Although they may be cute and cuddly and able to fetch your slippers, pets can often wreak havoc on your home, especially on your floors. Claws are the biggest reason pet owners’ floors get a fierce workout. It’s important to keep your pet’s nails nice and trimmed, but many people get busy, the claws get a bit long and the floors get more than a bit scratched. You can try to lay down a bunch of carpet runners, but getting your pets to “Stay on the sidewalk” as it were, is a challenge.
There’s also the issue of tracking in mud, dirt, stones and other debris. People can potentially track in these floor killers as well, but people can wipe their feet before entering and no matter how hard you try to train your dog or cat to wipe their paws, it usually doesn’t happen.
What Floors Hold Up the Best?
Ceramic tile floors are obviously very hard, won’t scratch, and can easily be cleaned, but they aren’t a very warm flooring to have all throughout your house. For this reason most people want wood floors – nothing beats the warmth and beauty that wood floors offer. But wood and pets don’t mix really well, right? Well, that depends on the wood.
Hardwoods are Good, Softwoods, Not so Much…
You’ve seen those gorgeous shots of old renovated barns or carriage houses where the original wide pine floorboards have been left intact. They’re stunning. But pine is a soft wood and, as the name suggests, soft woods are soft and very easily scratched. If you’re a homeowner who also happens to be a pet owner, stay away from soft woods like pine and fir.
Brazilian hardwood floors are pretty dense and durable and can be a good choice. A popular Brazilian hardwood is called Ipe, also known as Brazilian walnut, and is so tough that some people even use it on their decks. Brazilian hardwoods tend to be quite pricey though, so if you have a strict renovation budget, this may not be the flooring choice for you.
A domestic hardwood that’s popular and a good choice in a home with pets is maple. Hard maple has been used for years as a surface for basketball courts which means it should be able to stand up against the wear and tear of pets, especially those trained to dribble a ball. Hard maple should not however be confused with any other type of maple. If you want to be sure the maple will be durable enough, make sure it called hard maple, also known as sugar or rock maple. Although not as expensive as the Brazilian hardwoods, maple is still a bit pricey in its own right costing anywhere from $10 – $15 per square foot.
Although it is not technically a wood but a grass, bamboo is often classified as a wood because it can be subjected to the Janka test. Bamboo not only is a greener option as it can regenerate in a matter of 3-5 years as opposed to the 20 plus years it takes hardwoods to regenerate, and very durable as well. Bamboo flooring cost is very affordable, especially compared to traditional hardwoods. This durability is a result of three varying factors: placement of the stalks, added materials such as resins, and the original quality of the bamboo.
Bamboo flooring can be made as hard and as durable as traditional hardwoods. For example, Traditional construction bamboo has a Janka ranking of 900-1300 which is as hard as red oak. Strand-woven bamboo floors can reach Janka levels as high as 2000-3200 which makes them as hard as the Brazilian hardwoods, but much less expensive.
The cost-effectiveness, eco-friendliness and durability of bamboo means you can keep Fluffy and Whiskers and still have gorgeous-looking floors in your home all year long.