do pets and hardwood floors mix

do pets and hardwood floors mix

You have hardwood floors (or are thinking about getting hardwood floors) but are also a proud pet owner. Claws, urine, teeth, and just their general messiness can cause irreparable damage to hardwood floors if the proper precautions are not taken. Here comes the question; are hardwood floors right for your situation? It depends on many factors and we are here to explore all of the options with you as well as give you some practical tips. 

Depending on whether you have a dog or a cat the situation is a little bit different. Cats do not cause much damage whatsoever to hardwood floors. They are generally much smaller in size and weight therefore their claws don't cause much damage. Dogs on the other hand are more prone to accidents as well as much heavier and can leave long and deep scratches in the hardwood surface. We will discuss your best options if you do plan on sticking with hardwood, some upkeep tips, and a few flooring alternatives if you’re not in love with hardwood. 

What is the most durable Hardwood?

Not all hardwood floors are the same, each wood type has a different density level which causes varying durability. The National Wood Flooring Association rates the density of different wood options on what they call a Janka rating. The higher the rating the more dense and durable the wood is. According to this rating Brazilian Walnut, Brazilian Teak, Purpleheart, and Brazilian Cherry are some of the most durable wood types. If you want nothing but real traditional hardwood floors choose one of these wood types. Check out the chart on the right for a complete list. 

Pre-Finished vs. Site-Finished?

For maximum durability always go with Pre-Finished hardwood. Pre-finished hardwood comes pre-stained and sealed right from the factory. With multiple layers it is superior in durability and scratch resistant quality. 

Should I get Engineered Hardwood?

Engineered hardwood is a great choice, it is one of the most popular hardwood flooring options in the pacific northwest. It is durable as well as ideal for moisture with its ability to expand and compress. Yet a downside to engineered hardwood is it can only take a limited amount of damage on the surface. Since the actual top hardwood veneer layer is only at the very top of the board, you can only re-sand engineered hardwood floors once or twice before running the risk of sanding below the hardwood veneer layer. Traditional hardwood flooring on the other hand can be re-sanded and re-finished multiple times allowing for a longer lasting lifetime and a more beautiful hardwood finish (without scratches or stains). 

How can I upkeep my floor and prevent damage?

Millions of people are able to have both hardwood flooring as well as kids & pets in one household. With proper upkeep you also can keep your hardwood in great condition. Here are a few simple tips. 

  • Clean up spills, urine, vomit, and other liquids as soon as possible
  • Place absorbent mats in most accident prone areas
  • Trim/Clip pets nails often, especially for larger and heavier dogs
  • Use a rubber mat underneath the food and water bowl to prevent spillage
  • Place mats near doors and entrances to prevent elements from making their way in and causing scratches

Spills are one of the most damaging things to a hardwood floor. The acid in urine and vomit can stain hardwood floors very quickly if not cleaned up right away. Any other types of liquids will seep into the flooring from between the seams and will cause staining as well as liquid damage. Make sure you follow the above tips and you should be able to maintain a beautiful hardwood floor. 

What are some hardwood alternatives?

There are many different flooring options available that resemble the hardwood floor look but are much more pet friendly and durable. If you are in love with the hardwood look but don’t mind having other material for your floor then here are a few options for you. 

Wood look alike Tile

Wood look alike porcelain tile looks almost indistinguishable from real wood, available as a result of advancement in imaging technology. Tile is much more durable than wood and will not scratch nor stain. Unlike wood, tile can be used in areas prone to moisture. Spills will not cause damage and can be easily wiped right up (even if not done right away). With current manufacturing technology porcelain tile can last a lifetime with very minimal care, yet unmatched durability. 

Wood look alike luxury Vinyl

Vinyl flooring doesn’t sound like a pet friendly choice, but is actually a very scratch and stain resistant material. Vinyl flooring will not damage as a result of liquid spills due to its water resistance qualities, and is easy to clean and maintain. It is also one of the most comfortable flooring options because of its soft material. Like the porcelain tile it is also indistinguishable from real hardwood flooring due to advanced imaging technology. Vinyl is a cost effective and durable solution to a household with pets, and will not compromise on the hardwood look you desire. 

Laminate flooring

Unlike traditional hardwood, laminate flooring is more durable while offering similar design elements. Although laminate flooring is not as durable as porcelain tile or as luxury vinyl it’s a great choice for a solid wood flooring solution that is more durable than traditional hardwood and pet friendly. 

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