Dog on wood floor, Floor Coverings International ConcordAre you a pet owner who longs for a beautiful hardwood floor in your Concord home, but are worried about scratches and stains? Here at Floor Coverings International Concord we know it’s possible for the two to coexist! Here’s some expert advice on choosing and maintaining hardwood floors if you have four-legged family members.

Choosing the Correct Wood

One of the most important factors is selecting a wood type that’s hard enough to stand up to pet traffic. Avoid woods that rank lower on the Janka Hardness scale, such as Pine, American Cherry, or Walnut. Instead, go for harder woods like Maple or Hickory. Strong grain varieties, like Red Oak, or textured styles, such as hand-scraped or distressed wood, can also help disguise nicks. It’s also a good idea to choose a lighter color wood, as claw marks will pop out on dark floors.

Make sure your flooring is sealed with multiple layers of a durable finish. This way, when scratches happen, they occur on the topcoat of finish (which can be reapplied) instead of on the wood itself. We generally recommend avoiding glossy finishes.

If you own small animals, such as cats, you generally don’t have to worry as much about scratches showing on your floors. They simply don’t weigh enough for their claws to damage hardwood flooring (carpet is a whole separate issue, however). For dogs, make sure to routinely trim their nails.

Cleaning Up Grime

Place a mat underneath pet dishes. If left for extended periods of time, spilled food and water can soak into floor seams and damage the wood. You can also place mats underneath pet doors to help cut down on the amount of debris they bring in from outside. Regularly vacuuming pet areas in your house is a good idea, as it can reduce the amount of hair and pet dander that’s caught between floorboards (helping manage allergies and odors).

Dealing with Accidents

Animal vomit and urine is acidic and can damage the finish of wood flooring. Without proper care, it can eventually lead to discoloration and infuse an unpleasant odor into the wood. For these reasons, it’s important that pet owners make sure to a) keep their floor finish up to date b) wipe up accidents quickly and with the proper cleaners for the floor type. Making sure your pet is properly house-trained can prevent many accidents. However, if your pet is very young or has mobility issues, put down training pads in areas where they tend to do their business.

It takes some extra work, but it’s possible to combine your desire for hardwood flooring and your love of animals. If you would like to learn more about flooring options for pet owners, schedule a free in-home consultation with our experts here at Floor Coverings International Concord! We proudly serve the Concord, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, & Martinez, CA areas and can help you find the perfect flooring solution for your needs.

Photo © Claire McAdams