Refinishing Engineered Hardwood Floors

Know the basics: when, why and how to refinish your hardwood floors.

If you have engineered hardwood floors or are considering a purchase, it helps to know a bit about refinishing. When should you refinish your engineered hardwood floors? How often is it needed? Here are answers to some of the questions you may have. 

How long does refinishing hardwood floors take?

Refinishing engineered hardwood floors is a dirty and time-consuming process, which typically takes at least three days. While you can do the work yourself, consider hiring a professional refinisher. But whether you do it yourself or hire someone else, first contact your local flooring retailer for more information about refinishing. 

How do you refinish hardwood floors?

There are two methods for refinishing hardwood floors.

Traditional Refinishing

This method of refinishing hardwood floors involves, first, drum sanding your floor to remove surface coatings, deep scratches and stains, and to level uneven areas. When done correctly, sanding will restore the species’ grain — one of the defining features of a hardwood floor. An industrial grade vacuum is then used to collect dust and particles from the sanding process. After the floor has been smoothed and thoroughly vacuumed, a polyurethane sealer is applied or, depending on your preference, a stain and sealer.

You can choose either an oil-based sealer or a water-based sealer. Both options have advantages and disadvantages. It’s best to talk to your refinisher or local retailer before choosing.

The entire process of refinishing hardwood floors by traditional methods takes place over a series of days to allow for curing and drying times. It may take up to a week before you can walk on the refinished floor.

Sandless Refinishing

Sandless refinishing (sometimes called dustless refinishing) is a relatively new alternative to the traditional method. This process involves scuffing the floor lightly with a sanding machine, then applying an etching chemical to the surface. After that, any minor damage to the hardwood floor is repaired before a new top coat is applied.

There are pros and cons to this method. Sandless refinishing takes about a day and is less expensive. On the other hand, no method is 100% dustless, and you’ll still find a small amount of dust settling in your home. Refinishing hardwood floors by this method is not recommended for very damaged floors.