But you protest! Max, Rupert, Aloysius, Mabel, Margie, or whatever might be the name of your Golden Retriever, Chocolate Lab, or Basset, would look so adorable sprawled on the Brazilian Cherry in front of the fireplace. You're 100% correct. So that's why, instead of steering you to ceramic tile or a similarly scratch-proof surface, we have to seriously deal with the question of which wood floor is best for your dog!
What's the Problem at Hand...or Paw?Claws are the main issue--unless you're prepared to declaw your Golden. Urine is next. Maybe that's not an issue with your dog (great), but then we have the ancillary problems of mud, dirt, rocks. Everyone tracks in debris, animal and human alike, but when you have a dog the problem is magnified.
All of those things still pale in comparison to claw-induced scratches. Lay out as many runners as you like: Fido will not remain confined to them, guaranteed.
Types of Flooring You WantThis is a list of ideas; not all conditions need to be met.
- Hardwoods, not soft. Soft wood such as pine or fir are poor choices for houses with dogs. No amount of surface prep can shield against dog claws.
- Solid hardwood, not engineered wood. Engineered wood flooring is a sandwich of laminated wood with a real hardwood veneer on top. Engineered wood flooring is a superior product, but it raises red flags for a dog-inhabited homes. Engineered wood can take only a limited number of light sandings. Scratch marks might be able to be sanded down hard--once. But you've used up your Get Our of Jail Free card. A second deep sanding poses a risk of exposing the structural wood beneath.
- Every major flooring manufacturer steers consumers with dogs away from wood flooring and toward more pet-friendly flooring. If you just want a minimally acceptable wood look, laminate flooring looks a bit like wood, and it holds up well against claws. Vinyl flooring with the look of wood in sheet, tile, and plank form are great for households with dogs.
1. Brazilian Walnut or IpeBrazilian hardwood flooring is universally hard and dense. Beyond that, it's mostly a matter of personal preference. Ipe, often called Brazilian walnut, is hard enough that it's even used on exterior decks.
2. Hard MapleIf you're looking for flooring on the domestic front, hard maple may be the way to go. Hard maple has long been used as a surface for basketball courts, so it should stand up well to pet traffic. Hard maple can hit a Janka rating of 1,450 or higher. Don't confuse hard maple with just any old maple. It's a specific type, alternately called sugar or rock maple.
According to industry group Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (MFMA), hard maple "is produced from trees grown north of the 38th parallel [roughly above a longitudinal line drawn between San Francisco and Richmond, VA] where shorter growing seasons produce maple with closer, more uniform grain."
Bamboo - Strand-Woven and FossilizedBamboo is a grass, not a wood, but in the flooring industry it is often classified as wood and can be subjected to a Janka test, too.
Bamboo flooring is very durable, but only as a result of the manufacturing process that impregnates the grass with hard resins. I mention the Cali brand of bamboo flooring because its Janka rating is an astronomical 5,000. Compare this to a Janka of 2,000 to 3,000 for conventional strand-woven bamboo flooring.