One of the great things about engineered wood floors, is that they can easily be refurbished.Written by: Yarl Christie
How to Refurbish Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered wood floors are designed to look great for decades. However, over time wear and tear can start to leave them looking dull, tired, and damaged. One of the great things about engineered wood floors is that they can easily be refurbished.
Below you’ll discover the steps you’ll want to take if you are looking to restore your engineered wood floor and give it a fresh new look. With a little effort, it’s possible to save a fortune by refinishing your floor.
Clean Engineered Flooring
The first thing you’ll want to try is to give the floor a good clean. After all, there’s no point in sanding it down and refinishing it if you don’t have to.
If you don't regularly clean and maintain engineered wood floors properly then it can appear dull due to built up residue. Minor scratches and scuffs can also become noticeable. So, giving the floor a good clean can help to remove any built-up residue and potentially reduce or hide minor scratches.
Start by vacuuming the floor to remove dirt, dust and debris. You can then give it a damp mop using warm water. If this doesn’t help, add a wood-floor safe cleaner to the water. You’ll even be able to find wood restoring solutions for floors which can specifically help to protect, as well as enhance the look of the floor.
If this doesn’t work, you might want to consider buffing and polishing the floor. You can hire a buffer, then use a little polish on the floor as you buffer over it. This will provide the most significant improvement when it comes to cleaning engineered wood flooring.
Things to Consider
If your engineered wood floor is showing signs of damage, or if the above cleaning process didn’t work, it may need to be re-sanded and finished. However, before undertaking this task, there’s a few things you’ll need to keep in mind. These include:
- The wear layer of the floor
- The type of finish it has
Firstly, you’ll want to pay attention to the wear layer of your floor. The depth of this layer will impact whether the floor is suitable for re-sanding. Ideally, the floor should have a wear layer of at least 3mm, though 4mm to 6mm is better. The thicker the wear layer is, the more times it can be sanded down over its lifetime. The last thing you want to do is sand the floor down to the plywood layers.
The type of finish the floor has should also be taken into account. For example, if it boasts a Handscraped finish, sanding it down will remove the finish and you’ll find it extremely difficult to replicate.
Finally, if the floor is stained, you’ll find that it will likely alter in appearance as the floor is refinished. Unless you use the exact staining colour the manufacturer used, you’ll end up with two different coloured stains on the floor.
How to Sand Engineered Wood Planks
Ready to get started refurbishing your engineered wood floor? Keep in mind that sanding and refinishing a floor is not a quick and easy process.
It takes a lot of hard work and can prove too much for some people. For this reason, it may be worth looking into professional refinishing services.
You have two options when sanding an engineered wood floor. The first is to use a handheld sander, and the second is to hire a professional industrial sander. If you opt to hire one of the advanced sanders, we recommend getting a professional to handle the job for you.
If you do decide to go ahead and do it yourself, you’ll need a handheld orbital sander and approximately 60 grit sanding paper. You can then follow these steps to sand the floor:
Step 1: Remove skirting surrounds and if any planks are damaged, replace them before you begin. Knock in any nails, screws or protruding metal tacks.
Step 2: Begin in the corner of the room, moving the sander over the entire length of each plank. Remember to do this slowly and steadily while avoiding pressing it into the wood.
Step 3: Continue to sand down the entire floor, one plank at a time. Once finished, give it a vacuum to remove the dirt and debris that’s built-up throughout the process. Then, use a damp mop to pick up any remaining residue.
Step 4: After the floor has dried, you can then add on your chosen finish. Again, start at the corner of the room and follow the instructions on the exact finish you’ve selected.
It’s likely you’ll need to change the pad of the sander frequently throughout the process. So, make sure you have plenty of spares available.
You’ll also notice that after sanding, the floor has a very dull and colourless design. This is just the natural wood and its appearance will be enhanced once the finish has been applied.
While it is a somewhat straightforward process, there are a lot of things that could potentially go wrong when sanding and refinishing an engineered floor yourself. Therefore, we do recommend getting help from the professionals if you’ve never done it before. However, if you have the time, patience and know how, then doing it yourself could save you a small fortune.
Staining Engineered Hardwood Planks
Staining is an optional process that can help to enhance the aesthetics of the floor. While it is possible to stain a floor yourself, it certainly isn’t easy. There are a lot of variables which can negatively impact results. If it does go wrong, you will need to start over by once again sanding the floor down.
It is important to note that not all engineered floors are suitable for staining. Some species of wood are much harder to stain than others, such as maple and birch. This is because they are tight grained woods, making it difficult for the stain to settle evenly.
Another thing to be aware of, is that staining will show up any scratch marks left behind from the sander. So, if you took care of the sanding yourself rather than hiring a professional, you may be left with a lot of visible markings once the staining is complete.
If you do want to go ahead and stain your floor, you should consider hiring a professional. It is possible to do it by yourself, but the staining process is much different to other refinishing techniques. It can be a tricky process that is difficult to get right, even when you have years of experience. Hiring a professional will ensure you get the best results.
The general process to follow if you do want to do it yourself is…
Step 1: Ensure the room is well ventilated to eliminate any harmful fumes during the staining process.
Step 2: Make sure you have the proper equipment required such as a mask and buffer.
Step 3: Begin applying the stain with a buffer, starting at the wall. You could also use a lambswool applicator or a carpet pad.
Step 4: Use a rag to eliminate any excess product left behind.
Step 5: Continue to apply the stain in small sections at a time, being careful not to let the wet edges dry.
Step 6: Once complete, leave the stain to fully dry for 48-72 hours.
You may find it easier to apply the stain with somebody else there to help you. They can help to eliminate excess staining as you continue working on the rest of the floor. This will ensure a more even finish.
Finishing the Floor
After sanding the floor, you will need to apply either an oiled or a lacquered coating. This helps to protect the surface, while also enhancing its looks. Oiled floors produce a more natural look, while lacquered floors boast a glossier finish.
It is important to follow the instructions provided on the lacquer or oil product you have purchased. As a general guide, you will want to apply the finish in small sections. This will help to prevent it from bubbling. You will also find it easier to begin at the wall, applying it in line with the grains of the wood.
If you applied a glossy finish, you may want to lightly buffer the surface. Using 220 grit sandpaper, buff gently until the hard gloss has faded a little. Give it another coat of gloss and repeat the process before applying a final coat. Most engineered floors require three coats of finish to look their best.
Although finishing a floor is easier than staining it, you will always get the best results if you hire a professional to do it for you.
If you are thinking of replacing your floor then we have a large selection available. You can shop engineered flooring here.