cleaning engineered hardwood

Engineered Hardwood Flooring Care & Cleaning

By Maria Hernandez / August 17, 2021 / 72 Comments

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    After visiting countless websites and showrooms, you finally found the perfect flooring for your home, engineered hardwood. You love the color, the grain, the style, and everything else about it.

    Or, you thought you loved everything about it, until a few days later when you realized just how much dirt and dust it collects!

    Is it possible to keep these floors clean? Or will you spend every day (sometimes twice a day) sweeping the grime off your beautiful new floors?

    Yes, engineered hardwoods do collect dirt and debris. But so does every other type of flooring.

    Dust and dander can lurk in the grout between the tiles of a natural stone floor. And it can really hide out in the fibers of carpet.

    But on a wood floor, it is out in the open with nowhere to hide. So what do you do?

    First, recognize that it’s a good thing that dust, dirt, and other allergens cannot hide from you. And cleaning them up is especially helpful to anyone in your house who has allergies.

    Second, know that a simple sweep of the broom on a regular basis is really all you need to keep them in shape.  An occasional mop or deep cleaning is good for them, too, but you don’t have to do that too often.

    Here are some simple tips on how to clean your engineered hardwoods and keep them in shape.

    Supplies You Will Need:

    Things to Avoid Using:

    Steps to Take:

    1) First, for any species of engineered hardwoods, you should clean the dirt and debris on a regular basis. This routine cleaning involves sweeping or vacuuming up loose dirt, dust, pet dander, and other particles that collect on your floor.

    It is important to remove the loose debris from your floors because it can act as an abrasive and scratch up your flooring’s finish if left alone.

    You can either sweep it into a dustpan with a soft-bristled broom or use a lightweight vacuum.

    Avoid using a vacuum with a rotating bristle bar. Instead, use the floor-brush attachment if your vacuum has one.

    How regularly you need to sweep or vacuum depends on the amount of traffic your floors get.

    If you have children or pets (or both), you can expect your floors to get dirty often. You may need to clean your hardwood daily, or every couple of days.

    If your floors do not see a lot of traffic, then a weekly cleaning is enough.

    2) Secondly, run a damp mop across your floors periodically to pick up any particles that sweeping missed. Make sure the mop is damp and not soaking wet.

    Better yet, go with a hardwood steam mop.

    Engineered floors can handle more moisture than solid hardwoods. However, too much water can still damage them. And use a towel to dry up any remaining water once you have finished mopping.

    Mop weekly in high traffic areas. And mop once a month in areas that do not get much traffic.

    3) Occasionally, you should treat your floors to a deeper cleaning to remove the grime that builds up over time. Many engineered hardwood flooring manufacturers have cleaning products or kits that you can buy.

    You can also use a commercial cleaning product purchased from a local store or online. Just make sure that it specifically says it is for use on engineered hardwood flooring.

    Once you’ve selected your cleaner, you can use a mop to apply it to your floors. Either a rag mop or sponge mop works best.

    Wet your mop with the cleaner and then wring it out. Again, your mop should be damp, but not wet.

    Mop the floors first with the cleaning solution, and then a second time with fresh water to wash off the cleaning product.

    After you have mopped, wipe your floors with a clean, dry towel to remove any remaining moisture from them.

    Tips for Maintaining Your Engineered Hardwood Floors

    Hardwood flooring, especially the darker stains, tend to show every piece of dirt and dust on them.

    So, is there any way to keep them looking clean?  At least for a little while?

    This depends, of course, on your home and your family. If you have large dogs or small kids who run in and out of the house frequently, odds are your floors will be dirty more often than clean.

    But there are some ways to reduce the mess.

    Place rugs or mats at the exterior doors in your home to reduce the amount of moisture and dirt that gets inside.

    However, avoid rugs or doormats with a rubber backing. These can cause damage to your floors

    And encourage family members and guests to remove their shoes before entering the house.

    You can also place long runner rugs in your hallways and high traffic areas. These rugs can also help protect your floors against scratches.

    For added protection against scratches, place floor protectors under your furniture.

    Tricks for Minimizing Scratches and Marks on Your Floor

    If you do get a scratch in the floor, here’s a trick to minimize how noticeable it is:

    Rub a crayon that is the same color as the floor into the scratch to fill the gap. Then heat the spot up with a blow dryer and buff it with a soft cloth.

    If your floor tends to get white water spots, mineral spirits added to very fine steel wool pad will do the trick. Rub it gently in a circular motion to remove the water spots.

    Heel marks also come out with an extra-fine steel wool pad. In this case, add a small amount of wax and rub in a circular motion.

    A natural trick for making your floors shine is to clean them with tea.

    Steep two tea bags in boiling water then pour the mixture into a bucket. Wet a soft cloth in the tea and wring it out.

    (Remember, your cloth should be damp, not wet.)

    Then wipe down your engineered hardwoods with the damp cloth. The tannins in the tea will give your floors a beautiful sheen.

    And remember, always try to clean up a stain or spill on your engineered hardwood floor as soon as you notice it.

    Refinishing Engineered Hardwood Flooring

    At some point in the life of your floors, it may be time to refinish them. You can do this to erase the many dings and scratches.

    And yes, you can refinish engineered hardwood.

    The number of times you can refinish it depends on how thick its top veneer is. But you should be able to refinish it at least once.

    If the top layer is at least 3mm thick, then you can sand it down and refinish it in the same manner as solid hardwood. If it is 2mm or less, then scuff sand it with a buffer before applying a new finish.

    To keep your floors well-maintained, choose a tough, aluminum oxide finish,  and apply at least seven to 10 coats. This will help prevent future scratches, water damage, and other possible issues.

    Engineered hardwoods, like any other type of flooring, do require regular cleaning and some maintenance. And if you keep up with it, you can enjoy your floors for many years to come.


    What is engineered hardwood flooring?

    Engineered hardwood flooring is a hard wood flooring alternative made with both plywood and hardwood that are layered to achieve the final, vibrant look of the floors. This flooring type is durable, and with proper care and maintenance it can last for over 30 years.

    One of the best things about engineered hardwood floors is their unique appearance and the fact that they come in many shades, varieties, and finishes (high-gloss, semi-gloss, and matte). Although they aren’t as durable as vinyl, these floors can significantly increase the value of your home.

    What is the best thickness for engineered wood flooring?

    The thickness of engineered wood flooring ranges between 3/8” and ¾”. This flooring type is made of a superficial layer and several other layers that create the core. The thicker these layers are, the more durable and stable the flooring will be.

    In general, the thickness of the veneer (superficial layer) should be around 3/16”. The core can be made of as few as 3 or as many as 11 or more layers. The more layers it has, the thicker it will be. The thickness of the flooring will depend on the style and manufacturer you choose.

    How long does engineered hardwood last?

    Typically, this flooring type will last between 10 and 30 years in your home, depending on the frequency of foot traffic in the rooms where it’s installed, the flooring quality, maintenance, type of veneer, thickness, etc.

    If you want your engineered hardwood floors to last a long time, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions, avoid harsh cleaning products, and opt for a brand that offers a warranty for their products. Engineered hardwood floors aren’t usually resistant to scratches, so if that’s one of your top priorities, you should find an engineered hardwood floor with a scratch-resistant veneer.

    Do engineered wood floors scratch easily?

    Engineered wood floors aren’t scratch-resistant. Although their top coat is durable, it’s not 100% resistant to scratches, dents, and damage. Thankfully, there are different finishes for this flooring type, some of which are scratch-resistant and will be even more durable.
    If engineered wood is treated with a protective coat on top, it will be significantly more resistant to damage, but that doesn’t make it completely scratch-proof. In some cases, you might see minor scratches; however, you can learn how to fix them or turn to a professional for help.
    How much is engineered hardwood?
    The price of your new engineered hardwood floor will depend on the quality of the flooring, thickness, and manufacturer. Typically, these floors cost between $6 and $12 per square foot; however, if you opt for the highest-quality engineered hardwood floors, they will likely cost between $9 and $16 per square foot.

    When buying these floors, you should also consider the installation cost if you’re not planning on installing them yourself. The average price you can expect to pay for labor is around $3.50 per square foot.

    About Maria Hernandez

    Senior Floor Critic, 25 years of experience in residential and commercial cleaning

    Maria Hernandez has 25 years of experience in residential and commercial janitorial and cleaning services. From hardwood to carpet to marble floors, Maria has developed a deep expertise in cleaning and maintaining many different flooring types. Visit Website.

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