A question we get asked a lot and a concern a lot of people have is ‘can engineered wood floors be sanded’?

Generally speaking people’s knowledge is much better than even a few years ago regarding the difference between laminates and engineered flooring. Laminate flooring is, simply put, a photo of wood, sealed onto a hardboard backing; an engineered floor is a solid piece of wood glued onto a ply base layer.

Just to be clear we are talking about engineered wood flooring here!

Engineered flooring comes either pre-finished or has a finish applied on the bare timber once the floor has been laid. We can provide our customers with both pre-finished and custom finish options.

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Depending on where in the home the floor is laid and the amount of use the area has will depend on how long the floor looks good. Another important factor that often gets overlooked is how often the floor is cleaned. Cleaning with the recommended cleaner and not getting the wood too wet will keep the floor looking its best. For example, hallways and kitchens are often the areas that will begin to look shabby quickest.

Once the floor is past its best and no amount of cleaning can bring it back to life then the only alternative is to have the floor sanded and re-finished. This process removes all the old finish leaving the timber bare. Once the floor has been completely stripped it can then be stained if required and then sealed with a hard wax oil or lacquer.  This process completely transforms a room and if looked after properly, will last the homeowner for years to come.

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As a general rule every time a floor is sanded you will lose about 1mm of the surface. Sometimes this can be more depending on how badly the floor is marked or damaged.

Most engineered floors have a wear layer of between 3 and 6mm with a backing of 15-21 mm; on this basis if you are looking at sanding a floor with a 3 mm wear layer it can be sanded up to twice and if it has a 6 mm wear layer it can be sanded up to 4 times. We always recommend erring on the side of caution as the last thing you want to do is sand through the wear layer!  This also depends on who is sanding the floor, so let’s say a floor has been really badly sanded the wear layer will be reduced quicker and the life expectancy of the floor will be less.

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We always urge our customers to go for the thickest floor (wear layer) they can simply because the cost difference between a 3 mm and a 6 mm floor is not huge and the floor will theoretically last for a lot longer.

People are often put off by engineered wood flooring as they assume that it cannot be sanded as much as a solid wood floor. Assuming that both floors are tongue and grooved, which most floors are nowadays, then you can only sand down to the tongue (or just above it) so there is no discernible gain in the lifespan of a solid wood floor over an engineered floor.

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For any more help and advice please feel free to call us on 01962 733016, email info@alresfordinteriors.co.uk or pop into our workshop and we can get your flooring project off the ground today!