Pets and Hardwood Floors in Hopewell and Beyond
12th January 2017
Folks in Hopewell and just about everywhere else love their pets, and many also love hardwood floors. Are the two incompatible? The short answer is ‘no’. However, if you are combining pets and hardwood floors, there are some points to keep in mind for protecting your floor from damage by your own best friend, or when repairing damage done by a previous pet owner.
Solid-wood flooring can be refinished multiple times over decades or even centuries, making it an exceptionally resilient flooring material for pet owners. However, while most damage to hardwood floors by pets can be reversed through refinishing, not all can. The best protection for hardwood floors against damage by pets starts when the floor is installed.
Pet-Proofing Your Hardwood Floor
Damage to hardwood floors from pets is most often caused by one of two things: scratching with toenails and urine stains. Of the two, scratching of the hardwood floor finish with pet’s toenails is the easiest to solve and prevent, and also, probably the most likely to occur. Urine stains are potentially much more damaging.
The best defense for both problems is to keep toenails trimmed on dogs and train pets from the start to use the proper bathroom facilities. Also, if your pet has access to outdoors, consider wiping down paws before the pet enters rooms with hardwood floors. You can also put down a small mat the animal has to walk over before entering rooms with vulnerable flooring.
Here are other ways of protecting your hardwood floor from pet damage:
– If you have not yet installed the hardwood floor, consider using an especially hard species of wood as a first line of defense against pet damage. Open grained hardwoods and satin or matte finishes are also less likely to show scratching and other imperfections. Lighter colored wood and finishes conceal pet hairs and small marks better than darker colors.
– Put more coats of finish on the floor. A heavy coat of polyurethane finish absorbs scratch marks, protecting the wood underneath and also makes spot-sanding small areas possible. Use a higher quality, tougher finish for extra protection. Penetrating oils are another finish coating with a lower sheen than polyurethane, if you don’t like the glossy look.
– Maintain your hardwood floors regularly, and accept as a pet owner you may need to do it a bit more often to keep them looking their best. Hardwood floors typically need a new coat of finish every three to five years and re-sanding every ten to twenty years.
– Install rugs or floor runners in heavy traffic areas and pet zones to protect flooring. Use a breathable and absorbent barrier under pet water and food dishes if they are on hardwood floors. Even better is moving pet dishes to areas with tile or vinyl flooring.
– Kitty litter, transported on kitty paws, can be hard on hardwood flooring. Put the cat box as far away as possible from rooms with hardwood flooring and place a small rug where kitty has to walk after using the box to remove grit from paws.
Fixing Pet Damage to Hardwood Floors
The solution to scratch marks is sanding and refinishing. Often, scratch marks are only in the surface of the finish and not the underlying wood. Even if the wood itself is damaged, professional sanding and recoating can remove most scratches.
Urine stains can present a tougher problem for hardwood floors. Avoid letting this problem happen whenever possible, but if there is an accident, clean and dry the area thoroughly and as quickly as possible to minimize damage.
If urine has been on the floor for a while, or if there is an odor after wiping it up, mix one half cup vinegar in a gallon of warm water. Wet a clean rag in the solution and wipe the area thoroughly, then rinse with fresh, warm water. Allow the floor to dry for at least a week before proceeding with any further repairs.
Pet urine stains can be sanded out, as long as the damage has not gone too far. Bad stains can eat into the wood below the finish, making refinishing hard or impossible. In the worst cases of pet urine stains on hardwood floors, removing a patch of flooring and replacing it is necessary.
If you are a pet owner in Prince George area and you want help protecting, repairing, or installing a hardwood floor with pets in mind, contact an Accent on Floors specialist for a consultation.