As a self-proclaimed wood nerd and animal lover, I always get frustrated when I hear people say that they can’t have hardwoods in their homes because they have pets. While there are definitely types to avoid if you have four-legged troublemakers in your house, there are lots of practical options out there for wood that can withstand members of our family who most love tennis balls.
Choosing The Right Type of Hardwood Floor
The first thing is selecting the right floor based on the activity level and habits of your pets.
Products that are too light or too dark will show more wear. When light-colored wood gets scratched, dirt can settle into the scratches and will show up as dark lines on a light surface. In the same respect, a dark finish will show the light color of the natural wood when scratched. It’s the same with countertops. I have white in my house, and they drive me CRAZY because they show every little stain, but black ones aren’t much better. Mid-tones are timeless and do the best job hiding any wear that will occur over time.
Very shiny wood floors may look “clean” at first, but they will act as a mirror, highlighting wear and imperfections. Choosing low sheen wood floors are much more low maintenance and have the bonus of looking more natural.
Texture is your friend. The reclaimed wood trends of today are extremely forgiving for households with pets. Choosing styles with surface textures like scraping or wire brushing will act as camouflage for dents and scratches.
The same principle as above holds true with the grain of the wood. Different species feature a different “pattern” from the growth rings. Maple has very little character and graining, while oak and hickory can have a lot in a more natural or rustic grade. Not only do knots and grain signal that the material is authentically natural, but they also hide wear and keep your eye from going straight to an imperfection in the floor.
Choose the Best Finish for Your Hardwood Floor
Now that you have selected floors that are the most forgiving, you are 80% through the process of having a successful hardwood installation in your pet-friendly home.
Ensuring the beauty of the floor is directly related to how you maintain them. Here are our expert dos and don’ts for cleaning and preserving hardwood floors:
Do: Avoid throwing the tennis ball inside if your pet has long nails. This one is pretty obvious, but even with the advanced finishes, you can see scratches and nicks in the seams of the plank where the nails will pull chunks of the wood up from the beveled edge.
Do: Clean up “accidents” immediately. Wood is like a sponge and will absorb moisture. Not doing so will cause water damage and hurt the finish.
Don’t: Wet mop! Avoid doing this even if you don’t have pets. Letting water sit for long periods on the wood will cause water damage that usually looks like blackened edges and splits at the end of the boards near the joint. The best cleaners are wet Swiffers or other cleaners that have an evaporative property that dries quickly.
Do: Invest in touch up pens that can be used to recolor areas of damage. Wood is meant to be worn, so these imperfections don’t ruin the product just like leather handbags aren’t ruined when they show wear from use.
Insider Tip: Most quality wood floors that are “pre-finished,” meaning they have the stain and top coat applied in a factory instead of after installation, contain Aluminum Oxide. This is a naturally occurring element that looks like salt and is the same particle that makes sand paper rough. It is just under diamonds on the hardness scale “MOH” and is used to create a barrier to protect the wood layer.
Wood is the only floor covering that adds actual value to your home, and when selected properly, it can stand up to the toughest environments, including your furry family members. To learn more about the hardwood floors perfect for pets, contact Hearthwood Floors.