Engineered wood flooring is made up of layers of plywood, over which a finishing layer of solid hardwood is applied. The great thing about engineered wood flooring is that it’s a completely natural product and looks just like the real thing, but is more able to withstand atmospheric and moisture changes than solid wood.
Whether or not it will be possible to sand and coat engineered wood flooring is a questions which is often asked by people in the process of deciding which type of wood flooring will suit them best. Put simply, the answer really depends upon the thickness of the top layer (or “wear” layer as it’s known in the trade) that is applied to the engineered wooden planks.
Solid wood flooring, as the name suggests, is made from a single piece of your selected timber. The sanding and coating of solid wood flooring is generally not an issue because it typically has a quarter of an inch (or just over 0.6cm) of wood above the tongue and groove. Good quality engineered flooring has anything between 1/8 and 3/16 of an inch (just over 0.3cm and just under 0.5cm) above the tongue and groove. It is the thickness of this layer which determines if and how often an engineered floor can be sanded and coated.
Generally speaking, it is reasonable to expect, with normal wear and tear, to want to sand and coat a wooden floor as often as every 5 years (if you’re looking to maintain a flawless finish), and every 10 years or so for people who don’t mind a bit of visible ageing. A good quality engineered wood floor, with a thick top (or wear) layer might be able to be sanded and coated two or three times (maximum) in its lifespan. This is something that must be taken into consideration if you’re investing in wooden flooring for the long term. Bearing in mind that some solid wood floors could last a lifetime with the right care and attention, the limited number of times you can sand and coat an engineered wood floor will no doubt impact on your decision-making process.
So, although engineered wood flooring is a really stable and attractive wood flooring option, if you are someone who likes their floor to be in pristine condition at all times and you anticipate heavy traffic, then there is possibly an argument for plumping for solid wood rather than engineered wood flooring.