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Now, before we get going, I’m going to admit that I’m a pretty big dog lover, so my point of view may be a little biased. They say that your dog is just an extension of its owners personality, and I can definitely attest to that. However, your furry friend doesn’t mean that you can’t have and maintain a beautiful hardwood floor. Now, there are a few different things with your flooring that will affect its durability and resistance to dents and scratches.

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Wood Hardness

The first leading factor as to how your flooring will hold up against wear and tear from a pet is the natural hardness of the wood species. You are probably thinking that the harder the species of wood the less likely it is to dent or scratch, and you would be absolutely correct. That is why when clients ask me what species of wood to choose, I generally recommend hickory or any species that has a higher hardness rating than hickory. Choosing a harder species of wood will help to keep your floor from denting, especially if you have a medium to big sized dog. If you have a smaller dog, you could choose a slightly softer species of wood and still have a great looking floor.

 

Type of Finish

Sometimes clients have the misconception that you can just put a very hard finish on the floor and it makes it virtually indestructible. The issue with this, is that if you put a very hard finish on a softer wood, the floor will still dent. That is why we recommend a combination of a harder species of wood, as discussed previously, with a more durable finish. Typically for finish, we recommend either a commercial grade finish, or a UV finish. These are both great options for protecting your floors, especially if you have pets. Another option is to use a hard wax oil as opposed to a film finish which is what the commercial and UV finish are. The film finishes provide a topcoat on the floor, whereas a hard wax oil penetrates into the actual wood fibers to provide a protective barrier. The advantage of this product over film type finishes is that if the wood floor dents or scratches, you don’t notice it as much because it has more of a low sheen matte finish to it.

 

Regular Cleaning of Your Hardwood Floor

Regular cleaning of your wood floor is one of the most important, and easiest, things you can do to keep your floors looking great! If you own dogs, regular cleaning is even more important. Where I live there is a lot of sand and my dog loves to roll around in the dirt, and of course he digs! Guess where all the dirt and grime ends up when he comes in the house? You guessed it, on the floors. If we don’t regularly clean the floor it would over time wear the finish out sooner from all of the dirt getting ground into the finish.

 

Trimming your Dogs Nails

Now you may be wondering what this has to do with keeping your hardwood floors looking nice. Well, keeping your dogs nails shorter prevent them from wanting to dig in as much as they are walking. it also protects the flooring from scratches as their nails are also a bit more blunt and not so pointed.

 

We hope that these tips help keep your hardwood floors looking great and your furry friend happy to be on hardwood floors!

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Hardwood flooring has been the most universally desirable choice for floors almost as long as floors have been a thing. The variety of tones, textures and levels of hardness combined with the wide availability of lumber in North America have made hardwood flooring a choice many homebuyers and builders don’t even need to think about when selecting a floor.

 

In addition to its objective qualities, hardwood flooring can elicit a range of emotions as well. An enchanting white oak makes you feel open and calm about your living space. A luxurious black walnut gives you a feeling of refinement and elegance that few other floors can match. Or maybe you want the warmth and coziness that a caramel bamboo provides.

 

Many homebuyers factor these feelings the house gives them into their decision to purchase or not. While you may be able to explain in vivid detail how the flooring makes you feel, the type of wood that actually makes up your distinguished living room, or your airy kitchen may not be as easy to explain.

 

Visual identification

 

Unlike roofing, counter tops or architectural and design elements, you can’t really tell what kind of wood you have just by looking at it. At least not without a few caveats.

 

First and foremost, you must have a sample of the wood that allows you to see the end of the planks. Without such a sample, it’s going to be very difficult and impossible even to identify the type of wood you have.

 

The end of the plank is the unfished area that is made visible when a plank is cut laterally.

 

Solid wood looks like real wood

 

Because the visible portion of the wood floor on top of the planks can be finished and stained in a variety of ways, the real wood is going to be what you see on the end of the planks. If you can spot visible end-grain along this edge (that is natural-looking wood grain composed of rings and consistent running wood lines).

 

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End-grain visible on Black Locust Wood Species

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Particle or composite board

You can see in the images above that the bottom image looks very familiar to anybody who has ever put together a piece of Ikea or Sauder furniture. It’s that messy, sawdusty wood that feels like it could fall apart if not held together by the thin veneers. It’s not a terrible choice for wood flooring, but it is not solid wood.

 

If the wood appears real, it may still have a veneer on it. The best way to identify veneers is to keep an eye out for repeated patterns in the wood.

 

Okay, so I have a solid wood sample. What’s next?

 

Next is figuring out the color of the wood and the grain. If your wood sample and flooring was stained, you may have to plane the sample in order to see the color of the grain. Likewise, if the wood has a patina on it (or natural discoloration that takes place as a wood surface ages), you will need to sand the sample down and see the way the wood appears.

 

Because a number of different woods may have similar colors, discovering the color of the wood will not provide an immediate answer, but it will help you narrow it down.  Certain wood colors like black or red are an exception, being almost immediately indicative of uniquely colored solid wood varieties (ebony and padauk respectively – though you’d probably know if you had one of these floors as it would have added a couple of ten thousands to the price of your home).

 

It’s all about finding patterns

 

 

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So color alone is not likely to help us identify wood. The other key factor is looking at the grain on the wood’s surface. Just like the supposedly vain pursuit of trying to figure out the secret to the stock market, we’re looking for patterns here (we’ll get it someday)!

 

Oak is one of the most common hardwood flooring materials. It’s durable, sufficiently hard and widely available. Oak is almost instant recognizable for it’s open and porous grain texture. This large open grain texture has made oak a preferred choice for unfinished rustic appearances.

 

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If the wood grain is smooth and lacks the rough texture, it’s probably a softer wood. Certain varieties of wood like lacewood or sycamore will be almost instantly recognizable by their grain.

 

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How was the wood cut?

 

Depending on the wood species and lumber producer, wood is sawn in different ways. The two most popular ways to saw and cut a plank of wood are plain and quarter sawing. Plainsawn wood is cut tangentially to the raw lumber whereas quartersawn is cut radially.

 

Illustrated below, the two methods can make the same sample of wood look very different.

 

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A – Quartersawn (notice the lateral graining) B – Plainsawn (notice the rings and running lines).

 

Knowing how to spot the difference will prevent misidentification.

 

Blessed are those who have not seen

 

As has been made clear, visual identification only goes so far with hardwood. There are two other big elements that should help you narrow your wood sample down to a possible list of final contenders.

 

Weight/Density

 

The rule of thumb is that harder hardwoods (like Oak and Mahogany) will be heavier and more dense than softer hardwoods (like Pine). You can calculate the volume of your sample by measuring it’s height/width/depth in centimeters and multiplying them. Next, place your sample on a kitchen scale. Measure in grams and place the grams over the volume.

 

You should wind up with a number like 9.575g / 25 cc (cubic centimeters). If you divide this, you will find you get the number .383 g / 1 cc or .383 g/cc.

 

Next you can reference this handy chart and try and find the closest match. In this case, it’s buckeye yellow that comes in at .383 g/cc. Buckeye is not a common flooring material and a quick Google search confirms it looks nothing like my sample, so I would keep trying to find close numbers and letting their physical appearance confirm or deny our hypotheses.

 

Hardness

 

Finally testing the hardness by trying to scratch the sample with various items should prove whether or not the wood is a hardwood or a softwood (softwood will scratch easily with less hard items like glass or aluminum, hardwood will take harder metals like iron to scratch).

 

Again using this data, you can reference a chart like the Janka Hardwood Test to help narrow down your guess based on the physical appearance.

 

That sounds like a lot of science

 

It is actually a lot of science. It takes a pretty scientific approach to identify a species of wood out of the entire beautiful and diverse spectrum. If science and algebra aren’t strong suits for you (and believe me, you’re not alone). You can always contact us at Signature Custom Flooring for more information and an experienced investigation!

 

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Dogs and hardwood: How to keep your floor looking great

Posted by Aaron Schaalma on Nov 23, 2018

Now, before we get going, I’m going to admit that I’m a pretty big dog lover, so my point of view may be a little biased. They say that your dog is just an extension of its owners personality, and I can definitely attest to that. However, your furry friend doesn’t mean that you can’t […]

Read full story

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