If hardwood floors have any natural enemies, it is dogs and cats. Dogs are typically a little harder on floors than cats. They’re more likely to urinate on a hardwood floor, and they tend to be heavier. So, their claws dig a little bit harder into the hardwood floor. Those are the two big dangers from dogs: claws and urine. There are different woods that will hold up better than others; there are also ways to treat the wood to make it more resilient to dogs.
Woods are ranked on the janka hardness scale. The scale measures the amount of force needed to press a metal ball halfway into the wood. It’s an odd way to measure but all you need to know is where the woods rank relative to others. White oak and red oak are generally around 1300 on the hardness scale. They are the most common woods used for American hardwood floors. For contrast, Brazilian cherry is 2820 on the scale. Brazilian ebony is near the top of the scale. It’s about 3692 on the scale.
For several reasons, imported hardwoods tend to be harder than domestic woods. So, if you’re looking for the wood most likely to stand up to your dog the longest, you should probably consider something imported. Hickory is typically 1820 on the hardness scale; it’s the hardest widely-available flooring wood produced in the United States.
Textured woods are a little easier on the dogs because they have something that they can grip as they walk around. Your dogs will be less likely to slide around on the floor trying to gain traction. Your dogs will likely appreciate that, but also, it will reduce the amount of scratching. Textured woods that have knots, burls, holes, and scrapes will also hide scratches better. If the hardwood is already finished in a rustic manner, a few more scratches won’t stand out.
Prefinished or Site-Finished?
Prefinished hardwood is finished in a factory with a heat-cured finish. It is a very thick and hard finish that will last a long time. A site-finished floor is typically finished with polyurethane that will scratch a little bit faster. However, it can be difficult or even impossible to sand and repair prefinished hardwood. Depending on the hardwood, it could be more hassle than it’s worth. A site-finished floor can be screened and refinished fairly easily.
The finish on the floor will also be what protects it from urine. These are a few of the things to consider when choosing a hardwood floor.