Are you planning to install a hardwood floor in your home but worried about scratches from your dog claws? No big deal, your dreams are valid, as long as you consider the right type of hardwood floors for dogs alongside few care and maintenance measures. While most people think that wood floors and dogs do not mix, in this guide, let us enlighten you how furry friends and hardwood floors can co-exist.
First of all, it is a matter of fact that most hardwood floors will dent and get scratched over time. What we don’t know is when and how. Pets such as dogs are always a problem to hardwood floors. If not dealing with scratches, you will be dealing with pet mess such as dog urine stains in hardwood floors. Regardless, that should not be a reason for not having an elegant home accentuated with a wooden floor.
There are different types of flooring woods, some can take a better beating and last long unlike others. Here are the dos and don’ts when choosing the best type of hardwood flooring for dogs.
1. Go for super hard species of wood
These are types of wood rated higher on janka hardness scale. They are resistant to dents, scratches and general wear and tear. They have stronger graining texture, universally dense and hard thus excellent for masking scratches. Such woods include the following:
Hard maple also known as sugar or rock maple is one of the hardest wood flooring that can withstand scratches and scuff marks. The wood has a higher janka rating of 1450 or more thus ideal for areas with high traffic. This type of flooring is commonly used as surface for most basketball courts.
Also called Ipe, this is one of the hardest hardwood flooring in the world. To prevent dog scratches on hardwood floors, go for Brazilian Cherry which has a janka rating of 2350 or Brazilian walnut with rating of 3684 respectively. These wood species are commonly used on exterior decks due to their toughness.
Oak has stronger graining and best at hiding scratches and dents than even Brazilian Cherry and Brazilian Walnut. There are two types, the red oak and white oak. Red oak with jank rating of 1290 is the strongest than the white.
This is another type of hardwood that has a stronger graining. On the hardness scale, it outranks even oak. The hardness of this wood species makes it highly resistant to marring. It also known to hold stains better than any other type of wood.
2. Avoid soft wood
Soft woods are beautiful although not a choice for homes with pets. Their soft nature makes them to scratch and dent easily. Commonly used soft wood species for flooring include the following:
- American Cherry
- American Walnut
- Pine, fir, Cider
- Carbonized bamboo
Soft wood floors are expensive to install and maintain as compared to solid hardwood floors. Avoiding them will also save you a lot of cash.
3. Go for solid hardwood floors unlike engineered hardwood
In terms of quality and durability, solid hardwood floors perform better than engineered ones. While solid hardwood floors have unlimited number of sanding, engineered hardwood floors are limited to only few. It is therefore easy to sand and refinish a solid hardwood floor to remove dents and scratches as many times as you wish.
4. Use distressed wood
This is a stylized wood through hand scrapping or natural marks. While some people doesn’t have a taste for it, it can be the best option for pet owners. Distressed wood bears marks that naturally blends with most dents and marks thus help in camouflaging imperfections.
5. Consider bamboo
Although bamboo is not a wood species, it is classified as one in flooring industry. The hard resins of bamboo makes it a strong and durable flooring material. It has a higher janka rating of upto 5,000. While this is something good to hear, not all bamboo types are suitable for homes with pets.
Avoid caramelized or carbonized bamboo since their grass has been weakened by heat. You should also stay away from stained bamboo, it has a higher tendency of scratching and does not accept stains.
Always consider Strand-woven bamboo which is even stronger than oak. It is stain resistant and thus no worry about dark stains. In addition to being tough, bamboo is ecofriendly and the best alternative to hardwood flooring. Other than growing faster, bamboo is highly renewable.
6. Consider other substitutes for wood
Laminate flooring is the best substitute for wood if you want to avoid scuff marks and scratches from your dog claws. Laminate is protected by a tough external layer of resin coating that makes it scratch resistant, strong and durable. Laminate does not fade easily when exposed to sunlight unlike wood.
Laminate flooring is the best for high traffic areas and homes with pets and young kids. Additionally, it is cost effective as compared to solid hardwood floors installation, care and maintenance.
How to prevent dog scratches on hardwood floors
If you find yourself in a home with wood flooring and you have a dog pet, you can still protect the floor from scratches that a dag may cause. The following tips will be useful:
- Trim your dog’s claws to make them short. Proper grooming also helps in preventing dog shedding and hair everywhere in your house.
- Place a dog mat at the entrances of your house and areas where your dog rest or feed from
- Quickly mop up any pet mess such as urine or vomit to avoid damaging of polyurethane and wood.
- Ensure your pet paw are dry before they step into the home to prevent moisture and soil from ruining your floor.
- If your pet is shedding a lot, consider natural and light shades of hardwood floors as it will make hair less visible.
If you already have dog scratches on your floor, you can use a stain marker to camouflage them. If the dents are deep or hardwood floor has dark urine stains, you should consider sanding and refinishing as a way of restoring your wood floor.