Repair & Care
Refinishing Engineered Hardwood Floors
Refinishing engineered floors is the most difficult of all finishing applications due to the thickness of the hardwood wear or veneer layer. Fortunately some of the newer products today will allow more than one complete refinishing. This procedure should only be considered by a seasoned professional familiar with the application. On the other hand, finding someone willing to refinish your engineered floors may prove to be a daunting task. Many want nothing to do with it, fearing they may sand through the wear layer.
For a better understanding of the wear layer, check our page that details the characteristics of engineered hardwood floors.
Thin Wear Layers - Common Engineered Floors
Those with thin wear layers can be screened and coated to improve the appearance, if wear of the original finish is an issue. Removing scratches with these types is not possible and replacement becomes necessary. Another key in determining whether or not your engineered floor can be refinished is the condition of the subfloor. If it was installed without attention to proper floor preparation, or there are considerable high and low areas throughout, the finishing equipment will remove more material opposed to a floor that is very flat.
Higher Quality Engineered - Thick Wear Layers
Any quality engineered product with a thick wear or veneer layer, can be successfully refinished at least two times, possibly more. However this will depend on the workmanship, finisher knowledge, and the overall flatness of the floor itself.
As with any type of refinishing the dust factor will depend on the people doing the actual work. I find some folks impressed with lower bids for their jobs, discover after completion, the contractor didn't place much care on what the condition of the jobsite would be during and after the project. There are methods for controlling dust. Some will, and some will not place the care one would expect. Protecting areas from dust is important before and during this procedure.
How Long Will It Take?¹
Based on a 400 square foot example, any water based finishes used will usually take two working days, but depends on the number of finish coats applied. With oil based finishes three working days may be required. Water base finishes will cure quicker than oil. When to move furniture back can be better determined by the finisher. Placement of area rugs should be postponed until the finishes have cured properly. If in doubt consult with your floor finisher as he is more aware of conditions that can affect total curing time.
Any Allergies To Be Concerned With?
Much will depend on the professionalism of the one doing the work. Some will pay strict attention to dust control, while others may not. It's best to discuss with potential candidates how they plan on handling jobsite dust. Water based finishes are more friendly over oil based and other types, not only for the environment but the customer as well. Depending on how sensitive one is to any types of finish or dust, staying away may be the best option during the procedures.
¹ Examples are based on an empty room ready to go.