Can you sand and refinish engineered wood flooring? (yes and no)

Whenever someone calls me to get a quote for floor sanding and they have engineered wood flooring, they often ask me if it’s even possible first.

refinishing engineered hardwood flooring

To be fair, it’s an understandable question, you only have some 4 to 8 millimeters of real hardwood to work with. You might sand straight through to the plywood!

Can engineered wood flooring be sanded and refinished?

In most cases yes. It all depends on the thickness of the wear layer. It cant be thinner than 3mm. Even at 3mm, if the floor is lumpy, you risk sanding through to the ply substrate. Engineered wood flooring is usually 4-8mm and is good for sanding and refinishing.

How many times can engineered wood flooring be refinished?

Once engineered wood flooring has been sanded and refinished, it’s usually much flatter than previously, meaning the subsequent sandings don’t need to take as much off. 6mm Engineered wood flooring can be sanded 3 times, whereas 3mm engineered flooring only once. The skill of the person sanding the floor is also a factor.

I am often asked this question about other types of flooring also, like fingerblock parquet.

Fingerblock parquet is rarely thicker than 8mm and in ten years of sanding and refinishing wooden floors, I have never sanded through to the subfloor. And believe me, I have sanded fingerblock that has been heavily sanded before.

Yet I have never ever sanded through it.

This coming from the guy who rarely starts sanding with anything finer than 36g.

Despite this, I can scarcely remember ever sanding all the way through engineered flooring.

In fact, the number of times I have sanded through an engineered floor to see the plywood underneath, I could count on one hand.

So yes, I have sanded through before but at least 2 of those times was when neither the customer nor I realized that the floor, previously thought to be solid, was actually only a 1mm veneer.

There have been occasions when I have recommended not sanding on an engineered wood floor because it had been sanded a few times before and I personally wasn’t prepared to risk sanding through.

Another situation that I would consider not sanding is if the floor is really unlevel or warped (cupped).

I have sanded cupped engineered flooring (many many times), but I’m talking about when it’s quite clearly too far gone.

Other than that, yes you can definitely sand and seal your engineered wood flooring. Pull on your big boy pants (or big girl!) and get to work, because your tatty old floors could be lookin’ brand new in no time.

Before you start, make sure that you have read my articles on using a floor sander and using an edge sander. That will help prevent any serious damage to your floor. If you really want to do a good job, get in the know.

Hey, if the floor is nice and flat and you can get away with starting on a 60g belt, it may be possible that you can sand your floor 2 or 3 times without trouble, massively increasing the life of the floor!

I hope this article helped. If you have any questions at all, please leave a comment in the comment section below.




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  1. Hi there, just got some second hand engineered floorboards for my tiny house build. Would love them slightly darker and less shiny but also don’t want to mess them up as I’ve heard staining them is a little risky. Unfortunately unsure what kind of wood they are. What would you recommend?

      1. If folk can afford a pro, yes, unless they really want to try it themselves. Many can’t afford a pro and have to try it themselves. The advice I give is; if the wear layer is 3.5mm or under, leave it to a professional, because there’s a risk, especially if it isn’t perfectly flat.

  2. Hello Ben…I have a 5/16 (7.95mm) Brazilian Cherry engineered wooden floor with an aluminum oxide finish that a previous owner tried to varnish over…I live in Tampa and can’t find any refinisher of floors that have the confidence of taking on the task of refinishing this floor in the correct manner…any recommendations please…

    1. I can’t speak specifically to Brazilian Cherry as I’ve never sanded it, but ali-oxide finished floors are just like any other, it’s just a bit longer and more abrasives to get the ali-ox surface off.

  3. Hi Ben !

    I am in quite a dilemma , I ordered 3000 sq ft of engineer hardwood , it is finished hardwire and 2 mm of prefinished European oak , the rest is ply wood , the color sample they sent was ash tone. After the professionals installed it , it has this crazy bright green/yellow hue , nothing like the sample nor the photo , I wanted a more neutral with ash finish . Would it be possible to do a scuff and glaze it? Or refinish it ? Thank you for your time

  4. Hello, we have oiled engineered hardwood that always look dirty, even right after cleaning. They are otherwise in good condition. Can I refinish with a sealer and stop using oil?

  5. HI Ben-I currently have Jatoba Brazillian Cherry engineered wood flooring and wondering if I would be able to refinish it to a darker color? Its a reddish/orange brown color right now. I am looking having a professional come out and take a look but came across your website and thought I would ask you about it. Thanks so much.

    1. Yes, I recommend Jacobean Dark Oak, as jacobean tends to be less colorful, and won’t add to the redness already in the wood. Otherwise, if you can find someone to do custom stains, a little green can make red more brown.

  6. You are a saviour with your videos and blog; thank you.

    I have engineered oak flooring (18mm thick planks – possibly Kahrs) in my small, open-plan living-diner-kitchen (30 sqm). I inherited the floor when I purchased the house, and its dark stain finish is not of my choosing. I’d like to sand it back to its light oak colour under the stain.

    The solid wood layer is 5mm. I’ve used a hand sanding block to sand a spare plank I found in the loft, and I like the colour it would go back to.

    I’m feeling confident in hiring a sander, but not sure which type – drum or belt? And all the guidance I can find on grit types is for real-wood solid floors. As this is a 5mm wood layer, do you know which grit level I use, which direction I sand, and how many passes I make? I’ll need an edge sander too, right?

    The floor is perfectly flat, there aren’t any damage points or scratches and it’s in great condition, I simply don’t like its dark stain.

    Any help or advice is appreciated.

    1. Hello Lizzie, 5mm is plenty, you could start on any grit but engineered is usually fairly flat and you may be able to start at a 60 to get the finish and stain off. I would use a drum sander. Tbh its all the same standard sanding techniques I explain everywhere. I’d recommend getting my eBook and Video Course to get a more in-depth explanation (especially the hardwood floor section of the eBook)

  7. Hi Ben:
    I have light oak manufactured hardwood floors and I love the color. The house is 11 years old and I live in the south. I am seeing areas where it looks like the finish is starting to wear down. I do not want to have the floor sanded. My question is there any type of finish or wax to bring life back in to the floor. It is more on the areas that there is more traffic. Thanks for any help you can offer.

  8. Hi Ben,
    I recently moved into a house that has Engineered hard wood that is six years old, But has lot of pet scratches and dents and wear and tear. I am trying to a hire a pro to sand and refinish this. One contractor gave me an expensive quote to sand and refinish with 3 coats of polyurethane and other one gave me a cheaper quote to do a light sanding and finish with two quotes. Both have good yelp reviews but not sure which way to go. Please help. Light sanding or complete sanding? Please note this floor was never sand before.

    1. Unfortunately, overcoating doesn’t do anything to remove or obscure dents and scratches. Sometimes it can actually exaggerate them. Overcoating is great for floors that have very fine scratches and surface-level damage, this means floors that are only 1 to 6 years old. If your floor is a bit more worn and grubby, you probably need a full resand and finish. Be sure to get 2 or 3 more quotes so that you can be more sure of your decision.

  9. HI, thanks in advance – I’ve got a 20 year old engineered light oak floor in a conservatory where there is a lot of sun damage/bleaching of the colour except of course where furniture has been where the floor remains a medium/honey oak. The wear depth on the oak is 3mm. There is no cupping or warping but the lacquer has worn off in places and also some water damage after a leak. Can I lightly sand the whole thing to take the lacquer off then use a stain on the bleached areas to get a closer colour match across the whole floor before then applying a further stain to the whole floor do you think? Very helpful website, thank you. Rick

    1. Hello Ricky. Sun bleaching is a common problem and in my opinion, an absolute nightmare! It sounds like this floor can be sanded and improved greatly, but not completely. That UV damage is deep in the wood and where the lacquer is worn off, that damage will be quite deep too. As its only 3mm wear layer, I cant recommend sanding it yourself as you may go through the wear layer into the ply. You may not, but I would hate to have encouraged you if that happens. I would hire some local professionals if you can. I hope it turns out well and I wish you the best of luck Ricky!

  10. Ben,
    I have 3/8″ oak engineered hardwood that has 3 millimeters of wood. I know it can be sanded, but what grit progression is recommended or should it be sanded only once and at what grit level?

    1. Is the floor very flat? If there’s only 3mm of wood, you should make sure that the floor is very flat. I normally start with a 60 grit on floors like this.

    1. Hello Patti, 1.6mm is very thin and very risky for refinishing. I would say, short of putting a solid colour over the top, you dont have much choice other than rip out and replace. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!

  11. Hi,
    We have Mannington Proseries advanced ceramic finish 2.35 mm engineered maple floors. They are 18 years old and have scratches from dog and kids. We would like to sand and refinish in a gray wash coastal tone. We live in Northwest Indiana (Chicago suburb). Do you have any recommendations for contractors in our area? Thanks for all this information!

    1. Hello Megan, I have emailed you with some recommendations, I know quite a few guys in Chicago. Chicago has some of the best hardwood flooring talent in the world!

      I am working on a directory so people can find local professionals themselves, should be open soon!

  12. Hi Ben

    We are buying a house with a lovely (but fairly tatty) wooden fingerblock floor. It is pretty dark and suspect it hasn’t been sanded and re-lacquered since new (in the 70s). A small section has come loose. Can you recommend how I could glue this back down – the black paper which it was once glued to has long since lost it’s stick. Also, to sand down (once all glued firmly back down), do I go diagonally across the check pattern? Do you have a guide for fingerblock floor?

  13. Dear Ben,

    Hope you can help me with this. Bought a house with fairly new Mannington Hickory engineered wood floor. The wood layer is 1.5mm, but it has a faux rustic texture with beveled edges. Where it bevels around the edges the wood layer goes down to 0.25mm. The manufacturer says it can be rescreened, but not sanded. I hate the orange color and the glossy sheen, but it’s a good quality floor with a very hard surface. super easy to clean.
    I have no budget to hire professionals, but I hate the color enough to try to tackle this on my own. I have ordered a floor sample to experiment on.
    My hope is to change the color from an orange brown with glossy finish to a dark brown with a satin finish. To do so, I was thinking I should:
    1. rent a sander and sand very lightly with fine sand paper, then put a dark brown stain, followed by some sort of satin varnish. –Or–
    2. mix satin varnish with dark brown/black color and simply stain it without sanding.
    3. If staining fails, then maybe paint the floor solid white using a marine paint.

    Do you think any of this might work or do you have any other techniques I could try? any recommendations on paint or varnishes that might work?

  14. Hi Ben

    We are about to purchase a home in southern california. They have 6year old engineered hardwood thats showing lots of wear and tear from 2 boys and a dog and significant sun “damage”. We dont know what kind of wood is the top layer but it’s a faded gradient and it’s also textured the floor ( it looks like it has some waves in it). How do we repair these damage? Do we need to rip out all of the flooring and replace it?

    1. sun damage can be taken out with sanding, depending on how thick the wear layer is. Im not sure about the wave pattern, that could be cupping caused by damp beneath.

  15. My husband spilled a pot of boiling water on our engineered hardwood floor (Brazilian cherry) leaving white stains. I sprayed Bona floor cleaner on it but I fear the water removed the finish. What now? I haven’t tried anything else yet.. Floors are 5 years old and in otherwise good condition. Thank you!

    1. unfortunately I’m not sure, it’s a well known thing that heat can do this to finishes, with some finishes it can be fixed, but for most floor finishes, especially if its polyurethane, theres not much you can do. Apart from resanding of course. Have a google, maybe contact the manufacturer

  16. Hello Ben,

    My house has this hideous orangey oak engineered flooring. I’d like to make it look like a dark walnut similar to the picture you have of the school you refinished. Is this at all possible? If so what is the best way to tackle it?

    Thank you 🙂

    1. sand off the old finish, get it flat and smooth, get a dark stain and apply! I really recommend getting my video course and ebook if you want to stain. It is very very easy to do a bad job with stain. (I actually dont recommend it for DIY’ers, but doing it without a good guide is just begging for problems)

  17. I bought engineered medium-colored maple wood floors and had no idea they were going to have so many BLACK KNOTS AND SPOTS. They look like bugs.
    Is there any way to lighten these knots????

  18. I have bruce (I think) 3/8″ simply natural butterscotch (color)engineered flooring rom Home Depot that i had installed 18 years ago. One o the bedrooms has a large area about 4′ by 5″ where the finish has completely worn off from what I am understand to be too enthusiastic dancing by my teenage daughter…I am trying to figure out the best way to make this look better. I am not experienced in any of this being a female (not that is limiting..just my age and inexperience makes me insecure about tackling this..)..I considered maybe cleaning it well (although cant really get it wet as all the finish is gone in spots) and then trying to apply some finish to the area and see i that alone will darken it to the original butterscotch color or do I need to rent a sander and sand the whole room first? Is the butterscotch color in the varnish that was applied or just the color of the wood itself? Also what grit sandpaper would i use as some areas have no finish on them at all and what type of varnish would i put on it?

  19. I have a ten year old distressed hardwood cherry floor that has a factory applied Ultrawear finish on it. Every footprint or shoe print shows on it and it never actually looked clean and nice. I eventually put a dressing on it to perk it up and over the years have a buildup that I am not happy with either. Recently I was cleaning around the stool area with a cleaning solution and it removed the finish down to the original factory finish. So now I am working very hard to remove the shine refresher over all of the floor. I know the original floor says it has a polyurethane seven step factory finish and am not interested in sanding it or staining it but would love to put a satin finish on that would bring out the beautiful wood…is that advisable? I have some extra pieces that I could practice on but would like to know the hardest and most durable finish out there. Please give me your opinion.

    1. with the amount you have done to it, I wouldnt try overcoating it myself, 10years isnt very old, but it is about the right time to get it sanded. Cherry is gorgeous, do the floor justice and bring it back to its former glory! (sand it!)

  20. Hello i have a Tarkett enginered floor in red oak natural .it is 4 mil and never been sanded. It has aluminum oxide finish and has many scratches. It has been down proably 15 years and I wanted to know how to sand and refinish. Also could we do polyurethane finish. What grit do we need to sand with and should we do with belt sander? I would like to go to a buttersctch colr which is just little darker than they are now. Can you give me some advice on this. Thanks

    1. You definitely need to start on 36g, even on that you will find that it’s a bit of work getting that finish off, its tough stuff. You certainly can use Poly, though, you might not get the darker effect you want, unless maybe you use an amber primer. Oils will achieve that colour a little more easily. Red oak is literally that though, red. There’s also a lot of colour variation. I see very little red Oak in the UK and I absolutely love it, the grain and the colour is beautiful and I would be trying to keep the natural colour as much as possible.

  21. Oops thought I had read through my post.
    Missed out the essential word, not, when mentioning spilt red wine on the floor.
    Also other typos, sorry about that.


  22. Hi Ben,
    Didn’t think I could spend ages watching videos about sanding but very helpful and hopefully will stop me making any mistakes.
    We have a birch block random length boards in the sitting room, originally light oiled but 20 years plus on scratched and stained. It good idea to spill red wine and there are a few burn marks where sparks fro me the fire jumped out.
    I intend to buy a Festool Rotex after such strong recommendations, probably 90 as there are lots of other sanding jobs to do.
    So aim to sand the floor from grit 40 upwards and put on light oil rather than lacquer.
    The hall has 80 year old Canadian oak where stain previously used has worn away. We could not match the oak but have birch boards as before, so plan to sand, put light stain or coloured oil or similar.
    Oak door too. Very lucky. A bit tired ,no patina to speak of.
    Am a novice at this so any suggestions would be great.
    After that, engineered floors upstairs.
    Will look great.

    Thank you so much. Camilla

    1. Hello Camilla, I know you may have other jobs to do that might mean that you need a smaller head, but for the floor, I would really recommend the 150. The idea of sanding a floor with a 90mm rotex is just pure hell, it would take such a long time. Also, the smaller head will make it more difficult to keep it smooth and flat. The 150 head will be sanding with a flat surface over a larger areas keeping it flatter.

  23. Howdy,

    I have a 5 year old engineered oak flooring finished in wax. Odd mark here and there that I’ve finally dared to sand off by hand.. now I want to give the whole room a skim with a sander and re wax or oil (is there a difference)… would I have to completely remove existing finish ?

  24. Hi! Great article. We have hickory engineered hardwood. They are about 11 years old. They have yellowed and would love to change the color. The top layer is only about a fingernail thick. We don’t live in an area that has someone who can refinish. Do you think it’s doable to do a light sand?


  25. I had installed engineered 3/8 inch maple (BraND Columbia/beckham). Finish terrible, scratches very , very easily. Do you know anyone in Dallas,tx who can assit. Condominiumn.

  26. Hi this website is awesome! I have engineered wood floors that I would like to sand and refinish but I also have carpet in the living room that’s surrounded by the wood that I would like to take up and replace with engineered hard wood as well. Is it possible to replace the carpet and sand and refinish the new and existing floors and achieve a uniform look?

    1. its possible but I really cant say without seeing your floor. If its not possible then you could actually use the existing floor to frame a different wood and/or pattern inside, like maybe herringbone parquet or diagonal strips.

  27. Hi we currently have really dark brown engineered wood flooring and has a lot of scratches. We are wondering if we can sand and polish it to get the stain off and have a lighter color and also to remove the scratches. Is it possible to get the stain off ?? And how do we go about it ?

    1. Yes its possible. Click around on this website and you should learn everything you need to know. Id give you a link but its pretty much this whole website lol

  28. Hi Ben, I my home had Eng. Hardwood in the family rm and living rm. I want to add it through the rest 1st floor except kitchen. I have found a eng. wood that is extremely similar in color (Butterscotch Oak) and grain but of course it is not 100% the same. Can I have the new floor installed in other areas then have all areas sanded in order to match the color exactly? Or is there something else you would suggest instead?

    1. Hello Meek,

      If this is something you want to try to do yourself and achieve perfection I would suggest you think again. Some pros can do very well at matching the colour but thats it, it will never look exactly the same. I would get a professional opinion, Ideally from a NWFA master refinisher.

  29. Hi Ben,

    We have engineered wood floors that are probably maple and have a very reddish color to it. Wanted to know if its possible to stain it so that the red is less obvious. Thank you!


    1. Maple is very light indeed so its probably something else. Unfortunately, trying to bring down the tone of these red floors can be a very thankless task. It usually just ends up pink. If you want you could get a light green stain to make that red more of a brownish colour, but again it wont be lighter.

      1. Hi! I have the same kind of flooring. Would one still need to sand prior to putting on a cool stain to lessen the red?

  30. Hi Ben,

    Forgive me if I missed this subject if it has already been answered. I have builder installed Acacia 3/4 inch engineered floors. We took on a 94lb Akita who has made some scratches. Since we believe resending is the only way to get that out we would also like to take it to a color that removes the orange tones in this floor.
    Can this be done, and done well, say in Jacobean or a blend of Jacobean and Gray?

    1. It is possible but I have never stained Jacobean. A good pro can test with neutralising colours to cancel out other colours.

  31. Great website for sanding floors! Here’s my problem: i recently purchased a house, that had nice floors but has sun bleaching in window spots. I have engineered hardwood floors. They look like oak to me. I had one flooring refinisher quoted it and he said the floors would be no problem. The next flooring refinished came out and said the flooring is 2 mm thick. Then he told me he could refinish the floors, but he wasn’t sure what the result would be. My floors are flat, so there’s no “cupped” wood. I know the previous owners and he said the floors have never been refinished. Can the floors be refinished? Will the veneer layer be too thin after refinishing to last? Please advise.

    1. if its flat, its possible it can be refinished. It will need a very soft touch with the sanders. If I were you, I would have a clause in the contract that terminates the contract at an agreed price if they go through the floor, covers their labour and materials up until that point.

  32. Hello Ben,
    I have Mohawk Brand, engineered Ecalyptus Saddle hand carved look flooring. It’s not been the best flooring and has many dents and scratches. We are looking to sell our home soon and need to either replace or sand and refinish. Is sanding and option with hand carved flooring? Will sanding take away the hand carved look?

    1. The sanding will take away the hand carved look but a nice flat smooth clean look will be enough to help sell your house. In my honest opinion, it will look better than these fake factory scraped floors.

  33. Hi Ben,

    thanks for all the great advice. I have engineered wood floor, maple, about 2 mm thick, a darker color. I was told it cannot be re-stained to freshen up or to change the color because the floor stain was impregnated. What is your professional opinion and experience with impregnated engineered wood floors – can they be re-stained with the same or different color stain? Also, will it look good if it is only sanded and oil-based PU applied to it?

    1. I dont think it can be sanded, to be honest. The stain will have penetrated too deep, to sand enough of the wood off to get rid of the stain would probably cause you to go through to the ply in multiple areas, you may be able to use a stripper, then reapply the same stain and then lacquer, but you may be on a wild goose chase! I just dont know how well that will turn out

  34. Hi. I’m in desperate need of your advice. I purchased a home with large sunny windows. Over the last 10 years, the floor has faded from light brown, to lighter brown and, in some places, GREEN! Can I just use a stripper agent to fix these engineered floors, sand them or something more drastic?! I like the original color. I’ve attached a picture so that you can see what it looks like with the rub pulled up.

  35. Hi Ben:

    I have engineered maple floors. Unfortunately, some grit got underneath a mat I was using to protect them from an office chair and the finish is worn away over a 12 inch square area (in sections of 4 adjacent boards). I was able to get the matching stain from the manufacturer so I’m thinking of trying to repair it by taping off the damaged area and sanding it, and then staining and resealing it. Is it as straightforward as this?

    Just to add, it’s in a dark room and not in a conspicuous location, so if the color match is a bit off it’s not that big a deal.


  36. Hi Ben,
    We have recently moved to a new home built 15 months ago. The floors are engineered oiled oak flooring which I love the colour (quite natural colour) but I don’t like how difficult it is to clean them compared to a lacquered floor. The floor either needs reoiling as it is very dry or Is it possible to sand an oiled floor then do a Matt finish lacquer or Estapol? Would much prefer a sealed floor than oiled. Thank you

    1. The floor can be completely resanded yes. Or you can get an oil floor cleaning product and overcoat it with hardwax oil which should provide a much more easily cleanable surface

  37. Hi Ben,
    My house is 13 years old and has an Appalachian engineered hardwood floor. Appalachian was/is owned by Anderson. The hardwood is 3/8th of an inch with 5 ply and was glued down. There appears to have been some water intrusion by an outside door and a 2 foot section of the floor is faded. I have contacted Anderson and they discontinued the product line a year or two ago. They are searching to see if there is some inventory available. I have two questions: if we find some inventory can that one section be replaced? If we can’t find any product is there any solution to fixing that one section short of refinishing the entire floor such as spot sanding and refinishing?

    1. Sounds like a very nice floor and 3/8 is plenty of wood. If you can get some replacement boards, yes you can replace these. If you cant then the only thing you can do is resand the floor. Personally, I would resand the floor even if you do get replacement boards because the old boards will be faded and look different now.

  38. Hi

    We have a fairly new engineered wood floor in our kitchen. One of the kitchen chairs has left indentation’s. This was before we fitted each chair with felt rings over the the bottom of each chair leg.

    We are now endeavouring to remove the indentations. How much sanding down, can we safely do? We then plan on re-oil this area. Then will re-oil the rest of the floor. Does that all sound a good idea?

    1. If the floor is oiled then you may be able to put a towel over it and steam it with an iron to get the dents to decompress. I have heard of people doing this to great effect. it doesnt work so well with polyurethane coated floors. Google “steaming hardwood floor dents”

  39. Also, it was the previous owners who laid the floor. So I don’t know if it has been sanded before. Its a risk I’m going to have to take. Any advice on this would be great. thanks

  40. Hey, My whole flat has been laid with engineered wood. Unfortunately some spillages that have been cleaned up, have left the floor looking a bit patchy. The wood hasn’t been damaged, just the coating. I want to sand and refinish the floor, but only want to do one room. What is the best way to determine what the floor has been sealed with previously, so it will match the rest of my house?
    Hope to hear from you!

  41. Hi Ben. Quite a thread you got going here!

    Question: I have 30 year old, gunstock oak engineered hardwoods in my home. During a recent remodel, I attempted to add more hardwood floors (also oak, same size), but had a heck of a time getting the hues to match. The new ones came out looking way redder. Is it possible to just sand and re-stain all of the floors, both new and old? I have a Dewalt hand sander and would be willing to DIY. Going for a rustic look, so perfection isn’t necessary…. just anything I can do to get the two floors to match better. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks so much!!

    1. you can sand it and stain it all together, and that may help towards making it blend. It sounds like you sourced Red Oak instead of White Oak. You will find the grain of the wood is looser on the new stuff and it will be less dense/softer.

  42. We have a 5/8″ engineered hardwood floor. We have a buff and coat done about five months ago. This was the first time in the 8 year life of the floor. Last week, the people who delivered our fridge messed up the finish by not using the proper floor protection. We’ve had two floor experts come out to take a look. One said to do a buff and coat again. The other said that he would not do a buff and coat again because it isn’t recommended for our type of floor to begin with and finish won’t stay put if done again and would start peeling. Any thoughts on this? We would obviously rather do a buff and coat than replace the floor, but also dont want the floor to be even more damaged if we try a second buff and coat. Thanks for your thoughts!

    1. I cant say for sure without seeing the floor. But why would you have to get it replaced? Just sand it and refinish. Do you know how thick the ear layer is?

  43. Hello, I wonder if you can offer me some help. I have an Oak engineered flooring that is installed running through the downstairs of my home. I run a Doggy Hotel and the one room is ruined by dog urine so it shows very dark patches in places. It was installed 9 years ago so I imagine through all of my scrubbing the lacquer has gone. Can I cover in a dark stain and maybe wax or oil it to make it look presentable again?

    1. dark stains do help, one thing I have seen people do is soak the stains in hydrogen peroxide then put a tea towel over it and iron over it. This reduces the appearance of the stain but can slightly bleach it around the stain. Then you go over with a dark stain and voilà! I highly recommend against hardwax oil, its not durable and its terrible for chemical/spill resistance. Go for polyurethane

  44. I have Villa Red Oak Hazelnut 3/8″ x 5×5 glued down on concrete. Entry and dining room had slight water damage. Hired someone who removed some pieces and replaced with less glue (so uneven) and one piece with 30 hammer marks. They they applied a shiny varnish in a portion to part of the room and left. I can live with the uneven I guess but I’m stuck what to do. Remove all.. which goes into other rooms… just add varnish or some kind on the rest of the house. Or do I have to sand, stain, and varnish. Help! Please…. I cannot find professional companies in town that fix engineered wood.

    1. I say sand and refinish. I am hearing more and more about companies not sanding engineered wood. I just don’t get it, they are great floors to sand!

  45. Hello, we installed engineered hardwood bamboo in our home and in 5 months, it has cupped all over the house, including underneath beds and in closets. A third party inspector has reported that it was installed incorrectly. In your article, you mentioned not sanding if the cupped floor is “too far gone”. Would you recommend starting over completely? Thanks so much for any advice you can give!

    1. its hard to tell without seeing the floor. The reason wood floors cup is because there is moisture coming from beneath the floor. There may be some solutions for fixing this without digging up the floor and putting a moisture barrier down. For example having a trench dug around the house so that water can escape out the sides before it gets to the level of the floor. Having a soak away on the drive. I have also seen floors that have been damaged by damp because the drain for the guttering beside the house was cracked in the concrete and water was getting in above the moisture barrier. If you can identify the problem, fix it and let it dry out, you may find the cupping reversing on your floors and flattening out.

  46. Hello,
    Thanks for all of the good advice here. I have a question about an engineered floor and whether to replace or sand. It is a 10 year old Bella Wood light colored floor (Maple, I think). I am wondering if it is feasible to sand the floor (3 rooms, about 450 s.f.) to restain with a darker color. I worked for a number of years as a flooring installer during college (carpet, tile, soft goods), so I think I can handle the sanding and other work, but I worry about the finished job. Have you ever done a job like this? Does it come out looking good? The current floor is beat up from kids and pets, so anything will be improvement.

    1. i can’t say for sure without knowing how thick the wear layer is. But so long as its 4mm or more then it should be fine (so long as its flat!) Believe me, being a carpenter or a floor layer does not mean you will be good at sanding in anyway, I have seen a lot of floor fitters and carpenters try their hand and its rarely any good. The biggest problem people have is assuming it will be easy and just trying their hand.

  47. Hi Ben
    I have a similar problem as the guy before me. I put in a dark maple pre finished hardwood. Is there a way to lighten it a few shades, ? it is too dark for my home!

    1. Honestly, I think I would live with it until you can’t anymore then resand. But I highly highly recommend you don’t try to stain maple as an amateur. If you wanted to go natural with just lacquer and no stain, fine, but staining maple is tough even for pro’s.

  48. Hi Ben,

    Recently had rug removed in living room and matched up engineered hardwood to adjacent dinning room. New flooring looks great and matches well with old flooring, but installers used masking tape to hold wood while installing. When the tape was removed, one piece lifted the finish off 6 inches of the old adjacent flooring. Unfortunately, the damaged wood is located in a very noticeable location. Can the damaged finish be replaced without major work?

    1. without seeing the floor I can’t honestly say. Try to get advice from a local refinishing pro (not a hack)

  49. We have pre engineer maple floors and while we were out of town our dog had three urine accidents and it was not discovered until a week later when the spots started getting dark, after tearing a couple of boards and finding it bone dry underneath we deduced that it was undiscovered urine. It was done before the pet sitter pick our dog up and then sat while we were out of town. My question is, can you sand and poly just a section and expect it to match or does the whole room have to be sanded and polyurethaned? Thanks!

    1. ok 2 parts to this answer. Pet urine contains amonia, which is the same chemical they use to smoke oak, because it travels right the way through the wood darkeningit all the way through. There is very little chance that, if this urine spot soaked without notice, you will be able to sand it out. Even if it did sand out, which it won’t. You can’t just sand a patch and not have it look like a sanded patch. Best fix to get it perfect is to get the boards lifted and replaced, then sand the whole thing

  50. HI Ben,

    I’m about to do a kitchen remodel and want to make sure I understand my options for sanding my brazilian cherry floors in the future. The prior owner installed them about 5-10 years ago and I’m pretty sure they are the cheapest, or close to cheapest that Home Depot offers. Based on their current inventory I’m guessing that they are 1.2mm. If that is the case, is it even possible to sand them in the future and try to reduce the red tones to a darker brown? Before I put new cabinets on top of these floors I want to understand what my options are for sanding and if I should just replace them.

    Also, are there any easy ways to figure out if the flooring is floating vs. glue or nailed? There is one board right by the kitchen sink that isn’t in good shape, likely due to recurring water damage. Should I try to replace it, stain it, or other?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. At 1.2mm I wouldn’t take that floor on, and I know a thing or two about sanding!

      Just knock on the floor, if its more hollow its floating, if its blunt, its stuck down. Floating also moves a lot more

  51. I had prefinished 4 inch maple floors installed. Some boards are narrow on the ends and some are split lengthwise. I have complained to the installer and they subsequently brought in the manufacturer. Manufacturer says they will replace split boards but otherwise not their problem. Installer is willing to work to make me satisfied. I am considering pulling up this floor and having engineered install instead. Trying to do my homework about engineered so since this whole fiasco has been expensive. Not willing to make a second mistake and continue to be unhappy with the floor. Installer says they are having a hard time finding 4-5 inch Select Maple engineered flooring. I found some by a manufacturer that has good customer reviews. But their maple flooring is 4mm thick. Is this enough should I one day want is sanded and refinished? I am also reading that crosscut thickness is best for stability of the floor. I live in a pretty dry climate. Thanks for your advice.

    1. I know that the surface can crack on engineered boards too. I actually sanded a Maple engineered floor recently that had a 3.5mm wear layer. IMO should be done by a pro, and they shouldn’t use water based poly, only oil based. The waterbased poly can expand the thin wood and cause problems.

      Sounds like the floor might have needed a little more time to acclimatise before installation. If the installer can get the replacement boards in neatly, I would have that done and live with it. Remember it’s a natural material, imperfections come with the territory

  52. Hi Ben!
    I tried reading through some posts to find the answer to my question. Seems like most people are trying to make things darker. I ordered engineered hardwood in a coffee color. BIG mistake for a family of five. It shows every little scratch and dust. I would like to lightly sand top layer and try a more grey/whitewash tone…possibly more of a coastal feel. Any suggestions?

  53. You’re absolutely right Ben, in my experience I’ve never had trouble sanding engineered wood flooring and I usually give them 3 passes with different grits (2 when it’s super thin). You just need a good pair of hands coupled with a quality machine and patience.

  54. Hi Ben, very glad you’re here, as I’ve received many answers to my question, which makes me think I really don’t have an answer yet! The owners glued down engineered wood in 1991, never did anything to care for it. In the worst places in the 800 sf. foot area, there’s deep scratches, old, dried wood, a bit of wood slat separation (not very wide), lots of the coating off, but not all. No grooves in the floor. There’s dent in one area. The sun has done a lot of damage over the decades, as one side of the house is all windows. Should we replace it, or try to sand and resurface this old engineered wood?
    Thanks so much!

  55. Hi Ben, I am hoping you can help me with my hardwood dilemma. We had Bellawood Engineered bamboo flooring put in my home (2000 sq ft) back in November. The floor installed shows every little smudge, handprint, butt-print, etc., Frankly, it’s driving me crazy. The beautiful hardwood floors I had been dreaming of are a nightmare. Lumber liquidators wants the installers (who are contracted by lumber liquidators) to take a look and assume it is a glue issue. The floors were glued down to cement. The installers say it’s the product. It is going to do that. I’m sick to my stomach. No one ever told me the floors would be so glossy as to show footprints. We all wear socks now and there are still smudges. We have tried shoes only and still smudges. What should I do? Can I fix this problem by doing …….What? Please give me some suggestions.

    1. this is why we recommend against gloss. Ask them to abrade the floor and recoat it with a matt finish

  56. Hi Ben, what an awesome website!
    I have used a drum sander in the past and read about some “exclusive” exceptions you have made, in some of your other posts. I just installed 2000sq ft of a beautiful engineered walnut. Im wondering if a drum sander would be too much since it feels not too rough as is, unfinished. Do you think an orbital sander with 3 grits, starting around 80 would be enough in this situation? Looking forward to your opinion.

  57. Hi Ben
    I’ve installed 2000sq ft unfinished walnut engineered hardwood floor and am about to start the sanding process. I have used drum sanders in the past but am wondering if its overkill on a product that seems relatively smooth to start with. Would an orbital sander, starting greater than 60gt be a better choice if its an unfinished/raw product?

    1. you’re crazy, get a pro to finish it. So many people spend a fortune on new flooring and sand it and finish it themselves. Baffled me, I would start with a finishing sander on 40g then 60, 100, 120. Hand held orbital round the edges

  58. Hi Ben

    I forgot to mention in my previous post, the floor sits on a Haro 2mm underlay(silent eco),

    Thanks again


  59. Hi Ben

    Not too sure if this went through before so I’m trying again.

    We’ve just had some Karelia Iak engineered flooring put down on our home in New Zealand. About 45 sq mtrs in living, hallway and entrance. We’ve had it floated rather than glued. Our hallway is quite uneven as is the entrance and I’m planning on having the installers back in soon to try and fix.

    My question is this-if it’s impossible to have completely flat and stable floors with the floating option, is this going to prevent us from having it refinished in the future? It’s about a 4mm thickness on top and we’ve been assured it can be sanded back at least 2-3 times. Would this still apply if it’s not all entirely flat and solid underfoot?
    Is it possible to sand floating floors that have these slight undulations? If so, it feels like a bit if a waste. The reason I invested in the floors in the first place was for their longevity.

    Any help sincerely appreciated.

    Great site too BTW.



  60. Hi Ben

    Great, informative website. We’ve just had some engineered oak floor laid in our home(floating) and for the most part but feels reasonably solid underfoot. The hallway, however, is quite uneven as is the entranceway. Full site is about 45 sq mtrs. I’m having the installers come back in to try and fix the unevenness next week.
    My question is this- when the time comes, will we be able to have the floor refinished/sanded? It has about a 4mm Oak top with the rest Spruce(Karelia Country Oak).
    Even if some slight unevenness remains, will it still be able to be sanded back when the time comes? I’m worried that we should have glued down thus eliminating any movement. I’ve been sold on the idea of engineered, one because it’s more cost effective, but two, it’s possible to refinish it and bring it back to a new state when needed.
    Does a slightly uneven floor discount this whole idea?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated

    Many thanks in advance

  61. Hi Ben.

    Great website! I wonder if I could pick your brain over a wood floor issue I’m struggling with… I currently have pre-finished engineered woods floors installed in the majority of the first floor of my house (roughly 1,500 sq ft worth of wood). The floor is about 9 years old, and after 9 years of dog nails and general wear and tear, it’s looking a little rough and I’d like to have the floors looking new again. We’re debating between sanding and re-finishing or ripping them out and installing new engineered wood floors altogether. I know that the cost to refinish is less than installing new floors, but I don’t really know how much less. And given some factors specific to my family, i am willing to spend a little more to reduce hassle and time. My factors are: my husband is OCD and cannot stand any kind of mess (i.e. the dust created from sanding) so I’m trying to cut down on mess. Secondly, I do not want to disrupt/relocate the whole family (including the dogs) for days while we’re waiting for a new stain and a new poly coat to dry. I’d much rather find a one day solution. So my questions are, realistically, what is the average cost difference/savings between refinishing or replacing? And what’s the average time it will take to sand, stain & refinish (including drying time) vs. rip out and re-install? Thanks in advance!

    1. new floor will be roughly double to triple the cost of refinishing. Lots of companies offer dust free sanding these days. I would recommend that. You won’t find a 1 days solution for this. Weather it’s fitting prefinished new, unfinished new then sanding and finishing, or just sanding and refinishing, its going to take a minimum of 3-4 days and up to 8-10 days. Get the floors refinished by a real pro, it will be the cheapest and best looking. Suffer short term for pleasure long term

  62. Hello and thank you in advance for your time and expertise. I have engineered hard wood floors and would love to change the color of them. I have been told that I cannot refinish these floors but after reading all of the comments here, I was wondering if you might have a professional in my area that you could connect me with to get more answers. Thank you very much!!

  63. I have bamboo laminate flooring in my kitchen. The color is to light for my liking. I would like to stain it to a grayish color. Do I just stain it and then sand lightly and put on a top coat. I’ve never done this before. Not sure what the process is or if it can be done.

    1. I wouldn’t recommend staining bamboo to be honest, if you are going to, at least test it in a cupboard or something, bamboo is not normal wood and it may not take stain very well.

  64. Moved into a house with pre engineered maple cinnamon that is extremely faded and scratched/beat up in some areas. The faded areas now match a natural maple. There were existing scratches when i moved in but now even more do to my moving furniture, normal wear/tear and my dogs. I have tried hardwood cleaners and “rejuvenating” wood flooring remedies but i am not pleased. Now i would like to extend the would flooring into the family room. I found a match but am concerned about spending the money on the new flooring and then not being able to fix the floors in the kitchen…i would like to avoid replacing the floors in the kitchen too. On a budget. Fyi – not all the floors are faded only certain areas….advice?? TIA

  65. Hi Ben.

    Thanks in advance for your reply. I have seen similar questions here already asked but I was not able to discern if the previous people asking have a new or old flooring. My question is with regards to re-painting or re-staining pre-engineered hard wood flooring.
    Some background: we recently bought a pre-construction condo (600 square feet). The unit is brand new and never lived in yet. Which means, the floor has no “wear and tear” as the unit is currently unoccupied. According to the builder, what we have is; blue ridge oak shale pre-finished engineered hard wood flooring in the entire condo except for the bathroom.
    Problem is, the colour is much lighter than what we preferred. My wife is not pleased.

    Question: it at all possible to paint over it with a much darker colour? If the answer is yes, do we need to sand it down or just painting over it is would be OK? Also, in terms of colour we prefer very dark but not quite ebony or black. What are your recommendations and what tools would you suggest?
    I believe we are quite handy and could do this ourselves as a DIY project before we move in at a cost of course. But if there are too many unknowns, we are certainly not opposed to getting a professional to take care of it. How long do you think it would this take given the size of out unit? We are simply weighing all options before moving in 5 weeks from today.
    Appreciate your response and advice. Please keep up the great work.

    B and K.

    1. Hello Bee, great question and I really hope you take my advice. Do not do this yourself. A floor that is the wrong colour is better than a floor that has been done badly. You don’t want to go to factory finish to amateur finish in a new home. If you shoot me a message in the “ask me a question” section, with your location, I could probably match you up to a local professional (i know hundreds of incredible finishers in the states)

  66. Hi Ben,

    I am trying to install hardwood in my 2nd floor and I am looking for something that’s not glossy my main concern is footprints,Any suggestions .
    Also I have Bruce hardwood floor butterscotch in my first floor and I would like to refinish it to a different color and also to a different finish to avoid footprints any suggestions on that also.Thanks in Advance

  67. Hi Ben,
    Great website and thanks for your help in advance.
    We are installing Pre-Finished Engineered Timber floor (Spotted Gum) in mat finish. But I really like the gloss finish look. Is it possible to polish the pre-finished floor boards again to get the gloss finish after installation? Any issues with applying a gloss polish on top of the existing mat finish? Please help. If possible, can you please recommend a product.

    1. contact the manufacturer and ask them what finish is on the boards, its important you don’t get an incompatibility issue, if its just lacquered, then I suggest you find out what products I use!

  68. Awesome website! I have fairly new engineered acacia wood flooring. Is there any way to make it less slippery. The floor is like an ice rink! Thanks!

    1. yes, normal lacquer has an average slip resistance but you can also get lacquers with added friction. Not sure if your floor will take just an over coat though, might need to sand off the old finish before applying added friction lacquer

  69. Hi Ben, I would like to thank you for the great knowledge you’re sharing. I had the same problem as Kimlyn from the comment section, my dog scratched the floor a little bit and your advice helped me a lot. I mean, there were some scratches, so I did a little bit of light sanding and it was all fine 🙂

  70. Hi Ben,
    Another Australian here. My builder has scratched my engineered floorboards a lot!!! spotted gum. There are areas of lippage in joins that the flooring company say are within tolerance(0.5mm). My builder is sanding the floorboards although I am not pleased about them having been sanded before they have any use and reducing opportunities for future sanding. The sanding will remove the lipping.
    What sort of coating do you recommend?
    Do you consider sanded floorboards second hand floorboards in that their life span… future sanding possibilities are reduced?

    1. Yes it does reduce the life of them and is a bit of a loss im afraid. As for what lacquers I recommend, I thoroughly hope you have downloaded my Free Ebook which will tell you just that!!

  71. hello how low of a grit can we start with for engineered hardwood 8mm? I’m using 60 now and it seems rough. Last thing I want to do is go to low thank you sir

  72. Hi Ben,
    I have oak engineered white oak flooring and have some quire big scratches. I have sanded the area down and applied maintenance wocca oil to find out its not sorted it out.
    Help required as now thinking of putting wocca master oil over the area to get the original finish as the floor was in wocca oil.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated as it looks awful now and trying to avoid replacing that section.

  73. Hello , I have a engineed hickory floor that has some scratches from moving the sofa and a few areas where the finish looks almost worn off. Nothing deep . It’s flat and level. It’s 9/16 and has what looks to be at least 1/8 of wood. questions do I need to use any type of wax or silicone remover on it before or during the sanding process? its clear do I need to take all the finish off before top coating ? And any sealer or just topcoat. Thinking of bona traffic hd

    1. bona traffic HD is a great product. I would use a sealer for sure. All the old finish does need to come off yes, that is if you want it to look good 🙂

  74. Hi, I have 3/8 engineered hardwood flooring with bevelled edges. I would like to at the very least screen and recoat (preferrably refinish) the floor. Can you give me any advice on how to sand or get the old finish out of the bevelled edges that sits in between the planks?

    1. just sand paper on your hands and knees, there are machines that can do it, but I don’t know what they are called or where to get them, sorry!

  75. Wow what a great informative and well laid out site! Ben I have eingeneerrd hardwood in my living room and the finish is peeling off on 3 of the boards, I called the builder but this type of flooring is now discontinued! Is it possible to only sand down and refinish the 3 boards where the finish is peeling? Thanks !

    1. Potentially, I know there are pros in the US that can do it, but I can’t do it and I doubt you could im afraid! (atleast not without making it look hideous)

  76. I have brand new engineered maple floors and I really don’t like the “hand scraped” look. I didn’t notice it on the sample. They were expensive and I wondered if they could be sanded to be relatively smooth and then refinished?? Please say “yes”!

      1. Yay! I was wondering the same thing. Mainly, because I’m buying a house that has engineered hardwood floor that I don’t love, but is pretty new (but has since been discontinued according to the current owner). There is also WAY too many flooring contrasts in this house, so I’m hoping to buy a hardwood that has the same plank size and then refinishing the whole house to match. I’m hoping this works, but fearful of the cost.

  77. We recently bought a house that has striped hard wood (it’s on a raised slab so we’re pretty sure it’s engineered hardwoods). The stripes are large light wood and dark wood. We feel it looks like a bowling alley and would like it to look more uniform. Would we be able to sand these and darken the lighter areas to match the darker ones?

    1. yes it is indeed, just put masking tape either side of the light boards and just stain within those tape lines, then pull up the tape and lacquer the whole floor.

  78. Hello Ben,
    Great website, thank you. I have just had a brand new engineered oak floor laid with a nude oak finish. The people who installed it also had plasterers, plumbers and various other services working on-site at the same time and did not protect the floor properly. It is now covered in smeary marks where dust and grime has been ground in as well as water marks and some nicks and scratches. My question is to what degree (if any) finely sanding and re-sealing the floor will affect its longevity (only so many times one can sand it) and will it really be as “good as new” ? I am particularly concerned about losing any definition to the slight bevelled edges (only about 1.5mm deep). Be grateful for any advice, thanks. Suzanne

    1. The size of that bevel will definitely reduce, to say the very least. I have sanded floors that were very flat and I started on either a 60 or even an 80 grit and managed to preserve the bevel mostly. However, usually floors are slightly uneven and need the usual 36 grit sanding to start.

      Engineered flooring can usually be sanded several times without issue. They can last 20 years no problem

  79. Hi.
    We moved into our newly built home about 8 months ago. We have engineered dark floors with slight wood grains/grooves in it.
    We later noticed that the workers must have wiped some product to clean up on the floor and have left wipe marks in places. Also our cat has thrown up in a few places and once wiped up with wet rag and then dried the throw up spot is still on the floor. Obviously the finish isn’t forgiving. Is there anything we can put on the floor to reseal it? Or do you think we should do something else??
    Thank you in advance!

    1. sounds like it has a hardwax oil finish on it, if it were polyurethane you wouldn’t be having these problems. Personally I would sand it and lacquer it with PU. It may be dark because of a stain so you may want to stain it, depends on the wood.

  80. Hi we moved into a house with a walnut finish engineered floor, which we find too dark. We have been told that we can sand it down and this will make it lighter then we can add a colour or varnish this – will this work? Also can you recommend a tool that we can we use to get into the joins as the edges are beveled? Many thanks Maria

    1. I am looking at buying a condo with engineered hardwood floor g, way to dark for my limo g.
      How do I lighten the colour it is about 1200sf?

      1. Hi Pam, you need to sand the old finish and stain off to get back to the clean bare wood. Then just lacquer it and that will be much lighter and more natural

  81. What a great website! Quick question… New construction and we just laid 1600 SF of engineered pre finished white oak. Kind of a walnut color. I love it all except the wood has gapped in places and what’s worse, there are pieces that are splintering up and I’m scared for my kids and their poor feet. Could cause serious injury! Almost like the boards were damaged during installation or something. Anyway – I plan on having the spots I can see puttied or filled – but not sure it will look great. And what if it keeps happening down the road. !?
    We haven’t moved in yet and I’ve started to consider having a clear lacquer or varnish put over the floors to seal in any future potential splintering. Is this a horrible idea? And can it be done for relatively cheap? We aren’t diy-ers so I’d have it professionally done. The flooring is shaw castlewood oak if you care to look it up. Color drawbridge. Thanks in advance for any help!

    1. call the manufacturer, ask them. Call and get a quote from a french polisher, they are magicians with this stuff, but they can be expensive, getting a quote would atleast get you some ideas

  82. Hi Ben , have recently laid European oak 190mm engineered floor trowel glued onto a ply substrate , I covered the floor boards but mistakenly used the wrong tape to stick down the floor covering and it has peeled up the German treffert polyurethane finish , which the manufactures say has had four coats . There is stripes left from the tape . What would be the best solution here , with a sand and re oat would they look close to the original again? Thanks, Luke

    1. sanding and lacquering would work, but maybe only buffing and coating would work.

      Duct Tape is known for solving lacquer and pulling it up, i understand your pain

  83. I have water damage on a few planks of my engineered wood FD floors. How can I repair this without replacing each plank?

    1. No, use a router or something to cut the damaged boards from the inside out so you don’t damage surrounding boards. Cut off the bottom of the groove in the tongue and groove on the new boards and drop them in

  84. Hi Ben,
    I have a pre finished parquet floor that had a whitewashed look to it. I rented a drum sander and took the finish down w 36 then 80 then 120. I wanted it to be & it is now unevenly worn looking by removing some of the original white color finish and now has light brown and white patches as I wanted – can I now use an oil based or water based white wash stain over the whole floor and then poly it 3 times w sanding in between the first 2 coats and finish w the third? What do you think?

    1. this is very ambitious for a DIY job. I personally don’t even use white wash products because they are too problematic. I think you are going to have some serious problems with this. I dunno what to say!

  85. Hey Ben I have engineered cheap would in the office the chair has taken off the finish I tried to touch up what a joke we are selling house need to make it look good help!

  86. Hi how do u go about resanding over a acrylic engerineerd floor? Hav had a floor sander say it’s really hard to get anything to stick to acrylic

  87. We have an engineered wood floor in good condition, but after 10 years it is now sun faded in parts, How would you suggest we can get it back to a uniform colour. The hard wood top layer is 3.5mm and has never been touched since it was laid

    1. sand it, definitely start on maximum 60, if you can start on 80 (test 80 first, if it is struggling to take the old finish off then drop to 60)

  88. Hi, We just bought a new condo with engineered bamboo flooring that is very light color. My wife hates it and I promised to do something. Can I lightly sand and then use a tinted polyurethane finish to make it darker. The floor is only 2 years old and in good shape – no obvious scratches or dings. She would like a medium oak color.

  89. HELP! I have engineered wood flooring that is covered in plaster dust. I have used a micro-fibre mop which has helped to a point but there are still white marks across the floor. Any ideas on how to remove the dust all together?

    Thanks in advance,

  90. Hi Ben

    Can you tell me if it’s possible to sand back a veneer floor and then oil it. It’s a dark reddish stain right now, which I don’t like.


    1. by veneer do you mean 1mm? if so then no, you can chemically strip it and then lightly sand it with a 120 or something. But I don’t know anything about that. French polishers know all about that stuff

  91. Hi Ben,

    I have a Hickory engineered wood floor. After three floods I have pulled up my floors three times in different sections. At this point, I have a dining room floor that has was put down originally and sealed with wax, even though I discovered afterward that it did not need to be sealed. I love the wax sheen. Now my living room floor was just put down again, and it adjoins the dining room but it is not waxed. It looks ridiculous because it clearly looks different than the dining. As I’m reading about finishing engineered wood floors, I am becoming more worried about having my floor buffed and waxed. I would have to buff and wax both floors to make them right – so for the dining room it would be its second time, and the living room its first. Is this okay or is it like sanding them, which can only be done once or twice in the life of the floors?

    Thanks so much for your help and availability. It is very kind of you!

  92. In 2006 I contracted with a flooring company to install in the kitchen, dining room and hall(500 s.f) glue down engineered 13/16 x6″ flat sawn grain micro leveled black in the bevel, character grade American cherry floor. Recently I called back the same company and asked them to do do the followings:
    1-install same floor in the living room , the family room and the bedroom. Approximately 600 sf of flooring; and 2-sand, stain and refinish the existing floor to match the new To eliminate scratches and some scuff marks.
    The flooring company informed me that they cannot match the new to the old unless they sand the old and the new, and then stain them to match.
    If we do that, we will lose the bevel which we do not want to do! Any thoughts! What should we do?

    1. They are right and its just an unfortunate position to be in, if you want it to blend, you have to sacrifice the bevel

  93. Hello Ben

    We are soon to move into a lovely Eco bungalow in Oxfordshire and the house has lovely hardwood bamboo floors throughout. However there is a sheen, sort of yellowy, that I would love to get sanded as I much prefer light brown and Matt finishes. Can you suggest a starting point and any specialists in the Oxfordshiremarea (approx 110m squared).

    Many thanks.
    Crona ps. Fantastic blog

  94. Hi Ben,
    congratulations on your very information and well organized site. I am considering how to bring the engineered wood floors (oak) in our apartment back to life. It’s a rented apartment. The floors were laid about 20-25 years ago when the attic in our apartment building was renovated to become an apartment. The floors are still very flat and the boards — with the exception of a spot near the entrance — are intact and firmly in place. I have a couple of questions. First, a bit of the surface wood has actually peeled off near the entrance, a patch about the size of a playing card, and other spots nearby are beginning to peel. The landlord suggested I just throw a carpet over it to cover it up.

    Question: Is it possible to fill these damaged sections with something to create an even surface and possibly prevent the damage from getting worse?

    Secondly, the floors appear to have been oiled when they were originally finished. But the landlord did nothing to maintain the floors since then. Must I sand the floors before oiling the floors again? Would a good buffing suffice or would I still see the light scratches in the floor afterward. In some places, there does appears to be wear in the grain – the lines in the grain are open, hard to describe without making it sound more dire than it is.

    Thing is, it’s not my floor and my landlord does not want it to be sanded. So, I’m wondering if there is a workaround to at least repair some of the damaged spots and apply a finish to get some of the sheen back in the floor.

    Cheers, Bill

    1. I find that just putting a new coat of oil over a really old tatty floor just shows up the imperfections even more. What I do with the peeling bits is snap them off, glue them back down in place, sand it then fill the cracks, usually this results in you not even being able to tell there was a problem there. Land lord doesn’t want it sanded because he’s scared 😛 Do you know how thick the real wood veneer is?

  95. Hi Ben, I have some oak engineered wood down, it’s brushed and UV oiled. It’s also smoked, so the colour isn’t your normal bright oak, but a dark walnut like colour. The problem I have is that it was laid down whilst building work was still going on, and the floor picked up all the plaster dust and paint dust. They didn’t cover it well enough. Now the floor looks terrible with white dust inbetween all the strains in the wood where it was brushed. I can’t get it out, I’ve used Bona, and Woca and still nothing. I thought I’d try and drop some oil ontop, but others advised that I’ll just be hiding the dust under the oil, and it’ll eventually show through again.
    Is sanding my last resort? if it is, what sanding type/technique do I need to not sand out the brushed look? Or do you know of any other way of washing it?
    Thanks for your help in advanced.

    1. I sorry to hear this, brushed smoked oak sounds absolutely amazing, infact if you could reply with a link to where you bought it that would be great.

      Unfortunately you have a serious problem, you will never get that effect again without replacing the floor. Any kind of sanding is going to flatten the surface removing the brushed look, the best thing you can then do is somehow rebrush it and oil it. There are wirebrushing powertools and even wirebrush drums to go on floor sanders but i don’t know much about this, I would speak to the manufacturer if I were you.

  96. Hello Ben,
    I just purchased a house which has engineered light color wood. It is in a very good shape, but I do not like the color. Can you please tell me the steps I need to do in order to change it to a darker color?
    Thank you very much.

    1. Try to identify the wood, if its beech or maple then you are going to have to use a colored finish. If its oak then just sand it and stain it as per the tutorials on this site, if it is beech or maple, resand the floor then use a colored finish

  97. Hi Ben. I have a light coloured engineered wood floor in the basement, possibly oak or maple. Had a bad water leak a few months ago resulting in two boards being severely cupped and many others with nasty brown stains. From reading your earlier comments I guess that the best option for the warped boards is to replace them. My question concerns the brown water marks – if I replace the warped boards then sand the whole floor can I expect that the brown marks will disappear, or are they likely to still be there (and is staining an option to hide them)?

    1. that sounds like it was pretty bad, water damage stains do often come out no guarantees. If you can get matching boards, I would replace as much as possible

  98. Hi, my living room has half prefinished parquet wood and half unfinished parquet. If I sand can I get a unified finish with the half prefinished wood? What is your choice of sander for this floor it’s roughly 645 sq ft

    1. Use a Lagler Hummel or Bona 10 inch sander, if you can get ahold of either of them, by sanding the whole floor it will definitely help to create a better matching finish

  99. I have engineered glue down wood with about 5 coats polyuthene on it. I had buff and coat to come in and the left brush marks and now poly has scrTched. Can this be removed and re coated ? or can I lay engineered floor over this wood . I am glued down on a concrete slab.

    1. Don’t lay down a new floor just sand it and relacquer it. Brush marks only usually appear with a coloured finish, don’t use coloured finishes! For that very reason

  100. Ben,

    I am looking to refinish my engineered maple hardwood floors after having had a large dog stay with me a few months which resulted in many dog nail scratches on my floors. Do you have experience with this sort of thing, and will sanding remove enough layer to remove the scratches?


    1. Yes! believe it or not, while those scratches look horrific they are probably not even half a millimetre deep. A single pass with 60 grit will completely remove them. All dents look way way way deeper than they actually are, bit of an optical illusion really

  101. Hello! I have an engineered beech wood floor, I had it fitted from new maybe 7 or 8 years ago. I recall the fitter saying I could probably get two if not three sand backs out of it.

    What type of sander should I use? I have a Bosch rotary model but not sure how big the footprint of the sander should be ideally.

    Also, what to use to coat it after the sanding?

    1. Hello Richard, you can indeed get as many as 3 sandings out of one engineered floor, but it all depends on the wear and damage of the floor and how thick the hardwood layer is. You are right its all about the size of the size of the contact area with the floor. If its too big it just won’t do any damage even if you put coarse grits on. If the floor is uneven at all then you will find it even harder. Most professional floor sander hire places rent out a 10 inch belt sander. This machine is a bit softer than others but still gets the job done, its perfect for DIY. As for what you should finish the floor with, I have written about that several times, look around the site and download my free ebook!

  102. I have maple engineered floor. Dog put some scratches in it. Toilet leaked under base board . Leaving some of the floor dull and a gray in between planks. Can we lightly sand it then stain the maple to it’s true color again?

    1. You don’t need to stain for sure, if you were going to attempt this, you would lightly sand the area by hand and apply some lacquer, not stain. BUT I have never successfully made this look good, you need to sand the floor im afraid.

    2. I’ve NEVER seen water darkening removed by sanding. ANY type wood. Time to learn how to remove strategically and replace sections to match in that area. Please tell me you have scraps. Stripping, chemically is easier done and gentler on floors, to its true wood self, low or no gloss urethane over, is my recommendation. Then scratches won’t be anything but character.

      1. LaNell, one of the purposes of this website is to battle the hoards of people that give advice with no clue what they are talking about. You said in another reply that you have sanded floors once and regretted it, and your only other experience is living in homes with wood in them. It would help if you thought about whether your advice might actually lead someone astray before giving it.

        I know it might sound harsh, but despite my website and youtube channel being around for 8 years, 80%+ of people end up following the advice of people, like you, who are just trying to help but end up hurting.

  103. Sorry one last question

    If you say it should be quick and easy as it’s new, How long roughly would it take to do ? (100m2 split amongst 5 spaces and a hall)

    So it’s just a quick sand and then varnish?

    Going to have to sort things quick so I’m trying to find out everything asap…

    Yes, it’s a total bummer. Was so looking forward to the floor at the end if a long flat renovation…



  104. Hi there

    Im looking for some pretty urgent advice.

    We just had brand new engineered floor fitted, and have realised that we made an error while choosing the model and we really don’t like the finish now. Disaster! It looks pink/salmon colour. We were expecting light ish faded brown range of colours. When we look at the example board I can see a bit of pinkyness to it now but it turns out to be one of the darker boards…we didn’t notice even when laying out a half dozen boards before fitting…It looks quite different once it is laid. Lesson learned. Go see a couple of metres fitted in a showroom, don’t buy just on seeing one or two planks people!!

    Anyway. It’s a lovely wide plank oak with a little bevel and lots of knots. 14 mm with 4mm oak. but the factory finish (water based varnish) seems to have this pink tinge to it. I know this as we took an offcut and sanded it by hand and the pink is gone. Back to woody oak colour.

    So we are thinking of right away sanding down the bare minimum (screening?) and refinishing and just letting all the wood be its natural colour. Possibly a touch of oak tinted varnish.

    However: will the boards change colour towards brown in time naturally? The fitters said it would but I’m not sure it’ll be enough.. but Maybe we could live with this.

    Or could we apply a new coat of coloured varnish to darken it away from salmon? But the pink is in the finish and will always be there.

    Or would it be best to bite the bullet and sand down now? We haven’t moved in yet so would be “easier”.

    The problem is that the building is 150 years old and floor wasn’t very level. The fitters used marble grit to level and fill the worst areas and fit is good but It bows up at the corners of the rooms.

    Also I guess we void the wood guarantee right away and lose the factory finish durability…

    Any advice (asap) is GREATLY appreciated. Your site and videos are great by the way. You seem like the guy to ask.


    1. Get a pro in to refinish it. I know thats a strange thing to say on this website, but its a new flat smooth surface, you really want it to be perfectly flat and smooth when its redone. Because its new and so fresh it shouos be cheap. Either that or have it relaid. What an awful predicament

      1. Hi thanks for the quick reply

        Yeah that’s what I thought you’d say…

        Ive noticed that Part of the pale color comes from the finish which seems in places milky white, which I am told by a friend is the remnants of the water based varnish. You can see it in the knots. Will this colour go away with time too as the varnish ages? Or is it now set by the factory hardening process?

        And how much does oak underneath typically darken in time? I know it depends on sunlight exposure but roughly speaking what can we expect?

        Thanks a lot!


  105. I have a 5 yr old engineered Big river timber floating floor, it originally had factory finishing lacquer which I did not like so the company that sold it to me advised that their sander would take off the factory finish and re coat it which I was happier with ,I recently had the same floor sanders to redo the floor they have buffed,it but it was peeling in places and I asked them not to continue with the sealing. They didnt know what to do to eliminate the peeling so I suggested they do some research as good thorough preparation is the key to a satifactory result I have since scraped the areas that were peeling with a paint scraper. The floor now has a smooth surface.I AM NOW DOING RESEARCH (back to front I know )My question is should the floor be re buffed now and lacquered or should it be completely sanded first The product they are planning to use in monothane semi gloss cork and timber finish bt urethane coatingsThese guys maintain that you cannot use a belt sander on engineered boards so I would not have them do it, I live in a rural location in Vic Another question Do you travel or can you recommend someone in Ballarat?I want the best finish possible as this was not a cheap floor and is a feature of my home The product the

    1. Hello Michele, we are having problems in the UK since the EU banned NMP, I’m afraid I can’t really comment without seeing the floor or knowing what was used. Sounds like it’s a little messed up at this point, so maybe sanding off the previous finish and starting again might be the best thing. It sounds like the company may be liable I would press them for answers. And I’m afraid I can’t recommend anyone in Australia, but that’s something I’m looking to do on this site in the future. Good luck Michele

  106. Hi Ben,
    I currently have a very light coloured engineered wood floor. All I wish to do is change the colour to a dark oak. My original plan was to hire the belt sander and remove the top layer of varnish or laquer( not sure) then apply 3 coats of dark oak floor varnish. Since all I want to achieve is a darker colour is it necessary to remove all the top coat with a floor sander or would it be acceptable to simply hand sand lightly to give the new varnish a key to adhere to?
    Thanks in advance

    1. Try to identify the wood because if it’s beech or maple it won’t take a stain very well. If it’s oak then go for it. I highly recommend against keying it and just putting a coloured finish on top, it always looks naff!

    2. I bought a house in SPITE of it’s dark flooring, multitude of dark kitchen cabinets. Hate hate hate it. For a multitude of reasons. But I plan to resell it while the dark wood trend is in. I’ve, past tense, both done machine sanding once and kicked myself for it.
      My most beautiful work ever since… chemically striping and clean up steps (orange pudding stuff)/finest grit hand go over/ hepa filter vacuuming.
      Then water based spar urethane finish.
      Natural oak, occasionally heart pine, always the easiest care. The most classic. Shows scratches (and they will happen) barely. No. Not a floor professional. Just the lady who has owned wood floor homes, and lived in them.
      P.S. If you need to quickly determine what type of wood, thickness of wood left, IF hardwood at all, take out a floor HVAC grate/register cover. Check under thresholds. Lift an edge of carpet, if that nasty stuff is there.

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