We are always asked the question, “Can you refinish engineered hardwood floors?”. The simple answer is yes, but there are some things you should know before you do it. So don’t go rent a floor sander just yet. In this article, I’m going to go over the things you need to know before you refinish your engineered hardwood floors.
What are Engineered Hardwood Floors?
Before we discuss the ins and outs of refinishing them, let’s talk about exactly what engineered hardwood floors are. Anytime we mention our floors on Instagram, there seems to be some confusion about what they are. I have to admit, the name can be a little misleading. I can see how the word “engineered” might make people think that there is no natural wood in the product. However, that is not the case.
Engineered hardwood is comprised of two main layers. The bottom layer is plywood-like material, which itself is made up of multiple layers running in opposite directions. This gives the planks strength and prevents the boards from warping or cupping. This also allows for much wider planks. For example, our engineered hardwood flooring is 10 1/4″ wide.
The top layer is the wear layer and it gives the flooring its beauty. This layer is a thin natural wood veneer that comes in a wide variety of wood species. So once the flooring is installed you can’t tell the difference between it and solid hardwood.
Can you Refinish Engineered Hardwood Floors?
As I mentioned above, yes you can refinish engineered hardwood flooring. But it all depends on the thickness of the top layer. Typical engineered hardwoods have a wear layer thickness that ranges from 3mm to 7mm. The sanding process in refinishing your flooring will take off 1mm. Here’s a chart showing you how many times engineered hardwood flooring can be refinished based on the thickness of its wear layer.
|Wear Layer Thickness
|Number of Refinishes
Keep in mind that you do not want to sand off any of the last 1mm of the thickness of the wear layer. That’s why the number of times you can refinish is 1 less than the thickness.
Other Things to Consider when Refinishing Engineered Hardwood Floors
Before you refinish your engineered hardwood floors, you should realize that whatever special finish or texture they have will be lost. This might include a natural oil finish, hand-scraping, or wire brushing. These are both textures that will most likely be sanded away the first time you refinish your floors.
Our white oak engineered floors have wire brushing that gives them a really cool vintage texture, which I love! So it will be a difficult decision one day if we ever think about refinishing them.
Another thing to be aware of is the bevel or microbevel between the flooring planks. Almost all prefinished flooring has this around the edges. The purpose of the microbevel is to hide any uneven heights from plank to plank.
Depending on how deep the bevel is, it will be greatly reduced or even completely gone after the floor is sanded. Based on your personal preference, this could be a good thing or a bad thing. Some people like the grooved look, while others prefer a flush smooth look across their flooring. Without the bevel, your flooring will look more like solid hardwood.