Just about every homeowner loves hardwood flooring. There is one group that often finds they don’t care for it: pets. There are two main concerns with pets and hardwood flooring. First, the pet’s claws have a tendency to scratch the hardwood flooring. Secondly, pets sometimes have a hard time if the hardwood is slippery. The slippery, hard floor can be painful on the joints of old animals. There are some things you can do to alleviate those concerns. If you’re committed to hardwood flooring, here are the things you should look for.
Janka Hardness Scale
You should look for a hardwood floor material that rates highly on the janka hardness scale; this is a scale of the relative hardnesses of wood. The lower numbers indicate a softer wood. For hardwood flooring woods, the softest tend to be domestic cherry and walnut woods. Just because they are softer on the scale does not mean they will be noticeably softer, though. They just might be more likely to scratch.
On the higher end of the scale, there are woods such as Brazilian cherry and Brazilian walnut. They make for much more scratch-resistant floors. Of the domestic woods, North American maple is typically about the middle of the road. It will give you some of the scratch resistance you’re looking for while also being a little more affordable than an exotic wood.
Finishing a Floor
You should also consider how the floor is finished. The most common finish on a floor is polyurethane, which is basically a liquid plastic. It’s applied and allowed to dry, creating a hard plastic coating over your wooden floor. It will degrade over time through natural wear and tear.
However, before the finish is applied, the wood can be treated in several ways. There are a few different trends in hardwood flooring that have become popular that your pet might be thankful for. One of these trends is towards wire brushed or hand scraped wood. Wire brushed hardwood is wood that has been brushed with a stiff-bristled brush. The stiff bristles scrape some of the wood to create tiny scratches along the surface. It adds texture to the wood and can improve traction on slippery floors.
A hand scraped wooden floor is a relic of a time before power tools. Before floors were sanded smooth, they were actually scraped with a knife. That creates inconsistencies in the surface of the wood, which can improve your pet’s traction as well. Both of these options can be very helpful.