Dogs can be hard on wood flooring, but that doesn't mean you have to skip the hardwood. Keeping your dog's nails trimmed, using rugs near doors, and placing a mat under food and water dishes can help keep the floors in good condition. If you're getting a new floor, making the right choices about the type of hardwood and the final finish will also make your flooring more dog friendly.
Engineered Vs. Solid
Engineered hardwood flooring is still wood throughout, but the core wood is different than what you see on the surface. For most applications, this results in a more stable and consistent product. Yet, if you have pets, you may want to opt for solid hardwood floors. These are the traditional planks made from the same type of wood throughout. Although they are more prone to shrinkage and gaps, they have a major benefit for dog owners—you can sand them down when necessary.
Engineered floors can only be sanded once or twice before you reach the core inside. Solid floors can withstand multiple sandings and refinishings, and they will still look good.
Onsite or Prefinish?
Hardwood floor comes in two finish options at installation—onsite finishing or prefinishing. If you have a dog, prefinishing is the way to go. This ensures that floor boards have fully cured before they are brought into your home. If you finish onsite, the floors will have several weeks of curing time. Chances are, your dog will end up damaging the floors during this period, since the finish hasn't hardened up completely.
You will want a durable surface that will resist scratches. Most of the popular poly finishes will work with the average dog, but if you really want to make sure the floors are safe opt for an acrylic finish. An acrylic finish is impregnated into the wood floors, making it more durable than a standard finish. This means the wood is more resistant to stains, gouges, and scratches.
You may also want to consider a finish that contains a surface texture. This gives the floors a more natural appearance, instead of the glass-like appearance of some wood floors. Not only will this give the floors more traction, it will hide any minor scratches caused by your dog.
Your home is meant to be lived in, so scratches will sometimes occur. If you notice the floors are starting to dull, add a fresh coat of finish so deeper damage doesn't occur. For more information, contact your flooring contractor (such as Capitol Floor Covering Inc).