New Home Tips, Trends, and Ideas - Raleigh Custom Home Builders

What Kind of Hardwood Flooring is Best for Dogs?

Posted by Stanton Homes Design on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 @ 09:11 AM

What Type of Hardwood Flooring is Best for Pets?

Flooring Trends - Tips from Custom Home Builders

Wondering what type of hardwood flooring will stand up best to your pets in your new Raleigh home? 

We get asked this question often - so here are some tips.  It really is a tough question, because all hardwood will eventually dent and scratch over time.  The only difference is how much it will scratch, and how visible will it be.  But hardwood flooring and pets can go very well together - and certainly makes cleaning pawprints and accidents much easier!

Best Hardwoods for Pets | 2012 Flooring Trends1.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Avoid Softer Woods

American Cherry, American Walnut, and Pine are very soft woods, and will dent quite easily, even if there are no pets or children in the home.   They also usually cost more, as there is a much smaller demand for these types of flooring.

Remember though, that this applies to American Cherry and Walnut, not Brazilian Cherry and Walnut, which are much harder. 

2.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Take Your Shoes Off

Pets take much of the blame for scratches on hardwood flooring, but their owners can sometimes be a worse culprit!  And it's not just high heels, either, but the pebbles and dirt that can get caught in any shoe.   Taking off your shoes when you walk in the door can keep your hardwood floors in much better condition, and make it so you won't have to refinish your floors nearly as often. 

3.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Choose Handscraped or Distressed Hardwoods

It's a "love it or hate it" kind of flooring, and perfect for more rustic homes.  The wood flooring is designed to already be scratched and dented!  But hardwood that has more knots and character can also blend those pesky little scratches better too.

Best Hardwoods for Pets | 2012 Flooring Trends4.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Choose a Harder Hardwood

Check your hardwood on the Janka scale.  Hickory can be a great choice, as can Brazilian Cherry.  But these hardwoods will also cost more per sq ft than a typical premium custom home builder's solid 3/4" oak hardwood, and MUCH more than other builder's 3/8" "hardwood" flooring.

5.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Choose a Hardwood with Lots of Grain

If you're looking to hide scratches, woods with stronger grain are a better choice.  Red oak is one of the best choices, and has stronger grain than white oak.  Red oak is 1290 on the hardness scale, but actually hides scratches better than Brazilian Cherry, which is 2350 on the Janka scale

6.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Choose a Matte Finish

The more glossy the finish, the more any imperfections will show up when light reflects off the floor.   Choose a satin finish when possible. 

7.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Choose a Lighter ColorWhat Kind of Hardwood Flooring is Best for Pets? | 2012 Flooring Trends

Lighter colors are better for pets, as scratches and gouges don't show up nearly as much as on dark colors. 

And if you've chosen oak, a naturally light wood, even if the finish is scratched off the scratch is more likely to blend with the rest of the floor.

8.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Choose a Solid Hardwood

Choosing a solid hardwood or high quality engineered hardwood means that, if all else fails, you will have the option of refinishing your hardwood floors should the pet damage over a number of years start to become too visible.  An inexpensive laminate hardwood floor cannot be refinished, and must be replaced.

9.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Bamboo may not be best

Some bamboo can be good for pets, but most is not.  Stained bamboo especially scratches very easily, and bamboo does not generally accept stains as well as oak does.  Strand bamboo is more expensive than carmelized bamboo, but can hold up better.  Even though bamboo is technically stronger than oak, it does tend to show dents much more easily than oak does.

10. Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets:  Use Felt Pads Under Furniture

Felt pads are a lifesaver for furniture, especially furniture with wheels.  Even if the wheels don't scratch the hardwoods, grit, dirt, and small objects often get caught in those wheels and cause damage.  Felt pads can be important under rugs too - and definitely invest in a few area rugs or mats at every entrance.   The entrances to your home will wear down the fastest as rain, snow, salt, and dirt is tracked into the home, so a little extra protection up front is well worth it.

Hardwood flooring is still a great option for pets.  By following these easy tips, you'll have a hardwood floor that performs the way you need it to! 

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Contact Stanton Homes for floor plan ideas, to get a new home cost estimate, or find out more about building a custom home in North Carolina.

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