Are your engineered wood floors showing stains and scratches? Have it lost its luster? Do they not feel sturdy enough?
If so, you may need to start thinking about refinishing your engineered wood floors. Floor sanding and refinishing is the process of restoring your flooring close to how it used to be, or its original condition.
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Many homeowners are choosing to invest in engineered floors. However, they are apprehensive about getting their wood floors – engineered or natural – refinished. It’s easy to understand where their concerns are coming from.
The wood layer on floors only has a few millimeters thickness. Thus, when not handled properly and carefully, the floors can get damaged rather than restored.
If you’re thinking about sanding or refinishing your engineered wood floors, here are some tips we’ve prepared for you.
Know the Thickness of the Solid Wood
First and foremost, you need to determine the thickness of your wood veneer. Start by checking where your floors have been cut.
These areas could either be under the threshold strips, load-bearing posts or circling the radiator pipes.
Keep in mind that you need to know this vital information before refinishing your floors. Determining the thickness of your solid wood veneer allows you to know how much you can play with in terms of sanding.
Some veneers come with 1-millimeter thickness. Sanding and refinishing those engineered wood floors could spell disastrous.
Have Your Floors Been Sanded Before?
If your floors have been previously sanded, then naturally the wood veneer is thinner. The floors will most likely show inconsistencies; the damaged areas were probably sanded and refinished more aggressively than the other areas.
In other cases, only the damaged and dented boards are refinished and sanded. The other parts of the floors are not touched at all. This option is lower-cost and quick – that’s why many homeowners are choosing to go with it.
Also, engineered floors are more resistant to cupping. If the flooring gets warped or uneven, refinishing it could offset the benefits.
The Math of Refinishing and Sanding Floors
Generally speaking, refinishing floors removes up to 1 millimeter of the top layer. Flooring contractors use this yardstick to calculate the number of times they can refinish floors.
For example, an engineered floor with ¾-inch thickness can approximately be sanded about nine to ten times during its existence.
Here are some more general measurements if you’re considering refinishing your floors.
- .75 to 1 millimeter-thickness: not advisable to sand and refinish; can only be re-coated
- 2-millimeter-thick wear layer: sand and refinish up to two times only
- 3-millimeter-thick wear layer: sand and refinish up to three times only
- 4 to 6-millimeter-thick wear layer: sand and refinish up to six times only
If you’re not particularly sure about the thickness of the wear layer of your flooring, contact the flooring installation contractor that installed your floors.
How Much Damage Does Your Engineered Wood Floors Have?
The next consideration is knowing the level of distress your floors have gone through. You also must know what wood species it is. It would be helpful to know if the floors have a three-strip or plank effect. You can call a professional flooring contractor to determine this if you’re unsure.
If you have a three-strip flooring in poor condition, then the expense of replacing it is most likely not going to be that much more than refinishing the floor.
A professional flooring contractor can help you decide on whether you should replace or refinish your floors. Work with a local flooring company you know you can trust.
Choose a Finish
What finish product would you like to use on your floors? During the sanding and refinishing process, your contractor will need to know the answer to this question. If you’re not sure of your options, then the contractor can show you what they are.
Whether it’s the water-based or oil-based finish you wish to have, your flooring contractor can show you the pros and cons of each type.
Additionally, the type of finish you want dictates the type of machine and the sanding and refinishing skill of your flooring contractor.
An experienced contractor utilizes a belt sander that can evaluate the necessary factors in the sanding and refinishing process. This helps determine what grit level is best for your floors.