Osborne Woodcare: Experts in sanding engineered wood floors

Engineered wood flooring is becoming more and more popular. As these floors age, clients regularly ask if sanding engineered wood flooring is possible. Some floor sanding contractors refuse to sand and refinish engineered flooring for fear of sanding through the hardwood wear layer to the ply substrate, but does this mean that it’s too risky to sand engineered flooring at all?

I should certainly hope not! Manufacturers sell this flooring with the assurance that “you can sand these floors 1-4 times.”

Sanding and refinishing engineered wood flooring

What is engineered wood flooring?

More importantly, how does it differ from solid wood flooring? Engineered wood flooring is simply structural plywood with a hardwood layer on the surface. Engineered flooring differs from solid wood flooring in the sense that it is much less liable to expansion and contraction due to humidity changes. The hardwood is prone to expand and contract. Manufacturers use the plywood substrate to stabilise the hardwood surface. It also means that engineered wood flooring uses much less of the slow-grown hardwood top layer than solid wood flooring, which is obviously beneficial for ecological reasons.

Flooring associations recommend engineered flooring for use with underfloor heating because of its stable properties.

What’s All The Fuss?

So why would floor sanding professionals be concerned about sanding engineered wood flooring? Well, the obvious concern is that you may sand through the hardwood layer into the ply. This is clearly a huge issue. However, I don’t think it’s as risky as it sounds. For one reason, most solid wood floors have 5-8 millimetres of hardwood above the tongue and groove anyway, just like engineered flooring. A solid wood floor sanded down to the tongue and groove is only good for ripping up and replacing. Meaning that the risk is the same when sanding engineered flooring and solid wood flooring.

We do come across quite a few floors that have a 3-4mm wear layer. This is where we need a little nuance. In order to sand a floor that has a 3-4mm wear layer, it must be flat. Often people think they have 3mm deep scratches but usually scratches in floors look much deeper than they really are and almost always come out. We have sanded quite a few floors with 3mm wear layers and have not had a problem. Sometimes it may be necessary to use a solvent based lacquer in order to prevent the wood from curling on very thin floors.

Osborne woodcare recently sanded a 2mm Pine veneer… Pine is very soft and tends to sand down much quicker than hardwoods, yet we understood the situation, changed our methods slightly and managed to create a beautiful finish.

Get in touch!

If you’re considering sanding engineered wood flooring, get in touch! We can provide you with a free on-site floor survey and provide you with a written no obligation quote. In all honesty, engineered wood flooring is our favourite work. So give us a call now! We serve homes, schools and businesses in Hertfordshire and North London.