Refinishing Engineered Wood Floors Without Sanding: Pros and Cons

When deciding what type of wood is best for your house floor design, the option frequently hinges on the available wood type.

Wood floorings are more widely used in the homes of four-season countries. Wood floors will provide warmth in the house when the cold season arrives. 

Engineered wood floors are a type of processed wood with multi-layer technology. Unfortunately, most of these types of flooring cannot be refinished.

Some can be refinished only once or twice. In comparison, others use refinishing engineered wood floors without sanding techniques.

Understanding Engineered Wood Floors

Engineered wood flooring looks like hardwood, but it is plywood with layers of wood and other materials.

The engineering process makes the floor sturdier than natural wood flooring and slightly more difficult to polish.

Since engineered floors can be maintained with only a limited number of working procedures, better models can be repaired over a long period.

There are 3 types of basic materials in engineered wood floors, include:

  • The first layer is solid wood (veneer) with various patterns.
  • The second layer is made of plywood/multiplex.
  • The third layer is made of low-quality solid wood.

Pros and Cons Refinishing Engineered Wood Floors Without Sanding

Engineered wood floors are quite popular in the market. This type of wood floor quality is quite good because it is made of real wood.

When it comes to refinishing engineered wood floors without sanding, what are the pros and cons?


  • Overall, engineered wood floors have pretty good elasticity, so they’re not easily torn or broken, even without sanding.
  • It is suitable to be painted using water-based paint and a primer for a more elegant look.
  • The installation process is quite easy and doesn’t take long.
  • The price is fairly affordable.


  • It’s a risk to refinish engineered wood floors, unlike solid ones. This is because engineered wood floors have thick layers of veneer.
  • If the surface of the engineered floor is damaged, it cannot be repaired, even with refinishing and sanding.
  • Refinishing without sanding the surface of the engineered floor will sound squeaky.
  • One downside of sandless floor refinishing is that it doesn’t allow for a color change. The process doesn’t strip away the existing polyurethane coating, making it impossible to stain or refinish with a different shade.
  • If you want to alter the hue of your hardwood floors, traditional sanding is necessary to enable the stain to seep into the wood fibers.

Things to Consider Before Refinishing Wood Floor Without Sanding

In refinishing a wood floor without the sanding process, 2 things must be considered:

  • The uniformity of paint for a large surface area of ​​wooden floors.
  • Paint resistance to scratches.

Things to look for:

  • Paint type— The best and most widely used wood floor paint is solvent- and water-based polyurethane.
  • Color— Choosing the right color for floorings will provide a more comfortable atmosphere.
  • The gloss level or light reflection— There are several choices of gloss effect, mainly high gloss, semi-gloss, satin, and matte. High gloss shows the maximum level of light reflection, while matte shows a low light reflection.
  • The use of sealers— Sealers or fillers have several different functions. In general, sealers are used to seal the wood grain, indentations, or holes that are large enough in the wood that causes an untidy appearance. 

Different Methods to Refinish Engineered Wood Floors Without Sanding

There are other ways of refinishing engineered wood floors without sanding. It can be done in between 4 to 7 years.

Not all engineered wood floors can be refinished, depending on the thickness of the veneer layers. However, in most cases, most types of wood floors are coated so that the top layer can last a very long time.

In addition, refinishing engineered wood floors without sanding can only be done if the layer is not lower than 2 mm in thickness.

Usually, the finished part is done when all the wood floor installation processes are finished.

Then, followed by glazing and sanding processes. Since finishing is an important process to beautify and smooth the surface of wood floors.

On the other hand, a coating can be done without sanding as a protective layer that provides many benefits for the wood floors.

Mainly the type of coating used on wooden floors is UV coating. This coating material is dried, so the floor’s surface has a better hardness.

Specifically, engineered wood floors go through a six-layer coating process. The coating process aims to provide maximum wood protection. So, in the final coating process, engineered wood sheets go through a UV curing process, mainly coating with UV light.

This process aims to make the surface of the wood smoother so that stains will be difficult to stick. It will also be free of wood dust, scratch resistant, odorless, and non-flammable. 

There is no special maintenance required to make engineered wood more beautiful. Engineered wood floors are cleaned with a regular mop. Use a damp, not dripping wet mop to clean engineered hardwood floors.

What is sandless floor finishing?

Sandless floor refinishing is a great way to give your hardwood floors a fresh look without having to go through the hassle of sanding.

The process is simple and involves using an abrasive disk to buff the surface, removing any build-up with mineral spirits, and then sealing it with a clear coat.

This method is perfect for fixing minor wear and tear, removing dull wax, cleaning up paint splatters, and taking care of some stains.

Just remember that it won’t do much for deeper issues like scratches, dents, and stains that have penetrated the wood itself.

It also does not change the color of the floor as it does not remove the floor’s polyurethane finish.

Refinishing engineered wood floors with or without sanding

Refinishing your engineered wood floors is a smart and budget-friendly way to improve their look, especially if they have just a few signs of wear and tear.

The sandless approach is ideal for those on a tight budget or thin floorboards that have been sanded too much since it takes less time and effort compared to traditional sanding.

However, if your solid wood floors have deep scratches or stains or your engineered wood has a thick top layer, a full sanding and refinish would be the better choice.

For those with an older laminate floor, chemical sandless refinishing is your best bet.

Remember that sandless refinishing is unsuitable for solid wood and won’t fix any cupping or crowning issues.

To see if your floor has a thin veneer or has been over-sanded, check the cross-section of the wood or try pressing the edges of a floorboard.

When Is Sanding the Best Refinishing Method for Wood Floors?

If your floor has a wax finish, chemicals that prevent a new finish from bonding, deep scratches, dents, worn away finish, flaking finish, high traffic areas, water damage, or pet stains, sanding is the best way to achieve a clean and flawless new finish.

Simply adding a new finish will not hide or remove these imperfections. Sanding is necessary to remove these unsightly stains and prepare the surface for a new finish.

How much does sanding and refinishing engineered wood floors cost?

Refinishing engineered wood floors costs around $500 for 275 square feet, with the average cost ranging from $1,000 to $2,400.

This includes renting equipment and buying sanding pads, stains, brushes, and finishes. Refinishing is usually cheaper than replacing hardwood floors, which can cost anywhere from $2,400 to $6,000, depending on the size of the space, type of wood, and labor cost.

Flooring professionals typically charge $3 to $8 per square foot, with up to 80% of the final cost going toward labor.

How to choose engineered wood flooring that can be easily refinished?

When shopping for engineered hardwood flooring, it’s smart to make sure it’s simple to refinish.

This can be achieved by selecting a wire brushing or light hand scraping process, ensuring the veneer is at least 3 millimeters thick, opting for a polyurethane or oil finish, and choosing a tough and durable wood species.

You’ll be able to refinish your engineered hardwood floor easily if you keep these suggestions in mind, giving your home a magnificent and long-lasting appearance.

How to change the wood floor’s color without sanding

Before you change the color of your wood floors, you should think about the species and color of the wood you already have.

Some woods are better suited for stains and glaze than others. For example, dark-engineered wood flooring may be difficult to make lighter. If you want to change the color in the future, opt for lighter wood.

One option for changing the color without sanding is to use a glaze. This method works best for engineered hardwood floors with a thin veneer.

However, remember that glazes can wear off over time and may not be as long-lasting as sanding and refinishing.

When using a glaze, prepare the floor and choose a glaze that complements the current wood and finish. Adding a clear finish can also help extend the life of the glaze.

Is it possible to restore the hardwood floors without sanding?

You don’t have to sand your hardwood floors to repair them. This method is a great alternative, especially if your floors are not significantly damaged or stained. The most common method of restoring hardwood floors without sanding is buffing and recoating.

To do this, you must first ensure the previous finish wasn’t wax. You’d need to use a buffing machine to remove it if it was. Next, clear the room of furniture and clean the floors with a commercial wood cleaner.

Abrade the floors with a buffing machine or by hand, vacuum with soft bristles, and apply the finish or lacquer. Allow a few days for the finish to fully cure before relocating your furniture.