Your pet can bring a lot of life and love to your home. They can also bring a lot of mess. From claws shuffling against your floors to clumps of fur hiding in the corners of every room, every pet owner knows that your furry friends require some routine cleaning measures. Fortunately, there are a few home additions that can make it easier for your rooms to withstand the excitement of house pets. Engineered hardwood floors provide great durability and style, allowing them to stay beautiful for years to come—even in a busy household. However, even within the realm of hardwood flooring, some choices are better than others. From the species of wood to the design of each plank, the right options can help your home hold up against pets, messes, and the other mishaps your active family may bring. To help you find the perfect addition to your home, here’s our guide on choosing the best hardwood floors for pets.
Why You Should Choose Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Before we get into all the details to consider for your hardwood floors, it’s important to know why you should choose engineered hardwood flooring in the first place. Hardwood floors are a popular option for a reason. They add lasting beauty—and therefore resale value—to any home. Their strength and durability also means they can stand the test of time. When it comes to owning pets, hardwood floors make it easier to clean up any hair or accidents. They also don’t hold dust, dander, and other allergens the way carpet does. While solid hardwood doesn’t hold up well against spills or other water damage, engineered hardwood flooring has better moisture resistance. This means it’s less likely to warp or lose its shape in the event of spills, leaks, or other water damage. Overall, the biggest concern when choosing hardwood flooring as a pet owner is how scratch-resistant your flooring is. That’s where the following factors come into play.
Pick a Hard, Durable Wood
The most important part of choosing the best hardwood flooring for pets is to pick the right species of wood. Every wood species has a different hardness level, from the soft, warm red oak to hard and durable hickory. Harder, denser woods hold up better against heavy traffic and high activity levels, making them ideal for any home that has furry friends running around. Hickory, white oak, and hard maple engineered hardwood flooring are all fantastic options for your home. These wood species are less likely to dent or scratch because of a heavy step or untrimmed claws. This means you don’t have to worry as much about concealing scratches or refinishing your floors after a while. Stronger hardwoods also hold up better against the general test of time. Pay attention to the hardness of your hardwood flooring species before you make your final choice.
Disguise Flaws with Beautiful Grain
Of course, no flooring is impenetrable. No matter what you choose, accidents are bound to happen eventually. When your dog’s feet slide a little too harshly against the floor or your cat knocks something heavy off the counter, you’re going to want a floor that disguises the resulting damage. If your floor has a smooth and consistent appearance, even the smallest scratches or dents will be glaringly obvious. Strong grain patterns do a great job of hiding imperfections in your floor. Growth rings and other natural patterns leave designs in the wood. Species like hickory and oak have heavy natural graining that make it easy for small flaws to disappear within the patterns. This same concept applies to the grade of your hardwood floor. Character marks like knots, worm holes, and streaks from mineral deposits do more than simply create a natural, authentic look for your floors. They also help hide the minor damage your home is sure to see over the years.
...Or with the Right Texture
Another way to hide the scratches and dents that your flooring picks up over the years is with the right hardwood flooring textures. A completely smooth engineered hardwood floor makes it easy to catch imperfections. A textured floor, on the other hand, helps those marks blend in with the original design. Distressed surface textures like wire brushing or scraping will camouflage scratches well. This type of flooring also gives your home a natural, vintage appearance that is overall more forgiving of minor imperfections. Reclaimed wood is another forgiving option for pets and their owners. Plus, choosing reclaimed wood allows you to create a greener, more environmentally-responsible home.
Lighten Up the Room
The color of your hardwood flooring also plays a major role in how well it holds up against your beloved pets. Lighter colors do a better job of disguising imperfections than darker wood colors. This is because scratches or other marks create a sharper contrast against darker hardwoods. On the other hand, lighter colors don’t show scratches as obviously. Lighter hardwood floors also do a better job of hiding pet hair, which can stand out against the striking tones of a darker floor. It’s also a good idea to match your hardwood flooring color to your pet’s hair. Light-haired animals will blend in well with lighter floors when they shed. Meanwhile, darker-haired pets would do better with mid-tone floors that won’t show as much hair while also holding up against scratches and other damage.
Choose Your Finish Carefully
Once you’ve carefully chosen the type of engineered hardwood flooring you want in your home, it’s time to choose a pet-friendly finish. A scratch-resistant finish helps protect the surface of your floors from the damage of running paws. You should also look for low-sheen or matte finishes. While glossy floors are appealing, they reflect more light and make it easier to see any imperfections that find their way into your floors. A lower-gloss finish will help hide scratches and pet hair, making your floors look more beautiful for a longer time.
Keep Your Floors Beautiful for Years to Come
No matter what type of engineered hardwood flooring and finish you choose, having a pet still requires some maintenance. Part of living in a happy, active home means that your floors are going to see some damage over the years, but you can preserve them as much as possible with the proper care and maintenance. Make sure you clean up spills and accidents right away to prevent moisture damage in your hardwood floors. You can also use scratch concealer to fix any minor damage that happens as a result of excited little paws. With a little work and care, you can keep your floors looking great for years to come, no matter how many furry friends are part of your family.