I bought 500 sq ft of used engineered hardwood flooring, about 7 inches wide. It is stained a very dark color and I'd like to sand off / remove the top layer to reveal the natural color. Any suggestions for sanding each board before laying the floor down?

  • You'd need to tell us more about the product.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 21:04

4 Answers 4



It may be hardwood but it most likely - 95%+ - engineered hardwood. First 7" is not common at all for pure hardwood and would cost a fortune. Second you almost never float pure hardwood.

So let's assume it is a nice engineered floor. The wear layer on these range between 1/32nd to a 1/4" and hardly any of them can be sanded, even once. So chances are you are going to sand, get beyond the veneer and quickly move to the "plywood" type wood underneath the wear layer. You will ruin the floor quickly - and you cannot fix it.


Make sure its not a veneer.

If it's nail-free and doesn't have any other embedded hard things maybe rent a planer

If it's not free of nails it will probably be easier to sand it after it's installed.

  • it is nail free, it's "floating" install, tongue and groove together. I do have a gigantic floor standing planer buried under stuff in the shed, I'm gonna give it a go! Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 4:29

Are you sure it’s “hardwood”? If it was nailed to a sub-base, the tongue edge would be fastened to the floor and extremely difficult to remove without breaking the “tongue” off.

I’d also check to see if there’s enough wood left from the tongue up to the surface…minus the depth of the dark stain you’re trying to remove. (Often the boards have been sanded in the past which reduces this dimension to an unacceptable height.)

Often a major problem with hardwood flooring is that it tends to move and squeak after it’s installed. In order to check this condition, you hold two pieces vertical and push one tongue into the other groove. Then hold one board and see if the other board falls to the floor. If so, the lumber is not satisfactory for hardwood flooring. I’d check several boards…about 1/4 the load.

For sanding, I’d install all the wood first, then sand so the edges are all level. (Sanding individual boards will create some boards to be thicker than other boards.)

Do all this testing in the room that it will be installed in…acclimate it for about 2-3 weeks.

  • Seems like the "factory" stain and there's more than enough thickness left to sand, something like 5mm. Im gonna try a few boards in a planer and report back, thanks! Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 4:32

I tested it in the planer, I only took off a tiny amount like 1/32 and it revealed the bare wood under beautifully! Now I only need to get new planer knives so it comes out super smooth, old knives are shot

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