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.
To be fair, it’s an understandable question, you only have some 4 to 8 millimetres 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, its 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 extremely 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
Infact 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 realised 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.