Many homeowners picture their house with solid hardwood flooring which is one of the most luxurious materials available. But when you have a furry four-legged friend roaming around the house, this is not the wisest choice. While it is a durable material, hardwood is still prone to dents and scratches from sharp objects like pet claws. The problems become more prominent when you have a large breed of dog.
This post shares sixteen tips and suggestions which will help you to make sure your hardwood flooring and pet can coexist.
16 Tips to Dog-Proof Hardwood Flooring
The following tips are going to help you maintain your hardwood flooring even when you have pets in the house:
- Opt for factory-finished wood
Pre-finished or factory finished wood planks are coated with multiple layers of aluminum dioxide-urethane finish. These are extremely tough compared to site finishing the floorboards and hence holds up better against pet claws.
- Periodically trim their nails
Your floors will get scratched and dented from pet claws when their nails are big enough to scrape the floor when they walk. Trimming the nails is not only a preventive measure against this problem but also healthy for your pets. This is valid even for cat owners. Though cats can hide their claws while walking, there is always a chance of the floor being scratched when they run around.
- Invest in hardwood with high Janka rating
The harder the wood, the better it withstands scratches and dents. Hence, while exploring the collections at the store, ask about the Janka rating of the hardwood flooring. Toronto-based flooring stores have a variety of domestic as well as exotic wood options which has high Janka rating, and are hard enough.
- Consider species with strong graining
Hardwood with open grain and prominent graining patterns can camouflage the scratches and dents on the floor. Red oak, hickory, ash, and several exotic species of hardwood are known for their unique and strong graining.
- Get the floor texture-finished
This serves the same purpose as strong graining. Textures such as distressed, wire brushed and handscraped are perfect for camouflaging the scratches and marks from pet claws.
- Have a realistic expectation
All species of wood will eventually succumb to damage, no matter how hard or durable it is and need to be refinished every few years. When you have pets running around, you are likely to need refinishing sooner. Keep your expectations about the flooring realistic so that you are not disappointed when refinishing becomes a necessity sooner than expected.
- Use multiple coats of finish
When you need to refinish the hardwood flooring, opt for multiple layers of the most durable finish available to maximize its resistance against your pet’s claws. Also, if the coating gets scratched, it can be fixed easily with a coating of polyurethane, unlike the wood surface which will require sanding and buffing, provided the scratch is repairable.
Be careful about the coating that you use for refinishing the floor. There are different variants which are oil-based or water-based. A finish that provides a tougher bond with the wood will be more scratch-resistant and not wear down easily.
- Oil finish is a healthy alternative
Using multiple layers of coating imparts a very shiny look to your floor, which is not a preferred finish by many homeowners. Penetrating oil finish is a good alternative which has a low sheen and more natural look comparatively. However, it requires more maintenance as you will need to do frequent touch-ups. But since this can be done selectively only on the surfaces which appear faded, it is easy. Moreover, polyurethane emits certain fumes to which many homeowners are allergic, making the penetrating oils a healthier choice.
- Get your pup doggie booties
They are exactly what they sound- tiny shoes for your puppy’s paws. You will find them in any local pet store in varied sizes. How far they will stay on is not certain but if you have a calmer breed at home, this may prove to be a viable preventive against any damage to your flooring.
- Cover up the area
A very easy and colourful solution to keeping your pets off the hardwood floor is using carpets and area rugs. Light-weight floor mats, kept at the entryways for debris to accumulate, are often dragged into the house by dogs. Opt for a heavy carpet or one which will not slide around easily when your pets run over it.
- Train your pets
Training your pet to stay off the wood floor is a good solution provided only a limited part of your household has hardwood flooring. Install baby gates around the area which has hardwood flooring to prevent them from entering until they learn it is a no-go zone.
- Install alternative flooring materials
Cheap engineered hardwood flooring which has a thick hardwood veneer as the top layer is an affordable choice for households with pets. If the floorboard gets too damaged, replacing it will not be that costly. Other pet-friendly options include laminate flooring and vinyl.
Check out this blog by us to find out more about pet-friendly flooring materials other than hardwood.
- Light-coloured wood is a better choice
Light coloured wood like maple hardwood flooring does not throw scratches and dents in a sharp relief, thus making it easier to hide them. Moreover, it is a great way to camouflage pet hair until you clean the room next time.
- Keep an eye out for pet urine and other liquids
If your puppy is not well-trained, they may urinate in the house and it can leave unsightly stains if not cleaned up immediately. Moreover, playing in puddles and mud and running into the house with muddy paws can ruin your carpets and the floor. Keep an eye out on their activities and clean up immediately when these things happen.
- Avoid softwood species
Pine, fir, cedar, American cherry, American walnut, and carbonized bamboo flooring are softwoods which you should avoid when you have pets at home. Even without pets and children, they are too delicate to last long enough.
- Select matte and satin finishes instead of glossy
Glossier finishes reflect light more, making the imperfections more obvious. Satin and matte finishes are a better choice when you have pets at home to hide any such dents and marks.
Homeowners who love the warmth and beauty of wood but have pets at home, often face the dilemma whether it will be the right decision to install hardwood flooring. Toronto’s reputed flooring stores offer numerous extremely durable hardwood species that you can invest in and with the tips mentioned above, get the maximum utility from your chosen floor material even when you have pets.