Can Engineered Hardwood Floors Be Refinished?
A question we commonly get in our showroom is whether engineered wood floors can be refinished. This question is often asked by customers that are leaning more towards selecting a solid hardwood floor, and not quite familiar with the benefits and advantages of engineered hardwood.
Many customers are surprised to learn that engineered hardwood can indeed be refinished once, and sometimes more. If you have an engineered hardwood installed that is damaged due to traffic, dented and scratched, before sanding down at it, there are a few things to consider.
First, look at your floors to see how widespread the issues are. If it’s isolated to a few boards, it will likely be more cost effective to replace the individual boards instead of sanding down and refinishing all the floors. This is where a couple of additional boxes stored in a dry place would come in extremely handy. If the floor however is already coming apart, cupping, or water damaged, it is not recommended to attempt to refinish and you may have to look into replacing the floors.
How much does a refinish take off your floor?
On average a refinish takes .75 to 1 mm of your current floorboard’s density. That means that if your floor has only a 2mm veneer with a wirebrush and/or is handscraped, sanding down and refinishing is likely not an option since sanding down through the wear layer will total your floor. If your engineered floor however has a veneer that is 3mm or more, refinishing at least once is very much possible.
Another point to consider is the internal core of the floor. Although most engineered hardwoods will consist of a multi-ply core, newer hardwoods sold under the tag of ‘engineered’ are made instead from High Density Fiberboard (HDF) providing a harder backing to the veneer but much more sensible to moisture, and a much shorter lifespan than a multi-ply core. These floors (we don’t like to call this ‘hardwood’) will almost always be less expensive, and also have no more than a 1.5mm veneer. This is not a product you would want to attempt to refinish.
What to look for when selecting an Engineered Harwood?
If you are looking to have a floor that can easily be refinished there are a few things to consider when selecting an engineered hardwood.
Texture: Select a product that has a subtle wirebrush and lightly handscrape rather than a deep, rustic handscrape.
Veneer: Select a product with a veneer that is at least 3mm. Thicker veneer means more value overall and critical if you are intending to refinish the floor in the future.
Type of finish: A polyurethane finished floor will give you more color options when you are ready to change the look of your floor. An oil finish or smoked product is just as great but, in some cases, the only option you have is to re-stain to a darker color.
Species: Choose a harder more durable wood specie: Cherry, Hickory, Red Oak, and European White Oak are great options. These are the species most likely to come with a thicker veneer. Avoid birch and maple.
Millennium Hardwood Flooring
10508 Boyer Blvd Suite A
Austin Tx 78758