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Pets

5 Pet-Friendly Flooring Options

When choosing the right floors for your home, there are many factors to consider. One of the most important points to think about is, ‘who will be using your floors?’. For instance, if you’re a pet owner it’s essential to find a flooring option that will withstand the general wear and tear by your furry friend.

Over time the impact of your dog or cat will begin to show on your floors. As such, you will need to find a flooring option that will not only minimize any damage caused by your pet but offer longevity as well. With your furry friend in mind, these are the major points of consideration when selecting your flooring: protection from scratches and stains, resistance to damage, the comfort of your pet and the traction of your pet. It’s also important to note here that floor durability not only encompasses scratch resistance but should consider impact and moisture. All in all, when selecting flooring material, you want to choose something that is not only friendly to your pet but also appealing to your interior design.

To ease the selection process, we have compiled a list of 5 pet-friendly flooring options.

Bamboo

Bamboo is a popular option for pet-friendly homes. This is because bamboo possesses natural durability that makes it both stain and scratch-resistant. Bamboo’s sturdiness is ensured by its high Janka flooring rating; essentially, the higher the rating means the harder the wood. In this case, the high score guarantees that bamboo is not only a sustainable flooring material but will also survive the constant onslaught of your pet’s claws.

 In addition, bamboo is an antimicrobial material which means that your home will be kept free from mold and other allergens. Aside from being incredibly easy to clean, bamboo is also allergen resistant, ensuring that it will not harbor pet fur or other debris.

Laminate

 If your furry friend is overly active, laminate flooring is a great choice. Since laminate floors are known for their incredibly tough top layer, this option is fairly scratch-resistant against your dog or cat’s claws. Like bamboo, laminate is extremely stain-resistant and easy to keep clean. However, it’s essential to note that laminate is prone to making a louder and more hollow noise under-foot, as opposed to a more solid material. This option may, therefore, amplify the sound of your pet’s footsteps.

Vinyl

 A popular option among pet lovers is vinyl sheet flooring which is considered a resilient flooring material that sustains long-term endurance. If vinyl is installed correctly, this option will wear well allowing for minimal scratches. Also, vinyl has water-resistant qualities so stains and messes from your pet will be easy to clean. An additional benefit of this option is that it is great for softening the sound of your pet’s nails.

Engineered Hardwood

Again, when ensuring that your hardwood flooring option is pet-friendly it’s best to go with a material that ranks high on the Janka hardness scale. Specifically, you should choose wood species that have a rating of 1,250 or over. Some great engineered hardwood options include Brazilian cherry or white oak. But, even for the sturdiest wood, it’s still important to protect them in order to prolong their longevity. Getting your floor coated in urethane will help minimize any damage sustained through scratches or stains.

Solid Hardwood

Solid hardwood floors are an incredibly durable option. Although some will say that this option is suitable for pets, this is not necessarily true. However, if the correct protective measures are put in place, hardwood floors can withstand your pet’s habits and behaviors. When cared for properly, by applying a protective coating and conducting regular sanding, hardwood floors can last anywhere between 80-100 years.

 Ultimately, when it comes to selecting the flooring option that is not only right for you but also your animal friend, it’s essential to consider longevity. As such, selecting an option that is primarily scratch-resistant and stain-resistant will ensure that the quality of your floors remain in tip-top shape, allowing you to enjoy them for longer.

 

Categories
Pets

5 Pet-Friendly Flooring Options

 

When choosing the right floors for your home, there are many factors to consider. One of the most important points to think about is, ‘who will be using your floors?’. For instance, if you’re a pet owner it’s essential to find a flooring option that will withstand the general wear and tear by your furry friend.

 Over time the impact of your dog or cat will begin to show on your floors. As such, you will need to find a flooring option that will not only minimize any damage caused by your pet but offer longevity as well. With your furry friend in mind, these are the major points of consideration when selecting your flooring: protection from scratches and stains, resistance to damage, the comfort of your pet and the traction of your pet. It’s also important to note here that floor durability not only encompasses scratch resistance but should consider impact and moisture. All in all, when selecting flooring material, you want to choose something that is not only friendly to your pet but also appealing to your interior design.

 To ease the selection process, we have compiled a list of 5 pet-friendly flooring options.

 

Bamboo

 Bamboo is a popular option for pet-friendly homes. This is because bamboo possesses natural durability that makes it both stain and scratch-resistant. Bamboo’s sturdiness is ensured by its high Janka flooring rating; essentially, the higher the rating means the harder the wood. In this case, the high score guarantees that bamboo is not only a sustainable flooring material but will also survive the constant onslaught of your pet’s claws.

 In addition, bamboo is an antimicrobial material which means that your home will be kept free from mold and other allergens. Aside from being incredibly easy to clean, bamboo is also allergen resistant, ensuring that it will not harbor pet fur or other debris.

 

Laminate

 If your furry friend is overly active, laminate flooring is a great choice. Since laminate floors are known for their incredibly tough top layer, this option is fairly scratch-resistant against your dog or cat’s claws. Like bamboo, laminate is extremely stain-resistant and easy to keep clean. However, it’s essential to note that laminate is prone to making a louder and more hollow noise under-foot, as opposed to a more solid material. This option may, therefore, amplify the sound of your pet’s footsteps.

 

Vinyl

 A popular option among pet lovers is vinyl sheet flooring which is considered a resilient flooring material that sustains long-term endurance. If vinyl is installed correctly, this option will wear well allowing for minimal scratches. Also, vinyl has water-resistant qualities so stains and messes from your pet will be easy to clean. An additional benefit of this option is that it is great for softening the sound of your pet’s nails.

 

 Engineered Hardwood

 Again, when ensuring that your hardwood flooring option is pet-friendly it’s best to go with a material that ranks high on the Janka hardness scale. Specifically, you should choose wood species that have a rating of 1,250 or over. Some great engineered hardwood options include Brazilian cherry or white oak. But, even for the sturdiest wood, it’s still important to protect them in order to prolong their longevity. Getting your floor coated in urethane will help minimize any damage sustained through scratches or stains.

 

 Solid Hardwood

 Solid hardwood floors are an incredibly durable option. Although some will say that this option is suitable for pets, this is not necessarily true. However, if the correct protective measures are put in place, hardwood floors can withstand your pet’s habits and behaviors. When cared for properly, by applying a protective coating and conducting regular sanding, hardwood floors can last anywhere between 80-100 years.

 Ultimately, when it comes to selecting the flooring option that is not only right for you but also your animal friend, it’s essential to consider longevity. As such, selecting an option that is primarily scratch-resistant and stain-resistant will ensure that the quality of your floors remain in tip-top shape, allowing you to enjoy them for longer.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance Pets

This is How to Choose the Best Hardwood Flooring for Your Dog

Rocky Mountain region residents love dogs. Your friends at MacDonald Hardwoods are often asked which types of wood flooring will fare the best with dogs. There are many suitable options available but there are a few rules of thumb that will help you select the best flooring for you.

Choose Hardwood Flooring

First of all, it is important to mention that hardwood flooring has many advantages over other flooring options. It is completely natural. The wood is harvested from forests in a specific pattern and process that ensures its long-term sustainability. There is no better option for hygiene, air quality, and protection from allergens. Engineered hardwood is durable, but solid hardwood flooring is better for homes with pets.

Available Options

Years ago, the options available for hardwood flooring were very limited. A homeowner could select one of a handful of colors that had little or no grain or texture. This traditional look is still popular today but now it only represents a small segment of the options available. There are many different types of hardwoods in a full range of colors – some are naturally occurring while others are stained or whitewashed.

Dog Lovers

Dog lovers need to be concerned with three issues when choosing a hardwood floor: color, gloss, and species hardness. Experienced dog owners recommend that you choose a hardwood species that is very hard so that it will resist scratches and dents. They recommend a light color so that animal hair will not be easily visible. And, they recommend against using a glossy finish because it tends to shows the scratches more easily in reflected light.

Hardwood vs Softwood

The Janka Hardness Scale shows the hardness of each species of wood. While a softer species would not hold up well in a house with pets, a harder species will not be impervious to scratches and dents. In our 2015 survey of designers from around the U.S., more than 50% of them recommended Oak to their clients with dogs.  Other popular choices were bamboo and Hickory.  To determine which hardwood species is best with pet concerns and the Denver area climate, consult one of the experts at MacDonald Hardwoods.

Avoiding Scratches

A typical nail trimmer cuts dogs’ nails but leaves a sharp edge. If a dog owner also files the dog’s cut nails, the nail surface will not scratch as easily. Some dog owners use Soft Paws, vinyl nail caps that glue on to the dog’s nails. Problem solved!

Moisture

Dog lovers also need to be concerned with avoiding moisture on the hardwood floors. It is very important to avoid the possibility of the dog urinating on the wood flooring, especially when no one is home to clean it up right away.

The dog’s food and drink should be placed on a waterproof surface to avoid any moisture reaching the wood floor. Even homes without a dog should have an absorbent rug by the entrances to avoid tracking rain, snow, or dirt into the house. Having a rag handy to wipe off paws is very helpful as well.

Assistance

We all understand that sometimes accidents do occur. Visible scratches can be easily remedied with a new coat of finish applied periodically. Damaged or stained sections of hardwood flooring can be repaired or replaced. Learn more about the best hardwood flooring to consider other aspects of your lifestyle before making a final decision.

Categories
General Home Improvement Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance Home Decor Pets Species

This is How to Choose the Best Hardwood Flooring for any Home

So, you’re thinking about retiring your old floors, or you’re moving into a new space, and you’re interested in a natural, easy-to-maintain flooring choice. Of course, hardwood is an excellent pick for many people — it’s easier to clean than carpets and is known to stand the test of time. But, there are so many available options that finding the best hardwood flooring can be overwhelming.


How to determine the best hardwood flooring for your home:

  1. First, understand the pros and cons of hardwood floors.
  2. Next, examine your lifestyle.
  3. Then, set a realistic budget.
  4. After that, explore various hardwood types and species.
  5. Once you know the rest, research your finish options.
  6. Finally, consult with an expert.

Each of the above items has its own set of intricacies. In this article, we take some of the guesswork out of it for you. Here’s everything you need to know to choose the right hardwood flooring options. 


First, the Pros and Cons of Harwood Flooring:

Hardwood is a natural, long-lasting choice for home flooring. Still, it comes with maintenance responsibilities. Before you do anything else, it’s crucial to consider the pros and cons of installing wood floors in your home.

 

The Pros and Cons of Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods


Hardwood is durable… as long as you don’t overexpose it to water.

While hardwood floors are durable and can withstand spills and stains with proper treatment, they are especially prone to water damage (kind of like the wicked witch of the west); this makes them a risky candidate for areas like your bathroom, kitchen, and entryways. Installing hardwood in rooms where they are exposed to liquid will lead to damage.


It is easy to refinish, but not so easy to install.

Most people will tell you it is easy to refinish hardwood floors, as long as you can stay off of them for a few days. Even so, it is difficult to install them, even for experienced DIYers. So, in the beginning, be prepared to hire a professional for the installation. At the very least, consider hardwood flooring installation classes


It is considered a wise investment.

The homeowners’ paradigm is that hardwood flooring will increase the value of your property. Most homebuyer’s jump at the idea of purchasing a home with hardwood floors — in many cases, even when carpet covers the original wood flooring. So, in the long run, the initial investment is probably worthwhile.


Hardwood flooring isn’t likely to go out of style.

Hardwood floors are timeless in the decor world; it was considered a luxury interior decoration asset as early as the 1600s and is popular still today. If you choose hardwood, your floors are likely to stay in style as long as your home stands. According to GentlemanZone Magazine, hardwood stands for luxury and fine taste. It is the warm and shiny glaze of wood that noblemen love to this very day.


It isn’t the coziest flooring to walk on.

One of the downsides to hardwood flooring is that it can be hard and cold on your feet compared to carpeting. Because it is so hard, it doesn’t absorb sound; this can lead to more noise when walking around with shoes. Some people might not like this idea, for a number of reasons, and will opt for carpeting instead. But, if you’re still undecided, there are ways to reduce sound with hardwood floors.


It is an allergy-friendly, eco-friendly, low maintenance flooring option.

People with pets will tell you that carpets need to be vacuumed daily to keep a hair and dander-free home. If you have allergies to pets or pollens, you can be sure hardwood floors will be much easier to maintain, and you’ll experience fewer attacks. Also, most of the wood used for flooring materials are sustainably sourced and use non-toxic adhesives and finishes.


Next, What You Need to Consider About Your Lifestyle:

Your lifestyle dictates the best hardwood flooring option for your home — foot traffic, kids, pets, and maintenance crucial considerations. Are your floors prepared for wear and tear, or will choose luxury options for their aesthetic appeal? Consider the following.

While you probably won’t be bowling on your floors, you may live in a home with a lot of guest foot traffic, kids playing, or pets running around. In this case, you are going to expose your floors to scratches; this requires a “harder” floor and finish (or a ridiculously laid-back attitude).

Is Hardwood Flooring Good for Homes with Kids and Pets? via @macwoods

On the contrary, if you have a lifestyle with more solitude, you might be able to afford to go with softer wood and a natural oil finish. If you require people to take their shoes off at the door, take precautions when moving furniture, your home isn’t prone to messes, and you expect things to stay this way, there’s no reason to worry yourself too much over potential scratching and stains.


Recommended reading for the best hardwood flooring care: 


Then, get Clear About Your Flooring Installation Budget:

While some homeowners consider hardwood flooring installation to be a DIY job, more often than not, they require professional installation. Whether you install the flooring yourself or hire someone to do that for you, be realistic about your budget. It’s always a possibility that you will end up spending more than you anticipate by the time everything is complete.

According to Home Advisor, the national average cost of installing hardwood in 2018 is $4,415. But this can vary tremendously based on the project.


What to consider when you set your hardwood flooring budget:

  • Cost per square foot of flooring
  • Size of the project area
  • Subfloor, joists, and other structural materials
  • Floor finish
  • Molding replacement
  • Professional labor costs
  • Future flooring repair & replacement costs

In addition to the installation (all materials and labor), you must consider the cost of repair and replacement for your hardwood floors. So, while you may have the initial budget for an exotic species like Padauk, think about whether you will have the funds to repair or replace a more expensive floor in the future, should you have to. If you have to refinance your home to pay for new floors, it may be best to choose an option that is on the conservative side of the price scale. 


Recommended reading to set your hardwood flooring budget:


After that, Consider Solid, Prefinished, Engineered, and Laminate Flooring Options:

There are three main hardwood flooring options: solid, engineered, laminate, and prefinished. Here are the similarities and differences.


Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid hardwood is the term used for planks of wood, cut directly from the tree — it is precisely what you think it would be; this is the flooring that has been around for ages. It is the most natural and customizable type of hardwood flooring. If you choose this option, you can have any wood species, stain and flooring finish you like. The only downside is that, in general, it can be slightly more prone to damage than your other options and typically more expensive. It would be the obvious choice for any luxury home and is the only type of wood flooring that can be refinished.


Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

A convenient option for homeowners is to choose prefinished flooring. Again, this is precisely what you might think it is: hardwood flooring planks that are finished prior to installation. Both engineered and solid hardwood, exotic and common species come in pre-finished options. The upsides are that installation takes less time, you will be able to walk on your floors sooner, and you will not have to inhale sometimes toxic VOCs of polyurethane finishes. It can be more expensive than unfinished planks, but that is usually made up for by negating the final step of installation. It might be difficult to find high-end species, yet many people still consider this the best hardwood flooring option.


Engineered Hardwood Flooring 

Not to be confused with laminate flooring, engineered hardwood flooring is a semi man-made product. However, it is made from several layers of real wood. The top layer is a piece of solid wood lamella, and it is most often prefinished. So, if you choose this option, colors and grains are preserved. At a glance, you won’t be able to tell the difference between solid and engineered hardwood, as you are basically left with the same color and appearance of natural wood flooring.


Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is another choice that many modern homeowners go with, especially in rentals or homes with small children. Homeowners with laminate flooring claim that it is extremely easy to keep clean. With laminate flooring, you don’t have the high risk of water damage. It is also less prone to sun damage and staining. But, there is a downside: it is obviously not wood. This option doesn’t leave you with the same unique grain variants and color evolution as many hardwood options.


And, Explore Common and Exotic Hardwood Species:

If you like the idea of solid wood flooring, it’s best to look at several different species. There are common American species like Oak, Maple, and Hickory, that you’ve probably already thought about. You should also look at exotic species like Australian Cypress, Merbau, or Burmese Teak. Here’s a brief breakdown of some of the most popular species that we work with to inform your journey to the best hardwood flooring.


Black Cherry:

Black Cherry Hardwood Flooring


The heartwood of Black Cherry is a stunning red-brown color and the sapwood ranges from pale to light brown with an almost pink tint. Rather than using this type of wood for an entire floor, it is usually used for accents and borders, creating a luxury decor feel. This species is more stable and softer than oak with a moderate hardness.


Birch:

Birch Hardwood Flooring


Birch grain is generally wavy or curly but maintains an even, medium texture. The heartwood of Yellow Birch is usually red-brown while the sapwood is white or yellow. The heartwood of Sweet birch is generally dark brown with reddish tones and the sapwood is typically lighter. It is more stable than red oak and is known for absorbing shock.


Oak:

Red Oak Hardwood Flooring


Oak grain is coarse with a flame or curvy pattern. White oak varies from light brown to off-white with hints of pink or gray and is naturally protected from many insects and fungi. Red oak has a strong, reddish tint and is slightly less durable than white oak, but is more likely to absorb shock. These are two of the most common species used in flooring. 


Pine:

Heart Pine Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods


Southern Yellow Pine and Heart Pine (aka “Blue Pine”) are the two most common Pine species used in flooring. Heart Pine is yellow but contains occasional bluish-black sap stains. Southern Yellow Pine ranges in color from orange and light yellow to yellow and brown. It is known for its knotty grains and is much softer than its rival Oak flooring options.


Maple:

Sugar Maple Hardwood via @macwoods


Sugar Maple is available in a myriad of colors. The sapwood can range from a creamy or pale white while the heartwood can be creamy white to reddish-brown. It has a closed fine, light grain and subtle appearance overall. Occasionally, on the higher end of the price scale, Maple grain presents quilted, “fiddleback,” or bird’s eye patterns.


Walnut:

Black Walnut Hardwood via @macwoods


Black Walnut, another common American hardwood species, contains a myriad of heartwood tones ranging from beautiful medium browns to almost purple hues. The straight, open grains can occasionally burl or curl, but for the most part, maintain a long brushstroke look.  It is softer but more stable than typical American Red Oak hardwood.


African Padauk:

African padauk Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods


African Padauk is a popular exotic hardwood flooring option, mostly because of the way it changes color over time. In the beginning, Padauk floors might be reddish-orange, but will darken to red and can eventually become purplish-brown to black with age. Padauk is significantly harder and more stable than oak, making this one of the most durable available flooring options.  


Merbau:

Merbau Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods


Merbau has medium to high color variants on each board. It is especially lustrous, with golden yellow streaks throughout. Like Padauk, it changes color with age, typically starting out reddish-orange and eventually turning dark reddish-brown. The sapwood is, however, much lighter than the heartwood. Merbau grain is coarse and either straight, interlocked, or wavy.


Australian Cypress:

Australian Cypress Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods


Australian Cypress is much more stable and slightly harder than Oak. The heartwood ranges from honey-gold to brown, and the sapwood is generally cream-colored. Cypress grain is generally closed, yet it can often resemble the knotty texture of Pine. While the stability is high, some movement can happen with Cypress after installation. 


Thai/ Burmese Teak:

Thai Burmese Teak Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods


Thai/ Burmese Teak sapwood is usually a light cream color. The heartwood ranges from dark, golden-brown to yellow-brown. Teak becomes richer in color when exposed to the sun, which is not typical of other hardwoods that often experience sun bleaching over time. It is more stable yet softer than Oak and has a straight, coarse grain with inconsistent texture.


Take a Closer Look at Wood Grains

Each floorboard will have a unique pattern in the wood grain, but there are some basic identifiers in the most common species used in hardwood flooring; one may be more appealing to you than others.

wood grain appearance via @macwoods

Maple, for example, has a fine, light pattern. Oak tends to have a classically beautiful grain pattern that resembles flames. Hickory grains generally have an interesting, jagged, peaked structure that resembles watercolor paintings. Cherry and mahogany, though unique in many other ways, usually have similar grain patterns in that they are non-directional and subtle. Walnut looks like someone painted long, straight brush strokes with various shades of brown on a flat surface. Each is gorgeous in their own way.


While this section is informative about hardwood species and their looks and qualities, this is not inclusive of everything you may want to know. Once you have an idea what you want, it is a good idea to further research species including Janka rating and how to protect hardwood floors from sun bleaching to learn more and make the best hardwood flooring decision. 


Finally, Understand Your Options for Hardwood Finishes:

While the grain examples above showcase various shades of brown, red, and yellow, the final color and luster of your floor will be dictated by the finish that you choose. If you aren’t set on prefinished or laminate floors, you should explore at least a few different finish options.

One of the first questions you might ask is, ‘Do I actually need to finish my floors?’ — wood is lovely on its own after all. The answer is ‘yes.’ If you install hardwood floors, you don’t necessarily have to stain them, but you do need to finish them. Otherwise, you risk exposure to damage and early aging.


Here are some of the most popular hardwood flooring finish options.

  • Wax Finish
  • Polyurethane Finish
  • Acid-Cured Finish
  • Moisture-Cured Urethane Sealer
  • Penetrating Oil Sealer

Each above item has pros and cons. Use this list to choose the best hardwood flooring finish based on your needs and wants.


Closing Self-Examination Questions to Choose the Best Hardwood Flooring:

As long as you remember that you should not install hardwood flooring in rooms where they will be exposed to water, you understand all of your options, and you are clear on your budget and preferences, you’re ready for the final self-exam. Here’s what you need to ask to make the best hardwood flooring decision:

  • In which rooms will you install hardwood flooring?
  • What will the foot traffic be like in these rooms?
  • Will you choose solid, engineered, laminate, or prefinished hardwood?
  • In which species are you most interested?
  • What type of hardwood finish do you want?
  • Does your budget match the hardwood flooring options you prefer?

And, when you know the answers to all of these questions, if you still don’t have your mind made up, consult an expert to help you make a final hardwood flooring decision. Or, check out bamboo flooring as an option. Our Denver flooring company, serving the community since 1986, provides the finest quality hardwood floors, service, and installation.

Categories
General Home Improvement Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance Pets

Hardwood Flooring 101: Best Rooms, Tips for Pet-Owners, & General Maintenance

Choosing a room for your hardwood flooring is not that difficult. Hardwood flooring can withstand almost anything that you can do with it. The grains on hardwood are beautiful and can make your home look stunning. However, your floor should not take the limelight from the room itself. Hardwood should be used to enhance not to overshadow a room. But where is hardwood flooring most effectively installed? Here are some tips that you need to consider.

The Best (and Worst) Rooms for Hardwood Flooring

Before you start planning a new hardwood flooring installation, keep in mind why you might or might not want wood floors in specific rooms.

Here are the Best Rooms for Hardwood Floors:

  • Master Suite – with its luxurious and romantic appeal, hardwood flooring will enhance the atmosphere of love in this most crucial part of your house.
  • Home Office – your office at home will also take a more professional ambiance if the full grains and striking colors of hardwood adorn its floor.
  • Dining Room – hardwood flooring is also a choice floor for dining rooms. It will lend its characteristics to whatever atmosphere you want to imbue in this section of your house. If you want a more casual ambiance, you can choose thin-grained and light colored hardwood. But if you want a more elegant and formal appeal, choose wood species with concentrated grains and darker colors.
  • Living Room – you can also install hardwood flooring on your living room. With its wonderful play of colors and meandering wood grains, your flooring will be a conversation piece when your friends visit your place.
  • Den – you will be able to relax well with the soothing character and atmosphere that hardwood flooring will impart to your den. Reading a book, watching a TV show, or just plain relaxing on top of beautiful hardwood flooring will be something that you will always look forward to at the end of the day.

These are the Worst Rooms for Hardwood Flooring:

  • Bathroom – you cannot install hardwood flooring all over your house. There are at least two rooms where you shouldn’t install hardwood and the bathroom is one of them. Even the most durable and sturdiest exotic wood species can’t withstand the continuous onslaught of water and moisture.
  • Laundry Room – another room where you should avoid hardwood flooring for the same reason; this part of your house is exposed to the elements such as grime, dirt, spilled oil, detergents, and water — it is not the ideal domain for beautiful and expensive hardwood.

Hardwood Maintenance Tips for Pet Owners

Pets are the typical house inhabitants that do damage to house flooring. Even hardwood floors are not immune to their claws and their bites. To keep your pets from damaging your flooring, follow these simple maintenance tips:

  • Clip your dog’s nails, and your cat’s too if necessary – Dogs and cats are unusually fond of scratching the floor and to some extent. So, if you don’t clip their nails regularly, you will be the one that will ultimately pay for the damages that they will cause.
  • Get your pets their own beds – Buy an appropriate bed for each dog or cat that you own. Dogs usually sleep around twelve hours each day. Cats sleep even longer than dogs. So if you will train them to stay on their bed when sleeping, you will avoid scratches and bites on your hardwood flooring.

Step by Step: How to Get Scratches Out of Hardwood Flooring

However, if your pets have already left some scratches on your hardwood flooring, you can fix them by using a wood staining marker that will conceal the scratches. Here are the steps in using this marker.

  1. Clean the damaged spot or spots.
  2. Perform a spot test before applying the marker.
  3. If the spot test is successful, apply the concealing marker.
  4. Rub the stain into the scratches with a clean rag that is soaked with a paint thinner or mineral spirit.

Now, let us reveal how to pick the best hardwood floors for your home.

Categories
Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance Pets

Pets and Hardwood Flooring: Conflict or Coexistence?

Can pets and hardwood floors coexist? Well, both have been mainstays in homes for centuries, and experience has produced a wealth of wisdom about the pets vs hardwood conundrum. These tips for integrating pets and hardwood flooring will keep you happy, your floors looking fantastic and your pooch from sporting that sheepish, “Uh-oh, I’m in the doghouse now” posture.

Choose Hard Hardwood

That sounds like a brief stutter, but we mean exactly that. The hardness of hardwoods varies quite a bit on the Janka Hardness Test that engineers use to measure the force needed to dent wood with a small steel ball. As you see, some jobs are more fun than others.

The Janka rating of each flooring is usually listed in the marketing materials for hardwood sold in stores and online. Here’s a brief sampling of the hardness of available hardwood floors. The higher the Janka rating, the tougher the wood is and the better it will stand up to pet’s nails and potential stains, chair feet and dropped cast iron pans.

Janka Hardness Test for Hardwood Flooring
Original source: What is a Janka Rating and How Important is it?

If your floors are already installed, the softer your wood species is, the more precautions you need to take.

Add a Coat or Two of Finish

Keeping scratches out of the wood is the key to delaying the need for refinishing your floors. Your local flooring specialist will recommend the right coating or tough sealer that won’t change the appearance of the wood.

Now that we’ve prepared the floor for the introduction of a furry friend or two, these methods for how to integrate pets and hardwood flooring will make the mix pleasant.

Keep Pets Off Hardwood Until House Trained – or if Unwell

Until your cat decides the litter box is not beneath its dignity (rabbits will use a box too) and the dog learns to hold it until you open the back door, keep them off the hardwood. Use gates and closed doors for location control. Unpleasant warning: If any of your critters pee, poop or puke on the floor, clean up the mess promptly with a mild detergent solution, rinse with a damp cloth and dry the floor completely to prevent staining and moisture damage.

Trim Sharp Claws

The heavier your pet is, the more important it is to keep their nails trimmed. Squaring off sharp claws is more important than cutting them short, so trim gently. Note that rabbit nails get very sharp quickly, so frequent trimming might be necessary.

Reduce Romping on Hardwood

Hardwood will age fast if you frequently throw a Frisbee for Fido to fetch on it. Discourage kids from frolicking with the pets too. Excited kids and pets running, jumping and skidding around corners on the hardwood are… hard… on… the… wood. Outside is best for this type of play.

Improve Their Comfort Too

Perhaps you’ve placed a throw rug where you stand on your hardwood for long periods during duty kitchen duty or food preparation. To encourage your pets to be your kitchen companions, be sure to place a rug nearby for them. Just a little bonus tip to help your pets feel at home on hardwood without causing troubles for you.

For more tips on protecting your space while making your pets feel at home, check out this puppy-proofing guide from Apartminty.

Categories
Hardwood Flooring Pets

What Species of Hardwood Flooring is Best for Homes with Dogs?

When it comes to choosing the right hardwood flooring for your home, many decisions need to be made:

  • What species?
  • What kind of finish?
  • How wide and long will the boards be?

And, several factors need to be considered in making those decisions:

  • Climate
  • Foot traffic
  • Cost
  • And, of course, pets

You need a floor that is going to be able to hold up under your household’s wear. If your family introduces a dog, particular species will tend to hold up better than others.

Two primary factors tend to be especially important when it comes to the compatibility of dogs and hardwood floors.  You want to choose wood that is hard enough to resist the scratches and dents that pet nails might leave on less durable woods and you want to consider a species with a grain pattern that will hide what scratches your wood and finish don’t manage to prevent.

In a recent survey of interior designers, we asked what species they most often recommend for homes with pets. Two of their most popular answers came as no surprise, but one caught us a little off-guard at first.

 Hardwood floor survey - pets

As you can see, three species stood out.

Oak

Oak is a tried a true favorite for hardwood floors.  Whit Oak is among the harder of the domestic woods and is well known for its resiliency and durability.  Oak is versatile and abundant, a great and affordable choice for homes with pets.

Hickory-Hand-Scraped-Natural
Hand-scraped Hickory is a great option to stand up to scratches and wear and mask damage from pet nails.

Hickory

Hickory, another domestic hardwood, is a favorite for its extraordinary durability and dramatic grain patterns.  Significantly harder even than Oak, it also tends to have stark color variations that hide scratches exceptionally well.

Bamboo

This was the surprise entry for us, but given the uncommon hardness that results from strand weaving bamboo, we see why designers would recommend it. While not all bamboo is going to be good for homes with pets, strand woven varieties have rated as high as 3014 on the Janka hardness scale, more than 600 points higher than even Brazilian Cherry, one of the hardest woods commonly used for flooring.

Other tips for choosing a hardwood to handle pet traffic

  • Try to choose a stain that is similar to the natural color of the wood – this will keep scratches from showing up too starkly.
  • Though gloss finishes are going out of style, we thought it worth mentioning that these high-maintenance finishes are especially difficult to keep up in houses with pets.  A matte or semi-gloss finish will be a much better option if you have a dog.
  • Hand-scraped floors, on the other hand, continue to be a popular style choice and their texture works wonders for hiding scratches and dings that a dog’s nails can make in the wood.
  • Check out our earlier post for more tips about choosing the right hardwood for your dog.
  • Consider other aspects of your life to make the right hardwood flooring decision.
Categories
Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance Pets

Hardwood, Pets, and Vacuuming: 6 Most Recommended Machines

In the first part of this two-part series, we offered general floor maintenance advice to consider when choosing a vacuum for your hardwood, especially if you have pets around.  These days, more and more manufacturers are coming out with vacuum cleaners that claim to work miracles on the dirt, hair, and general messes that animals can leave around the house.

Unfortunately, many of these are designed more for carpet and upholstery and can be ineffective on bare floors and even cause damage to your hardwood. While some homeowners and landlords opt not to allow pets in their homes, this isn’t always an option — our furry friends are more than often part of the family. So, you need to know your best vacuum and cleaning options.

Several machines are great for cleaning both hardwood and carpets/ upholstery.  To help you pick the best, we did some research and came up with the list below.  Of course, no poll of this kind can be truly complete, and we know that a lot of variables besides the ones mentioned factor in when it comes to choosing the right vacuum cleaner.  But in case you’re not up for hours of internet research and on-site testing, here are what we found to be the most recommended vacuum cleaners specifically designed or easily adjusted for use on hardwood floors that also offer the power and flexibility needed for cleaning up after pets.

 

Make
Model
Style
Price
Weight
Cord length
Accessories / Features
What makes it great
Bissell PowerEdge Pet Hard Floor Corded Vacuum, 81L2A (or 81L2T) Stick- Bagless $50 7.5 lbs 20 ft
  • squeegee strip in place of standard bristles
  • Swivel head
Recommended across the board; designed for bare and wood floor surfaces but can also vacuum area rugs and low pile carpeting; V-shaped design offers wide and precise cleaning angle; superior suction takes care of even larger debris like pet food and litter
Eureka 3670G Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum Canister $60-70 8.6 lbs 20 ft
  • Blower Port
  • Bare Floor Brush
  • Crevice Tool
  • Dusting Brush
  • Bag lasts 3 – 6 mos.
Recommended across the board; can also be used as a blower; very versatile, can be used all around the house (drapes, floors, garage, furniture)
Miele S2121 Olympus Canister Vacuum Cleaner Canister $329 11 lbs 21 ft (29.5 ft operating radius)
  • Retractable cord
  • crevice nozzle
  • dusting brush
  • upholstery tool
  • self-closing dustbag collar
Recommended across the board; powerful motor; very versatile; built to last; 7-Year Warranty
Hoover Linx Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner, BH50010 Stick- Bagless $130-180 7.3 lbs Cordless;
15 – 20 min average battery runtime, takes about 3 hrs to fully charge
  • interchangeable battery with charger
  • convenient brushroll on/off switch
  • Fuel Gauge registers remaining battery life
  • edge cleaning bristles
  • wide cleaner mouth
  • extreme recline handle and low-profile base to reach far under furniture easily
  • bottom release dirt cup

 

Frequently recommended; removable battery and separate charger mean you don’t have to find a place for a dock; picks up everything from pet hair to Cheerios, no problem; surprisingly powerful; can also be used on short and mid-pile carpeting
Hoover Air Cordless Series 3.0 Bagless Upright Vacuum, BH50140 Upright- Bagless $300 Less than
10 lbs
Cordless;
50 minutes average battery runtime 
  • swivel head
  • special hard floor brush roll
  • removable cleaning wand
  • pivoting dusting tool
  • 2-in-1 cleaning tool
  • high capacity bottom-release dirt cup
Frequently recommended; also does a great job on carpet and rugs; 5-Year Limited Warranty on Vacuum and Batteries
Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright (NV356E) Upright-Bagless $150-180 14.0 lbs
(full unit); canister is 8.0 lbs
on its own
30 ft
  • Never-Lose-Suction technology
  • Swivel Steering
  • Lift-away portable canister
  • Brushroll on/off capability
  • Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology™
  • Dust-Away™ hard floor attachment
  • premium pet power brush
  • extra-long crevice tool
  • lifetime HEPA filter
Frequently recommended; great for all types of floors; one of the best vacuums for allergy sufferers; the portable lift-away canister turns the upright into a lightweight canister, great for stairs, drapes, etc.; 5-Year Warranty

BONUS Coming Soon (we hope):  Though it is not on the market in the U.S. yet, we understand from Dyson Japan that the new Dyson Fluffy (DC74) may be the hardwood vacuum cleaner of our dreams.  It has a soft roller made of tiny microfiber bristles in place of traditional upright brush rollers, enabling it to wipe the dust off the floor without scratching.  Combine that with Dyson’s signature mastery of cordless, lightweight machines with powerful suction, and, well, it’s hard to imagine anything better.  You can check out the preview of the Fluffy at Gizmodo.

Categories
Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance Pets

Hardwood, Pets, and Vacuuming: General Advice

Here at MacDonald Hardwoods, we get a lot of questions about how to choose the right hardwood for a home with pets.  But what about maintaining your hardwood once you and your pets move in?

The key to keeping hardwood beautiful, pets or no pets, is keeping it clean.  When dust is allowed to accumulate on your hardwood, it becomes like very fine sandpaper underfoot, slowly rubbing away the finish and causing your floor to appear dull and uneven.  One of the best ways to do that, especially when dogs or cats are tracking dirt and dust around throughout the day, is to vacuum or dry mop several times a week.

What to use?  Well, we have a favorite dry mop that we recommend and even sell in our store, but there are a variety of options. Try to make sure that, whatever you use, the head is made of soft cotton, terry, or microfiber cloth that will attract even the smallest dust particles and will not scratch your finish.   Also, whether mopping, sweeping or vacuuming, always try to go with the grain of the wood; this will enable you to capture those little bits that may have filtered down between boards or into the ridges.

More and more often, people have started using vacuum cleaners to remove dust, dirt, and pet hair from their hardwood floors.  They can be more effective for getting the smaller particles out from between hardwood planks and for getting into the tight areas where the wood meets the wall.  Many vacuum cleaners also have filters designed to remove allergens, including pet dander, from the environment.  There are some things to be careful of when using a vacuum cleaner on your hardwood, though.

1. SAY NO TO BRUSHES.

First and foremost, never use the beater brush typical of most vacuum cleaners on a bare floor.  Not only will it scatter dust and debris away from the suction of the vacuum, the hard, but powerfully spinning bristles will also cause damage to hardwood finishes.  Most modern vacuum cleaners have a switch that allows you to raise or still the rotating brushes.  Many also have unique heads or pads designed especially for hardwood that can be attached to the vacuum hose or cleaning head.

2. BEWARE OF BAD WHEELS.

You will want to make sure that any wheels that will be rolling over the surface of your floor use higher-quality rubber, rather than cheap plastic.  The hard plastic can easily scratch hardwood.  Even rubber wheels should be checked to make sure they are free of debris before they come in contact with your floors.  It is for this reason that canister vacuum cleaners are often more popular with hardwood floors owners, as their bulk remains relatively stationary while you clean.

3. THINK ABOUT LARGER DEBRIS. 

With pets, you also want to consider whether your vacuum cleaner is powerful enough and designed to pick up larger debris like pet food, kitty litter, or the unrecognizable remains of whatever it was your new puppy just devoured.  If you try to clean these things up with a low-quality vacuum, you will end up pushing and dragging them around under the machine, leaving a mess at best and damaging your hardwood.  It is better to gently sweep debris up before vacuuming or to use a machine specifically designed with this in mind (we mention a few below).

4. DON’T MAKE A MESS CLEANING YOUR CLEANER.

An increasing number of vacuum cleaners these days utilize a bagless collection method, which allows you remove a canister, empty it out, and replace it for reuse.  Some of these, though, can cause a real mess when you open them.  You want to make sure that your vacuum’s disposal process is not going to make an even bigger mess than what you started out with, so consider machines that use bags or that have self-sealing collars or dust cups and smooth-release mechanisms.

5. CONSIDER THE WEIGHT.

When vacuuming carpeting, having the extra weight of a sturdy upright can be helpful for getting down to the grit that tends to get embedded in the pad and deep fibers.  The opposite is true for bare floors.  With hardwood, you want a machine that is light and agile.   Everything you need to clean is right there on the surface, so you don’t need the extra weight, and the heavier your vacuum cleaner, the more likely it is to cause scratches as it rolls over the floor, especially on turns.

There is a lot of information out there about which vacuum cleaners are best for hardwoods floors, and there is a lot of information about which ones are best for collecting pet hair and other pet-related debris.   Check out our Guide to the Most Recommended Machines to learn more about which vacuum cleaners seem to excel at both.