Expert Advice

dog friendly floors

How to dog-proof your hardwood floors

Yes, dogs can be tough on hardwood floors. But it’s not impossible for the two to co-exist peacefully. Lap dogs won’t usually damage hardwood floors at all. But most larger dogs will. Here are some tips on how to maintain that dream home with dog-friendly hardwood floors.

dog-friendly_floors_lab1. Set realistic expectations. The most important thing to keep in mind when buying or finishing hardwood floors is that all wood dents and scratches. It’s just the nature of wood. So don’t expect zero scratching. But you can expect to keep scratches and dents to a bare minimum.

2. Choose a factory-finished wood. Pre-finished wood floors are stained and sealed in the factory with multiple layers of tough-as-nails aluminum oxide- urethane finish. The factory finishes are much tougher than any finish you can get by finishing a pre-installed floor, no matter how many layers you stack on.

3. Consider an engineered wood floor, rather than solid wood planks. Engineered wood floors consist of a top layer of solid wood and layers of wood laminate beneath. Engineered wood floors are more resistant to moisture than solid wood floors, which can be helpful during the house-training phase of your dog’s life.

4. Consider distressed or hand-scraped hardwoods. This is a stylized, rustic look that shows scratches and dents less because the style is already rough. In the same fashion, hardwood that has more knots and character marks will hide dents and scratches just as well

5. Choose wood floors that rank high on the Janka hardness test. This test measures the force required to embed a 0.444 inch steel ball into wood to half the ball’s diameter.  It is a good measurement technique to determine the relative hardness across hardwoods. Woods that rank the highest are: Brazilian Walnut, Teak, Chestnut and Cherry, Santos Mahogany, Tigerwood and Hickory, among others.

6. Choose wood floors with stronger graining. Red Oak is a great example of a strong grained wood that does an excellent job of hiding dents and scratches.

7. Use more coats of finish. With enough coats of finish on the floor, the scratch will happen in the plastic of the finish, not the wood. And scratches to the finish can be fixed with a topcoat of polyurethane.

8. Use a tougher finish. Waterborne finish is catalyzed with cross-linkers that provide a tougher bond that is harder to scratch or wear through. It’s a bit more expensive than other finishes, but it’s still only a drop in the bucket compared to what resanding the floor would cost. You can recoat an old finish, even if you’re not sure if it was oil-based or water-based polyurethane, with one of these Waterborne finishes.

9. Use penetrating oil. If you don’t like the idea of layering extra coats of finish, you can use a penetrating oil for a more natural, low sheen look. This does require a bit more maintenance—you’ll need to perform quarterly touch-ups—but the advantage of the penetrating finish is that the maintenance can be done selectively, exactly where the damage has occurred, so you don’t even have to move furniture.

10. Use rugs. Throw rugs down where pets scamper more frequently. If your herd of Labradoddles stampedes to the door when someone rings the bell, use a runner along that path.

11. Keep those nails clipped. This obviously won’t be the whole solution, but it does help to keep your dogs nails clipped regularly.

12. Doggie booties. Most pet stores sell different brands of doggie booties that are just what they sound like, booties you put on your dog’s paws. We can’t vouch for how well they stay on, but we have heard they’re a viable option for calmer breeds.

Visit our showroom and we’ll take you through some of these options in wood flooring. And feel free to bring in photos of your adorable pets. We look forward to hearing all about them.