How to Care for Engineered Hardwood Floors: 11 Steps

Engineered hardwood is made from real wood underneath with a top layer of plywood or a bottom layer of hardwood. Equally durable to solid wood, engineered hardwood is a type of flooring that’s more specialized and designed to maintain its shape, connections, and function long-term.

Although easy-to-install and care for, this doesn’t mean there isn’t any care involved in engineering hardwood flooring. It can be damaged with things like scratches and stains. Prone to accumulating dirt and pet hair like other floor types, an engineered hardwood floor has got to be maintained properly over time to keep it looking its best.

Engineered hardwood flooring has no grooves or fibers for dirt and debris to hide in. Naturally, many may assume this to be a good thing and it’s not necessarily not. The thing is, this also provides no place for dust and dirt to disappear to. Anything on your floor will be obvious, for better or worse.

As long as you pay attention to your engineered hardwood flooring, they can be preserved in a great condition for a long time. Here is how to care for engineered hardwood floors:

1. Sweep your floors on a regular schedule

A simple step to caring for engineered hardwood floors is to use a broom. Sweep once a week. This will take care of any dirt, dust, pet hair, or other debris on the floor. For hallways and entranceways, sweeping regularly is a must as these areas are prone to lots of traffic.

2. Set up a floor mat at your doorways

Set up floor mats at your doorways. Encourage people to take off their shoes when entering your home. Doing both of these things will limit the dirt and debris brought in from outside and onto your engineered hardwood floor.

3. Use area rugs in high-traffic areas

Area rugs are a stylish piece of home décor, a functional accessory to the room, and can also protect the engineered hardwood flooring underneath.

Use rugs. They can catch spills, avoid stains, and in a high-traffic area such as a hallway or entranceway can help minimize dirt and debris from getting onto your floor and possibly leading to scratches. Avoid mats, rugs, or carpeting with latex or rubber backing as well. These materials can scratch.

4. Mop your engineered floors periodically

When your floor starts to look a little dull, it’s time to mop. You don’t have to mop as often as sweeping takes place. That said, mopping once every two weeks or once a month goes a long way in making your hardwood look vibrant, alive, and bright.

5. Use an engineered hardwood floor cleaner

You shouldn’t use any cleaning agent that isn’t specific to engineered hardwood floors. Harsh chemicals should be avoided at all costs. They aren’t necessary. You can do the same job with far less. Chemicals will only damage your floor. Apply cleaners with a rag, mop, or sponge.

6. What to avoid in cleaning engineered hardwood

Do not use any sort of ammonia-based cleaner, wax-based cleaners, or oil-based soaps. A steel wool brush or scouring pad should also never be used on an engineered hardwood floor. It’ll certainly damage it. Instead of these, use the appropriate cleaners and a microfiber cloth or microfiber mop.

7. Apply water after your cleaner

After you have applied an engineered hardwood floor cleaner, you want to minimize the risk of residue and eliminate any excess moisture. Start by rinsing the floor with a damp mop wet with water. Then, wipe down your floor with a clean towel. This will help the engineered hardwood bounce back.

8. Do not allow for sitting water

You never want sitting water on the floor. No puddles. No spills. No soaking cleaning solution. No pet urine. Nothing like this. When you mop, take this into account.

Keep it damp but not soaking and clean in sections to minimize exposure to wetness. Engineered hardwood floors are more water-resistant compared to solid hardwood but this doesn’t mean the moisture can’t get into the wood.

9. Do not use a steam cleaner

Do not use a steam cleaner at any time with engineered hardwood floors. Moisture is bad. Steaming a floor will cause damage and warping, like you probably already have guessed. Cleaning methods should not involve the use of steam.

10. Protect against dents and scratches

Unfortunately, every floor is prone to dents and scratches. There’s no such thing as a totally scratch-proof floor, especially with hardwood. When you run into scratches you don’t want apparent to guests, try a concealer.

A wood concealer fills in the color, seals it, prevents further scratching, and will keep moisture from seeping into the wood through that opening.

11. You can’t do any sanding and refinishing

Most engineered hardwood floor types cannot be sanded and refinished without causing damage. This is a key difference between solid and engineered hardwood. If you have an engineered hardwood floor, you’ll have to find other means to get your floor looking spectacular.