Refinishing an Engineered Wood Floor
The difference between engineered wood and solid wood is in the way the planks are constructed. As we all know, solid wood flooring comes from trees and is sized into manageable floor board lengths before being chemically treated for water resistance. Engineered wood, however, is made by machine pressing several thin layers of wood together, which are then glued in place.
Engineered wood is available in various sizes and thickness and the thicker the wood the more expensive it will be. However, engineered wood still represents a cost effective option to real wood flooring.
But price is only one aspect of consideration. Many homeowners opt for engineered flooring for its flexible properties. For example, unlike solid wood, engineered wood can be laid over a concrete floor. This works because the ‘breathable’ fibres in natural wood allow the planks to expand and contract when the temperature in the room changes. Engineered flooring remains static, making it ideal for covering both concrete flooring and also in rooms that are prone to higher moisture and humidity levels such as bathrooms and kitchens.
The underneath layers of engineered wood are made of compressed wood (similar to laminates) and the top layer is exactly the same as in real wood. Because this is the case, engineered wood flooring can accept a variety of pre-treatments which solid wood is unable to absorb. Engineered planking is generally cut in longer pieces and is wider than solid wood boards, making them easier to lay.
For homeowners with engineered wood flooring the traditional sanding and refinishing is not an option when the floor needs a little TLC. There is, however, a method for refreshing engineered wood flooring and this runs along the lines of, but is not exactly the same as, refinishing hardwood floors sanding.
The refinishing process
If possible remove all skirting surrounds and repair or replace any damaged or missing boards. Use a hand-held orbital sander and an oblong-shaped pad with a 60 grit paper. Begin in any corner and over the sander along the board lengths in a slow and steady manner. You will require to change the pad several times depending upon the floor’s condition.
The veneer on engineered flooring is thin and delicate so avoid pressing the sander into the wood. Rather, pass the machine lightly across the floor, re-covering the same spot if necessary. When you have finished the floor will look fairly dulled and colourless with the natural state of the wood clearly visible. Don’t worry if there are stubborn spots and marks remaining on the planks, and do not make the mistake or redoing them because to over-sand here is to lose the ‘real’ part of your flooring, which will then require replacing those planks.
Your next job is to carefully vacuum the floor to remove all grit and dust particles. When this has been completed you can take a lightly moist mop or cloth and take it across the floor to gather up any residue missed by the vacuum. Wait until the floor is totally dry before carrying on to the next step.
When the floor is completely dry it is ready for the new top coat. If you are using woodstain (works very well with engineered wood and brings a richness of colour) begin at any wall end and brush the product on to the floor moving along with the grain. Always apply woodstain sparingly and mop up with pieces of kitchen roll as you go. You should give the floor at least 24 hours to completely dry.
Engineered wood flooring looks great when glossy, so the next step is to apply a floor gloss product on top of the dry woodstain. As before apply in small amounts and avoid bubbling. Wood gloss will also require 24 hours to dry fully.
For maximum effect all you need do now is to lightly buff the floor with a little sandpaper (220 grit). Buff just enough until the hard gloss shine has been reduced a little. Vacuum again and re-do the floor gloss. Normally an engineered wood flooring requires a total of three coats to look great.
If you need to discuss any aspect of your engineered wood flooring before beginning the process then take advantage of a no obligation quotation and flooring assessment from a specialist wood floor company.