Engineered wood is indeed real timber. The only difference between solid and engineered wood is the construction of the planks. Unlike solid, which is one slab of genuine hardwood through the plank, engineered hardwood is a slab of top with layers combining wood and other materials placed in a crosswise position to provide more stability.
Both engineered wood and solid hardwood can be refinished; ¾” solid wood can be refinished 3 to 4 times over the lifetime of the wood, while engineered wood depends upon its thickness. It can be refinished anywhere from 1 to 3 times.
We’re pros on both the solid and engineered versions, and we install and repair luxury vinyl plank and laminate as well.
Yes, refinishing requires sanding and sometimes more. You may decide to change the hardwood color, so you only need a very light sanding and a new stain. Oftentimes, we find surface level scratches (only in the veneer of the polyurethane layers) and not the wood itself, that can be easily removed by sanding. If you have very deeply scratched floors, where scratches have penetrated the polyurethane layers and into the wood, that requires repair. If you have dark spots or see a lot of scratches and dents, if you have pet stains, water or moisture damage, a more thorough cleaning or repair may be in order.
While we understand wanting to save money, this isn’t always a good idea. DIY may cost you more money in the long-term because you can unintentionally damage your hardwood. One of the main tools used in hardwood refinishing is a sanding drum; this is a very heavy and powerful tool. If you keep it in one spot for too long, you can make a hole in the wood. Likewise, if you use the sander in a direction against the grain, you’ll end up with an uneven look and can ruin your floors and require new replacement.