Your new hardwood floor is going to be used by your entire family. As anybody with a pet knows, that definitely extends beyond the human members of the household. You may be thinking that it’s one or the other. Do I get to add my beautiful dream floor to the kitchen, or do I get to make a “practical” choice and go with the marble look tile?
Yes, the beauty of hardwood floors includes a little extra care than linoleum or carpeting would, but it doesn’t mean you have to throw out this striking option in favor of what may seem to be a more pragmatic choice.
Millions of people every year live with great looking hardwood floors while sharing their homes with four-legged friends. Here are some tips to help ensure that your hardwood floors stays in its beautiful natural condition regardless of paw traffic.
1. Cats are pretty much harmless – If your companion is of the feline, rather than canine variety, you will likely not need to heed this advice. In most cases, cats are too light to do the kind of damage that a dog can do in the form of scratches.
2. Their urine on the other hand…not so much – That’s not to say anything about urine, however. Urine, even when cleaned up within a few minutes of impact, can still permeate your new wood floor – staining it and adding an unpleasant odor.
3. The hardness of the wood determines scratch resistance – As opposed to soft wood floors, like pine, fir, black cherry, teak or black walnut,, a strong hardwood is always going to stand up better to any attempted scratching. A wood like a white oak, a Brazilian Cherry or a hard maple is going to give the best guarantee against scratches.
Really worried about scratching? A super hardwood like a fossilized bamboo hits 5000 on the Janka Wood Floor Hardness Rating Scale, meaning you can pretty much ice skate on it (not actually, we’re just saying it’s really really hard).
4. Other factors can help too, however… – While harder woods will stand up better to Fido’s claws, there are other factors that can also help minimize the visibility of any scratches that may still persist.
5. …like the color of the wood… – It’s no secret lighter colored woods are going to do a better job hiding scratches. It doesn’t have anything to do with the wood itself, but rather a much lower contrast between the color of the plank and the lighter scratched color.
6. …the finish of the wood… – When floors with a glossy finish catch the light, they reflect every imperfection about the wood back up at the person seeing it. It’s like a spotlight on any imperfection that your floor may have gained through its natural use. Matte finishes always look better and do a great job to hit the mute button on any scratches they may have picked up. Additionally, matte finish floors look great, provide a natural appearance and work with a variety of decorating styles.
7. …pre-finished vs site-finished wood… – Whether your floor was prefinished (that is, it arrived to your home already finished) or finished on-site can also make a difference in its ability to resist wear and tear marks. Prefinished wood flooring is usually finished with aluminum oxide (the sand in sandpaper), meaning it has a better chance of taking the claw from your canine friend and not looking any worse for the wear.
8. …and a stronger grain of wood will all hide scratches. – Hardwood floors with more prominent grains also do a better job camouflaging any scratches or other use marks. If your floor is to be in a high traffic area, and especially if that traffic is coming four-legs-at-a-time, you may want to consider looking at a wood with a stronger grain.
9. When it doubt, distressed wood flooring is a great option -Buy pre-scratched. Okay, it’s not actually scratched, but distressed and handscraped floors are really popular right now. They add warmth and provide a shabby look that has become central to many persistent decorating styles. Additionally, any scratches your family, or your pets contribute wont look out of place at all.
10. Finally, treat Lucy or Julian to a regular canine manicure – Make sure to keep your dog’s nails trimmed neatly to avoid any unnecessary scratching risks. Not only will it keep your beautiful hardwood floors looking nice as new for years, but a day at the spa is a great way to thank your furry friend for always being there for you.
If you have any questions about taking care of your hardwood floor, contact us today.
Learn how to maintain and protect your hardwood floor, as well as how often it should be refinished.