Hardwood flooring is popular with homeowners of many different incomes and different stages of life. However, one type of homeowner is particularly concerned about hardwood floors. That would be dog owners. Dogs are notorious for damaging hardwood floors with their claws. Additionally, dogs often have a hard time gaining traction on the hardwood floor as they run around. To accommodate that, homeowners often choose hardwoods that are compatible with their dogs. Here are a few suggestions for dog-friendly floors.
Typically, domestic hardwoods are not as hard as certain exotic hardwoods. However, homeowners who are committed to buying domestic hardwoods can typically find ones that are hard enough to resist scratching from dog’s claws. The most common domestic hardwoods used in flooring in the United States are oak, hickory, maple, and cherry. For the purposes of finding the hardest ones, you should consider the janka hardness scale.
The janka hardness scale is a scale that measures the foot pounds of pressure required to press a steel ball into the surface of a piece of wood. The higher the number, the harder the wood. Red oak is a 1290 on the janka hardness scale, and white oak is a 1360. These are two of the most prominent domestic hardwoods. Hickory is 1820 on the scale. Oak and hickory are the two most common woods suggested for dog owners. Oak and hickory will still scratch over time, but your dog will not do significant damage to the hardwood on a day to day basis. If you want something that is closer to scratch proof, you should consider a wood over 2000 on the scale.
The finish on the wood is also important to determine how well it will hold up against your dog’s claws. Hardwood is typically finished with wax, oil, or polyurethane. Oil penetrates into the pores of the wood to preserve it but it does not protect against physical damage. Wax protects against moisture but not against scratches and dents. Polyurethane is the best defense against scratching and denting. Polyurethane is a liquid plastic that can be applied over the wood to form a protective shell.
You can also choose prefinished hardwood. Prefinished hardwood is finished in a factory; the factory will use an aluminum oxide finish that is then baked at extreme heat. The high heat and the aluminum finish create a very hard finish that is difficult to scratch.