Contrary to common belief, pets and hardwood flooring are not natural enemies. Hardwood flooring may be an attractive option for the pet owner. It is easier to clean pet dander, shedding fur, fleas, and the dirt tracked by your pet from hardwood than it is from carpet. No hardwood is immune from scratches or dents, but some woods are more pet-friendly than others. Remember, damage on your hardwood floor is not necessarily permanent. Hardwood floors can be refinished to their original glory.
Handscraped or Distressed Hardwoods
While not suitable for all decors, handscraped or distressed hardwood may be the perfect match for you and your pet. Handscraped flooring is available in a wide variety of hardwoods. The wood is scraped by hand or distressed by machine to give the wood an aged and worn appearance. The wood will show dents and scratches, but they will blend into the rustic design of the wood.
Hickory has a Janka rating of 1820, making it a very strong and dense hardwood. Janka is the industry's standard for measuring the hardness of a species of wood. Higher numbers indicate a harder wood. Hickory is virtually identical to pecan, and the two species are frequently interchanged. Hickory's density makes it a common choice for high-traffic areas and kitchens. Its high resistance to scratches and dents make hickory a compatible choice for active families with pets.
White and red oak are traditional choices for home flooring. White oak weighs in with a Janka rating of 1360, while red is rated at 1390. While their Janka rating is not as high as some other hardwoods, oak is a durable choice for homeowners with pets. Surprisingly, with a lower Janka rating, red oak may be the better choice for pet owners. The strong grain in red oak disguises scratches better than harder woods with smoother grains.
The adage "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" holds true in the case of hardwood flooring and pets. There are a number of precautions you can take to minimize damage to your floors by your pets. Keep your pet's nails well-trimmed. Wipe their paws after a walk, as lingering sand and grit may scratch your floors. Place area rugs in high-traffic locations. Keep food and water dishes off the bare floor, and be sure to clean any urine or liquid spills immediately.
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