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Can Pets and Hardwood Flooring Co-Exist?

By Crystal Hosking – Hosking Hardwood Flooring Inc.
© 2012, Copyright protected. All Rights Reserved

pets and hardwood flooringA new hardwood floor can add a lot of beauty and value to your home, but what are the chances this new floor will survive once introduced to your dog or cat? With accidents and rough housing, there are huge opportunities for your beloved pet to ruin your new investment. Ultimately, though, can it be done? Can pets and hardwood flooring co-exist peacefully?

The answer: yes. Millions of homeowners with pets are able to enjoy all the benefits of hardwood flooring without having to stress about man’s best friend destroying them. If you have ever owned a dog, you know the routine. Accidents happen, nails rip into fabrics or hard surfaces looking for traction, eating areas turn into disaster areas fast, etc. All of which can wreak havoc on a hardwood floor. The acid in animal urine or vomit can damage the finish and the wood floor boards. Large, active dogs with long, sharp nails digging into hardwood can cause scratches and dents. Spilled food or water, when left for extended periods of time, can seep into hardwood plank seams and lead to unsightly water damage.

The good news is that there are easy solutions to rectify these problems and keep your new hardwood floor looking its best. Having a smooth surface like Hardwood Flooring has actually makes the job of cleaning up after pets a lot easier than carpet, which can harbor a multitude of germs and urine that can go unnoticed and soak through the carpet into the pad making it difficult or impossible to remove.

Accidents can be prevented with proper training of your dog, and in the meantime training pads can be put down inside in places your dog is prone to having accidents. These training pads should have an absorbent surface and a plastic backing, preventing any liquids from traveling through the pad to the hardwood. If any accident on the hardwood does occur, make sure to clean it up right away.

To prevent scratches on your hardwood flooring, make sure your dog’s nails are routinely clipped and trimmed. This is especially important with larger breeds, as they will exert more pressure on the hardwood if they are running around or playing inside. Keep mats near doors leading to outside. It’s obviously a bit much to expect your dog to wipe it’s feet when entering your home, but the mat will help lessen the transfer of outside debris, which can also scratch your hardwood.

Some dogs are messier eaters than other, but most have a tendency to leave behind at least some sort of evidence that they’ve been there. Simple solutions include using a heavy, stable bowl for water to prevent spillage and having a durable, waterproof mat under food and water bowls to protect the hardwood underneath. Mats made of materials like rubber will also help to keep bowls from moving around, which could cause water spillage or scratching of the hardwood.

cats and hardwood flooringCats are seldom any problem with hardwood flooring as they are just too light to cause much damage at all due to nails. Accidents in terms of vomiting up their food or urination on hardwood, should obviously be cleaned up right away. Additionally, all of the above tips can also be applied (to a lesser degree) to your feline friend.

Millions of people already live with pets and hardwood floors just fine, it just takes a bit more care and a few preventative measures but, ultimately, you can keep both your pets and your beloved hardwood flooring with minimal stress.

 

The Best Hardwood Flooring Options for Homes with Dogs

Although no real hardwood floor is invincible, there are certain specifications you may want to keep in mind when it comes to choosing a hardwood floor for your pet friendly home.

Site Finished vs. Pre-finished Hardwood Flooring. When you opt for a prefinished hardwood floor, you're getting a major benefit over unfinished hardwood flooring, which is finished onsite—a harder, more durable finish. Most of the major manufacturers of hardwood flooring these days use an Aluminum Oxide finish. This includes minuscule flecks of aluminum oxide (which is what sand paper is made of) inserted into a layer of the finish, creating a stronger surface coating. Additionally, manufacturers are able to cure prefinished hardwood planks under UV lights, hardening the coats of finish even more. This gives prefinished hardwood flooring a bit of an edge over site finished flooring in the scratch department.

Coloring. The color of the new hardwood flooring won't prevent scratching from dogs' nails, but it will work in your favor to more easily hide scratches and dents. Lighter wood species with a fair amount of graining like oak has will have a tendency to camouflage scratches and dents, so they are a lot less noticeable than they would be on a wood species with little or no grain or a dark stained hardwood floor.

Surface Texture. Much like the coloring of your hardwood floor, surface texture can also help to hide scratches or dents caused by pets in your home. Handscraped flooring is becoming popular in homes across the nation for the warmth and character it adds to a room, but since the surface is already textured, appearance of scratches and dents become minimized as compared to those on a smooth surface hardwood floor. Click here to find our top surface textured hardwood flooring: Top Handscraped Collections.

Acrylic Impregnated Engineered Hardwood Flooring. To learn more about what a wear layer is click here: All About Wear Layers on Engineered Flooring. Most manufacturers offer a standard wear layer, as described in this All About Wear Layers article. There are, however, some manufacturers that go a step further in durability and offer wear layers that are Acrylic Impregnated. This basically means that all those pores you'd find in a standard wear layer of just wood are injected with an acrylic finish. When something heavy is dropped on a hardwood floor, a dent occurs because these natural pores of the wood are simply filled with air. When the pores are filled, as with the Acrylic Impregnated engineered flooring, there's no room in the pores for movement, so dents are severely minimized. You can find an acrylic impregnated wear layer with the Armstrong Performance Plus Lock & Fold engineered flooring.

Hardwood Wood Species. Different wood species used in the production of hardwood flooring offer different hardnesses. There are incredibly soft wood species, like American Cherry; and at the other end of the spectrum, there are incredibly hard wood species, like Brazilian Walnut. The hardness of a wood species will determine how drastic a dent will be if something hits the surface of the wood. The Janka Hardness Rating ranks each wood species on a scale and includes most wood species, both domestic and exotic. Because American Cherry is one of the softest wood species available, it's not recommended to be used in areas with heavier traffic (including areas where active pets may wander). We've found that natural Maple offers both a beneficial light color (as mentioned previously) and the hardness needed (1450 Janka Rating) to stand up to busy households with pets. Other light colored and hard wood species you may want to consider are Hickory or Amendoim.

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Web Page: Pets and Your Hardwood Flooring
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Overall Rating: 4.4 stars - 37 reviews

By:
Date: July 22, 2017
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
Since this is actually Goldies apartment (she allows me to live here as long as I continue paying the mortgage and HOA fees) I am grateful for the advice on how to find her the perfect wood floor. I will look for wire brushed maple. Thank you for such a great article.
By:
Date: April 19, 2017
Page Rating: (4.5/5)
Comments:
have two small older dogs and my carpet gets professionally steam cleaned every three months. Ironically I have hardwood in my kitchen and they never pee in there! So I am now going to do all hardwood. Thanks for the advice. Maple too!
By:
Date: February 13, 2017
Page Rating: (4.0/5)
Comments:
Good information, would be nice to see some pictures with exa8
By:
Date: December 28, 2016
Page Rating: (3.5/5)
Comments:
This is the most useful information i have found when searching for info on the best floor for pets when their claws are the problem...
By:
Date: December 11, 2016
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
Especially appreciated the comments about big dog nails and grain. I hadnt thought Id go toward a heavy grain. Now may do so...
By:
Date: September 4, 2016
Page Rating: (4.5/5)
Comments:
The article was very helpful. Thank you. I had to laugh at the comments due to the fact they were all in question form and it clearly states that you cannot reply to questions here.
By:
Date: July 26, 2016
Page Rating: (3.5/5)
Comments:
What if my dog is eating the hard wood floor. Dont ask how but they are how do i stop that?
By:
Date: June 30, 2016
Page Rating: (3.5/5)
Comments:
I was specifically seeking advice about solutions to cat vomit staining on hardwood flooring. I was quite disappointed that you could only suggest cleaning it up immediately. I work all day and that is not always possible. Is there a coating that can be applied to the floor to help avoid the absorbtion of these acidic enzymes?
By:
Date: June 15, 2016
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
How much does it cost to fix the wood floor damaged with dog scratch? 1500sqft
By:
Date: June 8, 2016
Page Rating: (4.0/5)
Comments:
Would love to know which are safest for animals -- i.e. slip factor. Which floors provide better footing to prevent hip and knee injuries?

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