How to Refinish Engineered Wood Floors

a living room with furniture, a fireplace, and wood floors
  • 72-120 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 270-400
What You'll Need
Floor fan
Orbital Floor Sander
Soap and Water
Glossy stain

Engineered wood floors look like hardwood flooring but are actually plywood with a wood veneer and other materials. The engineering process makes the floor sturdier than a natural wood floor and a little harder to refinish. The following gives you some ideas about how to refinish this type of flooring.

Step 1 - Get Started

Make sure the room is well ventilated when you are using the stain. Open a window and bring in a floor fan. Put on a respirator mask, safety goggles and gloves for extra safety. Then, remove any trim around the edges of the hardwood floor. If you see any nail heads on the surface of the floor you will need to hammer them down so the floor is nice and smooth.

Step 2 - Sand the Floor

floor sander on a wood floor

Use an orbital floor sander. These type of sanders can be found at your local tool rental place. Use sandpaper which has about a 60 grit. The corners of the room are the place to start your sanding. Use the sander with short strokes and in the direction that the floor boards were originally laid. Replace the sandpaper when the grit of the sandpaper becomes smooth. You will see that the shine will fade and the color of the floor disappears as you begin to see the bare wood of the floor.

Once you have done this you will need to go back over the floor areas that have stain still on them. Try to sand down to the bare wood for the best adhesion.

Step 3 - Clean and Stain the Floor

Clean the floor of all the dust and debris with a vacuum and then a mop. Dry thoroughly. Use rubber gloves when you are ready to start the staining. Begin at a wall and stain the floor in one section at a time. Apply the stain on the floor in the direction of the grain of the wood.

You should give the stain at least up to two minutes to soak into the wood. When the time is up, wipe the excess stain off with paper towels. Once you have finished staining the entire floor you should let it dry for at least 24 hours.

Step 4 - Apply Floor Gloss and Buff

applying stain to a wood floor

Once the stain has dried you are ready to apply the floor gloss. Once you have mixed the floor gloss well you can brush it on very gently. You don’t want any bubbles to form while you are doing this. Let this gloss dry another 24 hours.

Now that the gloss is dry you will want to buff the entire area to make the gloss look a little duller and on the milky side. Use 220-grit sandpaper, fold it in thirds and buff the entire area. Once you have buffed the floor you will then clean the floor of all the dust and then apply another coat of the gloss. Wait another 24 hours.

Repeat the sanding and buffing a third time and then apply another coat of gloss. This should finish your project.