Just as a counter-possibility, MY own boss and I put a hardwood Parquet in
to our condo. Bottom floor (bottom above grade, that is) factory finished
, 500 Sq. Ft. Solid oak, but just 1/4" thick.
I liked the factory finish, but I wanted to seal the floor a little better
AND I wanted to fill all those voids between the little parquet pieces. Wit
h a reasonable amount of care and caution, I was able to scruff up that fac
tory finish (320-grit) and drop another 4 coats of HARCO High gloss poly on
We moved out, kept the condo and rented to new tenants 11 years later (by t
his time, the damned Low VOC coats had run through the stores.) Regardless
, I was able to, once again, refinish the floors, this time with a Satin.
I'm a hardwood guy, myself, BUT if refinishing later is the only fear keepi
ng you from going engineered, then I wouldn't think twice about finding a c
ompatible poly or varnish-- it might take a little bit of trial and error.
Buy more flooring now, put three or six 2x2' squares of the stuff in your
mud room or shop-- someplace with traffic & durability issues. Beat them up
over the winter, and then wash & sand lightly to test a few different QUA
LITY products for compatibility over the next winter. Quality products-- li
ke, NOT Minwax. (HARCO, ZAR, General, are my go-to polys; Unfortunately, B
en Moore's Oil Poly is now nearly impossible to find. Point is, look for t
he good stuff.)
Once you find your match(es) then you will be confident that you don't hav
e to sand ALL THE WAY DOWN to the lumber to be assured of your new coat sti
Definitely also make sure you try a couple of high gloss coats on your test
samples-- even if that's not the look you want, the high glosses are "pure
poly" where the semis & satins include other chemicals that act as deadene
rs and therefore can have a harder time gripping onto anything "other." If
you wind up refinishing, it's nothing to coat the first time in gloss for
the bite, and the second & third coats in the same company's satin for comp
I think this final point goes without saying, but just in case: AVOID the
Water based polys at ALL COSTS if you're going over an already factory fini
shed floor. Their coats aren't water based. Compatibility will be diffic
ult at BEST, and durability is trash. (6 coats water to three oil, general
ly speaking.) I hate Water based polys, period... but I won't talk anyone
out of them. Just understand that they're neither as HARD nor as DURABLE
(Two very different things) as an Oil, and that for a floor, those are the
two most important qualities in a coat.
Hope that helps someone, someday.