By Missi McCombs
As a Tampa new home builder, one of the most common questions we get regarding hardwood flooring is…What types of hardwood flooring are best for dogs? It’s a challenging question to answer because all hardwood will dent and scratch over time – It’s just a matter of how much and how much it shows. But, I don’t think pets are a reason to avoid getting hardwoods for your home, you just need to select the correct wood flooring!
Here are some tips to help you select the perfect floor for you and your four legged friend.
All wood flooring is rated based on the Janka Hardness Scale, which measures the resistance of a type of wood to withstand denting and wear. So all things being equal, it is wise to avoid the soft woods like pine, fir and cedar. Pine, as an example, has a Janka rating of 380 which is very soft. So, although pine floors look beautiful, they are not very practical.
However, all things are not equal when it comes to the design of hardwood flooring! In addition to the Janka rating it is wise to consider graining, color, sheen, and finish when selecting a hardwood floor.
Woods with stronger graining are better for HIDING the scratches. Red Oak is a great example of this, while Red Oak is only 1290 on the Janka hardness scale it does an excellent job of hiding the dents and scratches due to the strong graining. In fact, it usually hides them better than Brazilian Cherry (2,350) and Brazilian Walnut (3,684) which although they are a harder type of wood they have less graining.
Usually, lighter stains/colors are better for pets and show scratches less. Darker stains seem to show the scratches and the dirt more. In addition, trees are not made with the popular “Espresso” – deep shade that is all the rage right now. So, if you have a scratch that penetrates the stain color, it will show less on lighter colors since what is revealed beneath is similar in color to the stain. As a side note, when selecting color, you can also consider a color that is similar to your dog’s fur as it will blend a bit more.
The sheen is the amount of gloss that is put on top of the staining and can range from matte to high gloss. The glossier the finish, the more it will show the scratches from the light reflecting off of it! Satin or Matte finishes are less glossy and are usually the best bet.
The new trend for wood finish is distressed or hand-scraped hardwoods. The distressed wood is a great option if you like the look. These floors have more of a rustic style and are not for everyone. But, because the character is created by dents, scratching, and distressing you likely won’t even notice one more scratch from Fido.
And, if you want to live happily ever after with your pet and your hardwood floors – Consider the tips above when selecting your hardwood floors and don’t forget to take off your shoes! A lot of customers blame their pets when scratches show up, but often we do more damage to our floors than our pets do. High heels and pebbles or dirt that get caught in the shoes are often the biggest culprit for creating most of the scratches.
So just because you are a dog lover, it doesn’t mean you need to stay away from hardwood flooring. Nowadays, there are many options available for pet owners. To learn more about the various flooring options available for custom homes, and what works best in your home, contact us.
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