We have dogs. And we know that we want hardwood floors in our log home. But dogs can ruin beautiful hardwood flooring in no time.
We know… Been there done that!
Our Current Hardwood Flooring
When we built the home we’re currently living in, we chose hardwood flooring throughout the entire first floor.
It didn’t matter. Because we were absolutely clueless about hardwood flooring at that time anyway. We ended up choosing a lighter shade of brown (more like “blonde”) oak wood floor. It’s solid wood, but it’s not the most durable under the heavy feet of 2 (for awhile there, it was 3) 70+ pound dogs!
The hardwood floors we currently have (see in these photos):
Bruce hardwood floors – solid oak – natural – dura-luster plus (urethane) finish – 3/4″ x 2-1/4″
Wear & Tear From Dogs
The bad part: The doorway to the fenced-in backyard is through the kitchen — the showcase room for all of that beautiful hardwood flooring!
And worse yet: The section of flooring that’s nearest the door has become extremely dented, pitted, and dirty in appearance — as a result of our dogs’ repeated visits to the great outdoors.
It’s partly our fault, because we taught our dogs to “drop” anything that they have in their mouth at the door, before they can go outside. Sometimes that’s a stuffed toy, and other times it’s a heavy bone from the meat counter at the grocery store!
Early on, when we were first training them to do this nifty behavior, the dents & pits weren’t noticeable at all. It wasn’t until a year or so of this type of activity that we started to notice that the dirt & grime had begun to accumulate inside of those dents and pits! And once it’s in there, there’s no getting it out.
Best I can tell, aside from refinishing the flooring, we’re pretty much stuck with yucky looking hardwood flooring near the back door entrance in this house.
It’s really hard to tell from these photos, but if you look close enough, you can see that the floor on the right is chipped, dented, and it looks kind of grimey where dirt and dust have settled into the cracks. The urethane finish has definitely been put to the test near the back door. In person, it’s very noticeable.
The Best Flooring Choice For Dogs?
Now, fast-forward to our new, soon-to-be-built log home… and you can bet we’ve done some homework about hardwood flooring at this point!
While we still haven’t decided on the exact wood or style we’re going with, hopefully, we’ll be able to find a hardwood flooring that will be better at withstanding years of normal wear & tear, plus the added heavy traffic from our dogs. (We know we’re getting a darker wood this time. We have 2 black labs that shed a lot, and every little thing you can do to help “hide” that helps… even if it is just an illusion!)
At this point, we’re looking at Hickory as the wood choice. And definitely a wider plank than usual. (We currently have 3/4″ x 2-1/4″ wood planks and they’re just so small… and traditional.)
We also like the rustic, natural looking wood — that’s already pitted & stained, yet still looks clean and new.
I’ll be sure to add an update to this post once we make our final decision…
In general, here are some guidelines:
- HARD WOODS: (most durable) oak, cherry, maple, hickory, elm, balsa, mahogany, sycamore
- SOFT WOODS: (dent easily) birch, cedar, pine, redwood, fir, larch
Q: Can dogs scratch hardwood floors?
A: Yes. Even with the new stronger finishes, a dog’s nails can scratch wood flooring. The best prevention is to keep nails trimmed. Scratches can be repaired with a touch-up kit. If damage is extensive, you can lightly sand and apply a new varnish coat. – Bella Wood
Have Any Advice?
Have you found a hardwood floor that is durable and holds up to the day to day traffic of dog paws?
If so, please do share!
Or, feel free to share any tips that you’ve learned, or things you’ve heard along the way. Anything you can add to this discussion of dogs and hardwood floors will save future home builders with dogs both money and frustration in the long run.