The Top 4 Tips for Maintaining Wood Floors with Pets
Can hardwood floors and family pets coexist? Or do you have to sacrifice the floor of your dreams because of your pets?
The good news is that with realistic expectations of both pets and the flooring material, pets and hardwood floors can live happily ever after. All hardwood floors will eventually suffer scratches, dents and dings but proper maintenance and selecting the correct species will help keep them looking great for decades.
We’ve collected some of the top tips from floor care professionals for all pet loving homeowners to make everyone’s life a little easier.
1. Choose wood with a high hardness rating.
If you’re installing a new hardwood floor, select a species of wood with a high hardness rating. You’ll still have to keep your pet’s claws neatly trimmed, but a harder, more scratch resistant wood will help keep damages to a minimum. Among the hardest species are:
- Brazilian Teak
- Southern Chestnut
- North American Maple
- Natural Bamboo
- White Oak
Choose a 3/4 inch hardwood for the best performance. You may also want to try vinyl claw covers that are available in sized for cats and dogs in pet supply stores.
Laminate floors may be a better choice for a pet loving family. Laminate wood can be more dog friendly, but it is also vulnerable scratching and especially to excess moisture, both from water and pet accidents.
2. Have a plan for pet accidents.
Sooner or later, as a pet owner you’ll be dealing with stains on your floors.
- Clean up pet vomit or urine as soon as possible.
- Try water and vinegar to neutralize the uric acid and ammonia odors.
- Dry the area thoroughly.
- For tougher odors, try a natural enzyme cleaner like Nature’s Miracle.
If despite all your efforts you still have lingering pet odor, the problem may be an old, dried urine stain.
A small hand-held black light can detect the invisible source of the odors so that you can clean them. It’s important to remember that if urine has soaked into the wood, there is a high likelihood that you will need to replace one or more floor boards. We suggest leaving this job to a professional installer who can do the repair and leave your floor looking its best.
3. Protect against water damage.
Wood floors and excessive water is bad combination. Do what you can to minimize wet paws and splashing water.
- Put a protective mat under the water bowl.
- Place a rubberized mat under the bowl to keep your pet from scooting it, spilling water.
- Keep a spare bath towel by the door to remind you to always wipe their paws when they come in
- Consider installing a dog shower or bath in your mudroom.
4. Dry mop daily to clean up pet hair.
It seems like pet hair is more visible on wooden floors.
Dry mopping your floors with a statically charged cloth is the most efficient way to cope with pet hair, plus daily maintenance picks up microscopic bits of grit and debris that can damage the floor.
If you’re installing new floors and you’re partial to one breed of pet, consider selecting flooring in a color that blends with the color of your pet’s coat. Then, if you miss a day of mopping, it won’t be as noticeable.
Finally, if your wood floors are starting to look a little too abused by your pets, consider sanding and refinishing them. Call us, we can help!