Engineered hardwood flooring has become quite popular in recent years. Once referred to as “fake wood flooring”, engineered hardwood has undergone such drastic improvements, many homeowners now prefer it over solid hardwood.
As with any flooring, there comes a time when engineered hardwood needs to be repaired and spruced up. One of the most common questions among those who have it in their homes is, “Can engineered hardwood be refinished?” The answer is…yes! It can be. There are some important things to take into consideration though.
A Little About Engineered Hardwood
Engineered hardwood is a man-made, manufactured flooring that looks like natural wood planks but isn’t. There are several layers to the flooring including a thin layer of wood or veneer applied to the top coating plywood to enhance the appearance and durability.
Another way engineered hardwood differs from solid hardwood flooring is that no stains or polyurethane is needed in the finish. Instead, it’s the veneer or wood layer is what gives it its luster.
Benefits of Engineered Hardwood
Engineered hardwood flooring comes with a slew of benefits including:
- Wide range of choices
- Many stains available
- Budget friendly
- Easy to clean
- Can mimic wood flooring
It’s clear to see why engineered hardwood has become such a craze and also understandable why homeowners want to salvage their investment by refinishing it.
Preliminary Actions When Refinishing Engineered Hardwood
Not all engineered hardwood flooring is created alike. You’ll want to go by the factors below to customize your refinishing project.
The first thing you will want to do to make sure your engineered hardwood is a good candidate for refinishing is to check the thickness of your wear layer. The greater the thickness is, the more it will need to be sanded. If there is little thickness at all, you probably shouldn’t sand or refinish it.
If you are refinishing your engineered hardwood flooring, you’ll want to keep the installed multiple layers in mind. You cannot sand past the top layer or you will mess up the entire look and function of the flooring.
Type of Wood
Engineered wood comes in different types of wood just as solid hardwood flooring does. Be sure to analyze the species so you’ll find out the kind of surface it has – hard, soft, or medium. Take note of the character of the grain too.
The goal of successfully refinishing your flooring is to scrub off the upper surface without causing the plywood underneath to become scratched or damaged. Keep in mind that the base coating you’ll be scouring is typically very thin.
If your floor shows signs of damage, you’ll need to plan for sanding to the level of the origin of the problem unless it’s too deep. If it is, you’ll have to settle for it looking better than it did rather than it looking perfect.
The type of finish your flooring has will play a part in your planning too. If it has a hand scraped finish, removing the finish layer will take it off so know that beforehand. The wear layer of most engineered hardwood flooring is 3mm to 6mm. The thicker the finish, the more times you can get by with refinishing it. You will want to decide what type of finish you want to apply after removing the finish in the event you are sanding the finish off. If you are glazing without sanding, you’ll be adding to the finish layer bust you still only have a limited number of refinishes or you’ll cake on too many finishes and ruin the look, feel, and integrity of the floor.
How to Refinish Your Engineered Hardwood Floor
There are several methods you can use when refinishing your engineered hardwood flooring including:
Glazing is a popular method for floors that have very thin veneer. The procedure doesn’t require sanding the surface, so it is ideal for floors that have been sanded before. Glazing adds shine and stain to engineered hardwood floors, making them look almost new.
Sanding is the most commonly used method of refinishing engineered hardwood flooring. It is excellent when used on planks that have a considerable amount of thickness. It is also the method that works best to smooth over dents, pings, and scrapes. You’ll finish up by applying a finish of stain and/or protective sealant to the top.
Note: Do keep in mind that sanding and refurbishing engineered hardwood flooring is not a quick and simple task. You’ll want to prepare to spend some time on it and do it properly because otherwise, you risk sanding too deep and will need to replace your floor altogether.
How Often Can Engineered Hardwood be Refinished?
Contrary to what you might think, you can’t continually coat your engineered hardwood flooring indefinitely. Unlike solid hardwood flooring where you can take many rounds of refinishing, there is a limit.
One or two times of refinishing is all engineered hardwood floors are designed to withstand. It is recommended to keep each refinish around 1/16th of an inch and no more although a heavy-duty scrape is fine as a one time project if (and only if) the wood is thick enough.
Experts recommend that you do not refurbish your engineered hardwood flooring any more often that every 4-7 years, depending on how much traffic and abuse it receives.
Can the Color of Prefinished Engineered Hardwood be Changed?
Engineered hardwood flooring comes in a specific color. Over time, you may get tired of the color or change the color scheme of the room and want to change the color of the hardwood. It is totally doable. When applying the glazing lacquer, simply use the color you want to switch over to.
A Whole New View
One of the best features of engineered hardwood flooring is that it does have the capability to be refinished. Refinishing is a great way to add a luxurious, rich appeal to your floor and to tack on extra protection as well. It’s nice to know that if you redecorate your home and go from a modern to a rustic look (or vice versa) that you can change your flooring accordingly and the same goes for alternating to a different color too. Even if your refinishing is just a refurbishing of sorts, you’ll have a gorgeous new look without having to replace your floor.