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Originally posted 17th July 2019

Last updated 6th February 2023

Engineered Wood Flooring Maintenance and Repair

Engineered wood is becoming increasingly in demand as an alternative to solid wood flooring. This...

Paul Hambidge

Managing Director Factory Direct Flooring Ltd

7 min read
Written by Expert

Engineered wood is becoming increasingly in demand as an alternative to solid wood flooring. This is probably because it cleverly consists of a real wood layer on top of a multi-ply core, which offers the authenticity of real wood but with additional durability. Not only this, but it’s also incredibly easy to maintain, which is good news for all us lazy folk.

Once you’ve carefully chosen your new engineered wood flooring, you’ll want to help your new floor maintain its quality. Here are some top tips for caring for your new engineered flooring.

How To Care For Engineered Wood Floors

General advice for maintaining your engineered wood flooring includes keeping it regularly swept, clean, and dry. It’s recommended when sweeping to use either a hoover with a soft attachment or a soft broom to avoid marking your floors. When cleaning, a damp mop or cloth will suffice, as long as the flooring is completely dried afterwards. Because your floors have a real wood layer, be wary of excess moisture that will cause it to swell, so avoid using a steam mop and clean up any stains and spillages immediately.

The beauty of engineered wood flooring is that, due to its real wood layer and thickness, you can sand and refinish the floor if any notable damage comes to it. However, the sanding process will differ depending on whether your flooring is lacquered or oiled.

How To Care For Lacquered Floors

A lacquered floor has a slight sheen to it which protects your flooring from scrapes or scratches. It’s easy to clean and can be simply wiped clean with just a damp cloth or mop, as long as properly dried afterwards.

The problem with lacquer is that it can wear down, especially in high traffic areas. With any damage, or wear and tear, it’s recommended to sand and refinish the entire floor instead of just the one board. If you want your flooring to have that brand-new gleam, it’s suggested to sand and re-lacquer every few years. We offer cloth, cleaning spray and even lacquer and oil kits in our cleaning & maintenance for floors section.

How To Care For Oiled Floors

While lacquer provides a protective layer on top of your solid wood layer, the oil in oiled engineered soaks into the wood, meaning that your floor is less shielded from daily spillages. Therefore, oiled engineered wood will stain easier than lacquered unless spills are wiped up immediately.

With tough stains, such as red wine or coffee, it’s recommended to sand and re-oil boards. Luckily, unlike lacquered engineered wood, an oiled board can be replaced more easily. You can simply sand and re-oil the one offending board instead of the whole floor. As an extra tip, it’s suggested to apply a hard wax coating after installing an oiled engineered wood floor, to protect in advance against any mishaps.

Good quality flooring can transform the look of any home, making your property instantly elegant and welcoming. But once your new flooring has been installed, it's time to think about maintenance and exactly how you're going to go about making sure your floor stays as good as it looks now for years to come. There is a range of things that can mark or mar your floor so knowing when you should repair or renew your engineered wood flooring can be a bigger question than it first appears. To help you on your way to making your final decision we've taken a look at the different things that can happen to your floors, and how to fix them.

Can you get scratches out of engineered wood floors?

Wear and tear occurs in every corner of the home, whether you have a particularly busy household or not. This means that walls, windows, doors and yes, floors, all experience their fair share of knocks over the years. With floors, the most common form of wear and tear comes in the form of fine scratches caused by small stones, heeled shoes and the claws of pets.

As engineered wood floor has a veneer of solid wood, this means that it can be repaired - but only to an extent. For example, fine scratches in your engineered wood floor are easily repairable and only involve filling with a thin layer of putty or sanding a thin layer off the top of your flooring. Depending on the thickness of your veneer, this process can be repeated a few times.

How to repair a gouge in engineered wood floors

Gouges in your floor, which can be caused by heeled shoes, moving furniture and dragging other heavy items, are a much harder problem to solve. In these cases, it really does depend on the thickness of your veneer and the deepness of the gouge itself on whether you should repair or renew your flooring.

Some deeper holes can be filled in with putty but for gouges that run deep into the floor, it may be more cost-effective to simply replace the offending planks. This does mean that you will have to sand and refinish the entire floor, but this will result in a neat finish, rather than a sloppily filled in mark that continues to ruin the overall look of your engineered wood floor.

Fixing dents in engineered wood floors

As a dent in solid or engineered is simply a part of the wood that has become more tightly compressed than the other wood surrounding it, it is possible to undo the compression. Though it's not likely that your floor will look completely even, small dents can sometimes be remedied with a few simple steps.

How To Remove Dents From Engineered Floors

  • Applying a few drops of water to the dent
  • Cover with a cloth before using a hot iron to run over the offending area
  • Checking often to make sure the iron doesn't affect the floor in another way.

If this doesn't work and your engineered wood floor is suffering from several shallow dents then sanding and refinishing is the next option. If the dents are particularly deep, then replacing the dented boards is the best option.

How To Polish An Engineered Floor

One of the greatest things about engineered wood flooring, as well as its amazing visual appeal, is its hardwearing ability. This is, of course, provided you take care to maintain your engineered wood floor, which is why we're here to help. If you're thinking about polishing your engineered wood flooring then we've got the step by step guide to help you complete the task at hand without a hitch.

1. Make space for polishing

As with all big tasks that involve your floor-space, making sure you've cleared the room is key. Remove all the furniture if you can, as well as rugs and mats.

If you have anything that would typically hang on to your floor then we would recommend removing this from the room also. In the case of things like curtains, tie them up out of the way and leave them hanging up for the duration of the polishing process.

2. Clean floor for polishing

Next, it's time to prepare your floors before you begin polishing. Brushing, hoovering and mopping your floors is usually all you will need to do, but in some cases, floors may be ingrained with dirt which it is essential you remove before beginning polishing. Make sure too get into every corner that you can, and don't neglect to clean your skirting boards whilst you're there!

For those floors that require a little extra TLC, a wood floor cleaner should be sufficient to help you lift up extra grime. If you're in a rush to get ahead with your polishing then you can manually dry your floors after mopping them by using either a dry mop or cloth.

3. Polish your floor

Now it's time to actually begin the polishing process. We would advise starting at a corner first, and the furthest corner away from the door you will exit from. This means you can work steadily backwards and across the room until the last portion of the floor that requires polishing is the section directly in front of the door, which can be completed from outside the room.

  • The One-step Polishing Technique

Coat your applicator in a small, hand-sized amount of polish and then work steadily in arms-length sections with a further amount of hand-sized polish. Allow a small amount of overlap between sections as you move to make sure there are no missed spots.

Once you've coated your entire floor the only tool you now need is patience! Check the manufacturer's guidance on how long your polish will take to dry and leave it as long as you possibly can before walking on it, just to be safe.

  • The Two-Step Polishing Technique

Using the same starting point, apply the polish paste with a soft cloth to sections just over a metre in size. Once the waxed section of the floor has dried you will notice it turn white in colour, at which point it is suitable for buffing.

Using an electric floor buffer will be much easier - and much less exhausting! - than buffing by hand. Also, an electric floor buffer will keep the final look of your polished floor much more uniform in appearance.

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About the Author

Paul Hambidge, Managing Director

Paul has 32 years of flooring industry knowledge & experience from both an installation and manufacturing perspective. He started out as installer of very large commercial flooring projects for multiple retailers. As director of Factory Direct Flooring Ltd, he has been involved in all aspects of flooring and has worked with some of the largest producers of wood flooring, vinyl flooring and laminate floors.