Engineered wood flooring is manufactured from layers of plywood, with a top layer of solid wood (lamella). It is a completely natural product, looks exactly like hardwood, but can better withstand changing ambient conditions as compared to solid wood.
While making a decision on the type of wood flooring, homeowners often ask if it is possible to sand and refinish engineered wood flooring. And as a matter of fact, the answer depends on how thick the top layer is.
Solid wood floors are manufactured from a single piece of wood. You can usually sand and refinish them multiple times, because such a floor usually has 0.25'' of wood above the tongue and groove. In the case of quality engineered flooring – its thickness may range from 0.11'' to 0.20'' above the tongue and groove. The thickness of this layer is a decisive factor, determining if and how often an engineered wood floor can be sanded and refinished.
All in all, in the case of normal wear and tear, wooden floors are usually expected to withstand sanding and coating even every 5 years or every 10 years, depending on whether you are striving to maintain a flawless finish or you don’t mind a certain amount of visible signs of ageing. A good quality engineered wood floor, which has a thick lamella (top layer) can be sanded and refinished the maximum of two or three times during its entire lifespan.
You always need to consider this if you’re investing in wooden flooring that needs to be there for long years. The fact that some solid wood floors can last a lifetime, with proper maintenance and care, while engineered wood floors can only be coated a limited number of times, can undoubtedly be a factor in your decision-making process.
To sum up, engineered wood flooring may be a very stable and appealing wood flooring option. However, if you like to have your floor in perfect condition all the time and expect heavy traffic, then you should probably go for solid wood.