Many times, we have arrived to an estimate only to discover the customer had either a laminate or engineered hardwood floor; both of which cannot be refinished. Here is a quick guide to discover what type of floor you have.
Laminate: The best way to describe laminate is that it is a high definition picture of hardwood floor and printed onto particle board. While some laminate looks beautiful, it is not real wood and cannot be refinished.
Engineered: Widely used in late 90's early 2000's construction, engineered hardwood floors are one of the greatest tricks to new home buyers. When you bought your house, you were told you have hardwoods throughout. And this is true with engineered floors, but not what you are thinking. Looking at the top picture, the upper layer of the flooring is actual hardwood but can be as thin as a 1/8". The problems that occur when trying to refinish engineered is that it is too thin and boards can be ruined instantly. Most professional flooring companies do not refinish engineered hardwoods due to this liability.
Solid Hardwood: Solid hardwood can be resanded and stained anywhere from 2-6 times throughout its life. Floors from the late 1800's are still be resanded to this day. They are more durable, timeless, and easier to maintain.
WHAT FLOOR TO I HAVE?
Go to an air vent in the floor and pull off the cover. Inspect the side of the wood. Is it solid all the way through? Do you see layers of wood (engineered). Or is it really thinand plastic-ey feeling (laminate).
A little prep work can save you a lot of time with future estimates and take away the surprise when you hear "we can't refinish these floors".