Many people have pets and they would love to have hardwood floors in their house. How to choose hardwood for pets?
1. Avoid the soft woods:
These woods are softer and will dent very easily – even without dog or without kids. They look beautiful, but they are not very practical. And, ironically, most are more expensive (because fewer people buy them and there is lower supply).
2. Take off your shoes. A lot of customers blame their pets for scratches, but often we do more damage to our floors than our pets do. While high heels are often not wonderful for hardwood floor, the biggest culprit is not the shoes themselves, but rather what gets caught in the shoes. It’s those pebbles and dirt that get caught in our shoes that cause most of the scratches.
3. Consider distressed hardwoods. This is a stylized look that some customers love and others hate. It tends to be in style in the South, certain areas in the west, and more rustic homes in the Northeast. This look is not for everyone. But, here’s why it’s good for pets…it shows the scratches and dents less because that’s how the wood is designed – it dent looks like it fits right in. Likewise, hardwood that has more knots and character marks will hide the dent and scratches more
4. All things being equal, harder hardwoods are better. This is tricky because not all things are equal – see the next point. But, Hickory is great choice (1820 on the Janka scale). There are many other hardwoods that are harder…see the janka scale of hardness…but you can’t just look at hardness by itself.
5. Woods with stronger graining are better for HIDING the scratches. Oak is a great example of this, especially red oak which has stronger graining than white oak. While Red Oak is only 1290 on the janka hardness scale (which is still hard and is hard enough), it does an excellent job of hiding the dents and scratches due to the strong graining. In fact, it usually hides them better than Brazilian Cherry (2,350) and Brazilian Walnut (3,684) which have less and smoother graining.
6. Satin and matte finishes/less glossy finishes. Satin (or even Matte) finishes are usually best. The glossier the finish, the more it will show the scratches from the light reflecting off of it. This is true with or without pets.
7. Usually, lighter colors are better for pets and show scratches less. First, darker colors seem to show the scratches and the dirt more. Second, oak is the most common type of hardwood and oak is naturally light. So, if you have a scratch that penetrates the stain color, it will show less on lighter colors since what is revealed beneath is similar in color. You may also want to consider a color that is similar to you dog’s fur as it will blend a bit more.
10. Use felt pads underneath furniture and area rugs/entrance mats. This is especially important for chairs that are used a lot. Avoid chairs with wheels – often dirt gets caught in the wheels and cause scratches.
If you do have chairs with wheels, put an area rug underneath. And, make sure you have area rugs/entrance mats at all your main entries. You should also put one outside, too. These are the areas that get worn down the fastest due to rain, snow, salt, dirt, so protecting these areas will go a long way towards preserving your floors.
And, remember that your pet isn’t wearing shoes and therefore won’t take them off, so it’s even more important to have an area rug here.