One of the key differences between solid hardwood floors and engineered hardwood floors is that solid floors can be refinished over-and-over again whereas engineered floors have certain limitations. If you’re trying to decide between buying solid or engineered wood floors because you want to have the option to refinish them, look for an engineered wood floor with a thick wear layer and choose one that can be installed with adhesive or nails.
The factors that determine whether you can refinish your engineered hardwood floors or not are the thickness of the wear layer, how the floor was installed and the current condition of the floors.
Engineered hardwood floors have a “wear layer” of solid hardwood over a solid core. The thickness varies and the refinishing process removes .75mm-1mm of wear layer.
Figure out the wear layer of your floors and do the math to determine if you can refinish them.
• A wear layer of 1mm or less means that your floor should not be refinished.
• An engineered hardwood floor with a wear layer of 2mm can be refinished 1-2 times.
• An engineered hardwood floor with a wear layer of 2.5mm can be refinished 2-3 times.
• An engineered hardwood floor with a wear layer of 4mm can be refinished 4-5 times.
• An engineered hardwood floor with a wear layer of 6mm can be refinished 6-8 times.
• An engineered hardwood floor with a wear layer of 8mm can be refinished 8-10 times.
Floating floors cannot be sanded, so only glued-in or nailed-down engineered wood floors can be refinished.
The better the condition of the floors, the easier it is to refinish engineered wood. If there are uneven areas due to dips in the subfloor, deep scratches or water damage, it may require repair prior to refinishing.