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What Is the Best Hardwood Flooring for Dogs?

Shiba inu standing on hardwood floor.

Hardwood floors are incredibly popular in new homes and renovations alike. However, canine claws and hardwood flooring don’t always mix. Even if you trim your dog’s nails, shallow gouges could still occur if you have an excitable pup. Pet messes can also warp and stain wood flooring.

The answer is not to adjust the dog to the floor but to choose dog-friendly hardwood flooring in the first place. Here’s a look at the best hardwood options to withstand pet accidents and scratches.

Best Hardwood Floor Species for Dogs

Softwoods such as pine, cherry, and fir are poor choices for households with dogs. Instead, you should opt for the hardest hardwoods you can find. Here are the top options:

  • Brazilian walnut, also known as ipe or lapacho, is a dense tropical wood sourced from forests in Central and South America. It’s resilient enough for outdoor decking, so you can trust it to withstand canine antics as well.
  • Hard maple has long been used as a surface for basketball courts, which is a testament to its durability.
  • Bamboo is actually grass, not wood. However, it’s often grouped with hardwood flooring because bamboo is manufactured with resins that make it as durable as other hardwood species.
  • Hickory is excellent at resisting and hiding scratches thanks to its durable nature and prominent grain pattern.
  • White oak grows in colder climates, which promotes close grain growth and dense fibers for durable hardwood flooring.

Other Characteristics to Consider

In addition to choosing a robust wood species, consider these other qualities that help hardwood flooring withstand any damage from your furry family members:

  • Solid wood floors: Engineered wood made from sandwiched layers of laminated wood and topped with a real hardwood veneer can only be sanded and refinished once. On the other hand, solid wood can be refinished numerous times without risking structural damage. This is good news if your dog severely scratches your floor.
  • Pre-finished wood floors: Consider flooring that is factory-stained and sealed with a scratch-resistant finish. One of the best options is a multi-layer UV urethane with an aluminum oxide additive. This thick, durable finish protects the wood underneath from pet claws and liquid stains.
  • Low sheen: A glossy floor magnifies every dent and scratch, while a matte finish hides imperfections better.
  • Distressed wood floors: Distressed wood comes with imperfections built in. This gives your home a rustic, weathered look, with floors that camouflage any future dents from your pet’s claws.
  • Light surface finish: Dark floors tend to reveal scratches and make pet hair stand out. Therefore, a lighter finish is preferable for dog owners.

Non-Wood Floor Alternatives

If you want hard flooring, but you hope to avoid the risks that come with pet ownership, consider these alternatives to hardwood:

  • Cork flooring is harvested from the bark of living cork oak trees. The bark is ground up and compressed into sheets, which make for soft, non-slip flooring. The spongy material resists gouging and is easy to repair when necessary.
  • Laminate flooring comes in high-quality, textured versions that look and feel like wood but are more scratch-resistant. They are also better at withstanding moisture from accidents and spills.
  • Luxury vinyl plank flooring is available in virtually limitless colors and textures, replicating the appearance of hardwood with superior dent-resistant features.
  • Luxury vinyl tile flooring is a long-lasting, durable, and affordable alternative to hardwood. It’s scratchproof, soil-resistant, and low-maintenance, making it ideal for any dog owner.

Install Hardwood Flooring for Dogs in DC, Baltimore, or Northern Virginia

AG Construction is a licensed hardwood floor installer dedicated to providing our customers with the highest-quality products and professional installation services available. We have over a decade of experience installing, refinishing, and restoring hardwood floors in the DMV area. We also specialize in non-wood alternatives to meet your needs as a pet owner.

For help selecting dog-friendly flooring or to schedule an installation estimate, please contact us today!