If you are dying to upgrade your home to hardwood floors but you have been resistant to committing to the idea due to your dog or cat, you should know that there is no need to avoid hardwood flooring all together. There are a number of things that you can do to ensure that you can have the hardwood floors of your dreams that won't be immediately scratched up and ruined by your pets.
Avoid Pergo Flooring
Pergo flooring tends to be cheaper to buy and install, easier to maintain, and looks just like real hardwood. Although this sounds appealing, Pergo flooring is a bad idea in the long run. The cheaper upfront cost means fewer quality materials that will go under your feet. Since it's not real wood, get used to the idea of your furry buddies scratching, dinging, and staining the floor almost immediately and often. You don't clean a Pergo floor like you would a standard hardwood floor. If you have pets that means cleaning it more often, which will quickly begin to offset the savings you made up front, turning it into a long-term hassle you have to deal with for years. Most professionals just recommend avoiding having Pergo installed to avoid the problems that come with pets and Pergo.
Select A Durable (Harder) Wood
You have some options in this area depending on your specific taste but try to remember the harder, the better. Brazilian variants of walnut, ebony, cherry and teak are very hard woods and will work, as will natural strand bamboo and hickory. You can even use oak if you prefer the look and feel. ¾" depth is typically recommended for hardwood floors as this depth allows the hardwood to be more resilient in general. Since you're buying for years ahead of you, make sure it's something you're not going to mind getting refinished later on down the line.
Select the Right Finish
The general rule of thumb is here is to make sure to use a tougher finish as the first finish on your hardwood floors. Waterborne finish products will provide a tougher bonding that will make it a lot harder for pets to scratch up and crack. This type of finish also makes it harder for the finish to wear through due to cleaning and foot traffic, which is worth considering if you deal with a lot of stains and other debris.
The downside to this tough finish is the upfront cost. However, most find it worth the upfront cost, as it will save you from paying for the labor and additional cost of re-sanding all the flooring in your homes that would have to be done with a weaker finish. If you decide on a water-based finish, check to make sure it does not contain any potentially poisonous additives. If you avoid water-based finishes altogether, an oil base finish is safe for your pets and good for your floors
Keep Those Claws Clipped
If you've got a 4-legged friend running around with long nails, you're not going to keep the shiny finish on your floor for too long. Many people put off trimming a dog or cat's nails over fear of hurting the animal, but even a light trim on a regular basis can keep the nails dull enough to not scratch up the new hardwood floor. If you aren't comfortable clipping your pets nails, have a professional do it. Remember, the heavier the animal, the harder the scratch it will leave.
There are a few other things that you can do to help keep your floors looking great, like placing area rugs around the room and refinishing your hardwood floor periodically. If you take the above-listed tips into consideration when having your hardwood flooring installed, it will be sure to avoid being horribly scratched and look great for many years to come.