How Many Times Can You Sand and Refinish an Engineered Wood Floor?

When an engineered wood floor has lost its luster and is showing deep scratches and stains, you might start thinking about refinishing, the process of restoring a floor close to its original condition. During the sanding process, a thin layer of flooring that usually contains the scratches and dents is removed. A finishing coat is then applied to restore the sheen. The question we hear often is, can you refinish an engineered wood floor? The answer is you probably can, but it largely depends on the wear layer.

The Exceptions

First, it’s important to point out that most people will not refinish their floors. Instead, often just the dented boards are removed and replaced. This is a lower-cost, quicker option and ideal for floors that have damage isolated to a few boards. Also, while engineered wood is much less susceptible to cupping, if the floor is uneven and warped, the risk of refinishing could far outweigh the benefits.

Doing the Math

The average refinish removes about .75 to 1mm of the floor’s surface. We use this benchmark as a way to calculate the approximate number of times a floor can be refinished. A ¾” tongue-and-groove solid hardwood floor can be refinished about 10 times during its lifespan. With an engineered hardwood floor, that number won’t be as high.

The wear layer is the top solid part of an engineered hardwood floor that will wear away as your floor ages. It is the only re-sandable part of a floor—sand past the wear layer, and you get to the plywood core. Most wear layers on today’s engineered hardwood floors vary between .5 to 6mm. A thicker wear layer means your floor can be sanded and refinished more often, increasing the lifespan of the floor.

Here are the general guidelines to keep in mind:

  • .5 to 1mm wear layer: cannot be sanded and refinished; only recoated with a layer of urethane.
  • 2mm wear layer: can be sanded and refinished 1 to 2 times.
  • 3mm wear layer: can be sanded and refinished 2 to 3 times.
  • 4 to 6 mm wear layer: can be sanded and refinished 3 to 6 times.

If you are not sure about the wear layer of a floor you’ve purchased from us, give us a call. We offer many options of engineered hardwood flooring with thicker wear layers that will help to extend the lifespan of your floor.