Are you planning to install a hardwood floor in your home but you worry about scratches from your dog's claws?
No big deal. Your dreams can be realized as long as you consider the right type of hardwood floors for dogs, as well as consider a few care and maintenance measures.
Many people think that wood floors and dogs do not mix. However, 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, especially dogs, can present a problem to hardwood floors. If you're not dealing with scratches, you may 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 by a wooden floor.
There are different types of flooring woods — some can take a better beating and last longer than others.
Here are the dos and don’ts when choosing the best type of hardwood flooring for dogs.
Do's and Don'ts
Go for super hard species of wood
These are types of wood rated higher on the janka hardness scale. They are resistant to dents, scratches, and general wear and tear.
They have stronger graining texture, and are universally dense and hard — so, they're 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 types that can withstand scratches and scuff marks.
The wood has a high Janka rating of 1450 or more, and thus is ideal for areas with high traffic. This type of flooring is commonly used as the surface for most basketball courts, for example.
Also called Ipe, this is one of the hardest types of 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 a rating of 3684 respectively.
These wood species are commonly used on exterior decks due to their toughness.
Oak has stronger graining and is better at hiding scratches and dents than even Brazilian Cherry and Brazilian Walnut.
There are two types: red oak and white oak. Red oak, with a Janka rating of 1290, is harder than white.
This is another type of hardwood that has a strong graining. On the hardness scale, it outranks even oak.
The hardness of this wood species makes it highly resistant to marring. It is also known to hold stains better than any other type of wood.
Avoid soft wood
Soft woods are beautiful, but they're not a good choice for homes with pets. Their soft nature makes them 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 compared to solid hardwood floors.
Avoiding them will also save you a lot of cash in the long run.
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 offer an unlimited number of sandings, engineered hardwood floors are limited to only a few.
It is therefore easy to sand and refinish a solid hardwood floor to remove dents and scratches as many times as you wish.
Use distressed wood
This is wood stylized through hand scraping or natural marks. While some people don't have a taste for it, it can be the best option for pet owners.
Distressed wood bears marks that naturally blend with most dents and marks, which helps camouflage imperfections.
Although bamboo is not a wood species, it is classified as one in the flooring industry. The hard resins of bamboo make it a strong and durable flooring material.
It has a higher Janka rating of up to 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, as it has a higher tendency to scratch and does not accept stains.
Always consider strand-woven bamboo, which is even stronger than oak. It is stain resistant, so there's no need to worry about dark stains.
In addition to being tough, bamboo is ecofriendly and the best alternative to hardwood flooring. Other than growing fast, bamboo is highly renewable.
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's 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 when 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, you can still protect the floor from scratches that a dog may cause.
The following tips will be useful:
- Trim your dog’s claws to make them short. Proper grooming also helps prevent dog shedding and hair everywhere in your house.
- Place a dog mat at the entrances of your house and areas where your dog sleeps or eats.
- Quickly mop up any pet mess such as urine or vomit to avoid damaging polyurethane and wood.
- Ensure your pet's paws 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 your hardwood floor has dark urine stains, you should consider sanding and refinishing as a way of restoring your wood floor.