I am looking to refinish or replace an existing wood floor. The previous owner says the floor is solid hardwood. A contractor came to look and said he thinks it is solid, too. However, we had a dishwasher leak, and where there was water, a "laminate" looking layer of the floor has curled up and away from the rest of one plank. I've checked the air registers and I can't see an edge of a plank anywhere on the floor. Is is possible for a solid wood floor to have a thin layer on top? Or is this engineered?

Curling up of top layer of floor plank

  • 1
    Use a oscillating saw to remove a section of the flooring under the dishwasher. No harm done and you will have your answer.
    – Kris
    Aug 10, 2020 at 21:18
  • 1
    Sounds like a great answer, @Kris, not a comment!
    – FreeMan
    Aug 10, 2020 at 21:42

3 Answers 3


Looks like a composite or engineered floor to me. That top layer will be 3mm or so thick and can be sanded once or twice if you don't go crazy with the sander.

Unfortunately most of these engineered floors do not fare well with moisture. Leave an offcut outside for a day or two and you'll see what I mean.


It could be "real" hardwood on top of "real" wood, meaning a hardwood (looks like oak in the picture) veneer on top of a less expensive real wood base, making it "solid wood", just not "solid hardwood". Flooring can be a semantics game...


Back in the olden days, hardwood furniture would sometimes use different hardwood veneers to embellish what would otherwise look "too plain" and unattractive.

But hardwood floors are typically designed to sustain abuse. Your floor could very well be some sort of engineered laminate. This could be a thin hardwood layer on top of softwood, plywood or even MDF (which hopefully it isn't in the case... especially for a kitchen floor).

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