, engineered hardwood boards aren’t quite as durable or versatile as full hardwood planks.

While many engineered hardwood floors can be refinished as many as 2-3 times or more, some cannot be refinished at all, and none can be refinished as many times as real hardwood.

Therefore, if you are working with engineered hardwood, it’s a good idea to make sure you love the stain and finish, as you should be careful not to waste any refinishings.

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.