How to Repair Engineered Flooring

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Things You'll Need

  • Engineered floor repair kit

  • Drill

  • Wood putty

  • Wood stain

  • Putty knife

  • Circular saw

  • Chisel

  • Hammer

  • Replacement boards

  • Epoxy adhesive

  • Floor sander

  • Stain

  • Urethane sealer


Check the manufacturer's instructions for your floor before sanding. Some engineered floors have a very thin layer of veneer that is not suitable for sanding.

Engineered floors are an economical alternative to solid hardwood flooring. They are made of a plywood or composite base topped with a thin layer of wood veneer. While the veneer can range in thickness depending on the quality of the flooring, most engineered products can be sanded and refinished to restore their appearance. There are also a number of other methods for repairing these floors, depending on the scope of damage and the type of flooring in use.

Fix Minor Problems

Step 1

Repair hollow or raised spots in the floor using an engineered wood repair kit. These problems occur when the glue fails to bond to the subfloor during installation, or when a single board is damaged by moisture or humidity. To use this kit, first drill a hole into the center of the damaged board. Use the kit to inject liquid adhesive through the hole so it reaches under the board. Hold the board in place with a heavy object until it dries, then patch the hole with wood putty.

Step 2

Fix surface scratches or gouges with wood putty and stain. Mix the putty and stain together by testing different combinations until you find the one that best matches your floor.

Step 3

Apply the stain and putty mix using a putty knife to fill damaged areas. Smooth out the patched area; then clean away excess material from around the scratch using a clean rag. Allow the putty to dry overnight before walking on it.

Replace Damaged Planks

Step 1

Use a circular saw to cut length-wise down the center of the plank. Be careful not to cut into the subfloor below.

Step 2

Chisel the wood out of the opening using a hammer and wood chisel. Work carefully to avoid damaging adjacent boards.

Step 3

Take a sample of the wood that you removed to a local flooring supplier and purchase a matching plank. Check with the floor's manufacturer or your installer if you are having trouble locating this product. You can also purchase an unfinished unit and stain it to match your floor before installing it.

Step 4

Examine the replacement board. You'll find a tongue connector along one edge and a groove on the other. Use your circular saw to remove the bottom portion of the groove connector. This will allow you to fit the board into the existing floor.

Step 5

Apply epoxy adhesive to the tongue and groove of the new plank. Add more adhesive to the bottom of the board if your floor is glued in place. Slide the tongue connector of the new board into the groove of the adjacent row, then press the board flat so that it fits into the opening.

Sand and Refinish

Step 1

Repair badly damaged floors by sanding and refinishing the entire surface. This process must be performed carefully, as the veneer on an engineered floor is relatively thin. Excessive sanding can ruin the floor by exposing the composite material below the veneer.

Step 2

Check the perimeter of your floor before sanding. You may need to remove the baseboards to do so. There should be a 1/4" to 1/2" expansion gap around the entire floor. Most warping or bowing in an engineered floor occurs because this gap has been omitted. If your floor does not have an expansion gap, use your circular saw to create one.

Step 3

Sand the entire surface carefully using an orbital sander. If you have never used this tool before, you may want to try a hand sander instead. You are much less likely to damage the floor when sanding by hand, though the process will take longer. Start with a medium-grit sandpaper and then repeat the process using a finer grit.

Step 4

Clean the floor to remove all sanding dust; then apply a stain to achieve the desired finish. Add a clear urethane seal coat once the floor is dry to help protect the surface. Install baseboards or molding around the room to cover the expansion gap and complete the project.

references & resources

Emily Beach

Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.