One of the reasons why customers decide against hardwood floors is because they have pets. The concern is that the floors will be damaged and scratched, but actually, this is a myth. There may be a few challenges along the way, but if you understand your hardwood floor, you can easily take preventative measures and create a maintenance schedule; that easily means your beautiful hardwood floors can coexist in harmony with your beloved furry friends. Periodically, deep maintenance, such as the services provided at Manchester Floor Sanding, will be needed, but generally, on a day-to-day basis, a few simple tips and tricks can keep your house looking beautiful.
Keep Nails Short
It is fair to say that our cats and dogs have stronger nails than we do because it harks back to the days when they had to hunt and kill their own prey. Cats, in particular, can still be predators and bring you the odd gift of love in the form of a mouse or bird. Their claws can damage the flooring surface, but if you keep your pets close trimmed, there is less chance of any damage to your hardwood floors.
Know When to Trim Nails
A good indicator is the sound of nails on the floor as your dog or cat walks around the room. At this point, you should either trim the nails yourself or book your pet in with a groomer to do it for you. The weight of your pet also plays a part in the potential damage, cats tend to be quite lightweight, and therefore there isn’t a lot of pressure coming through their legs into the floor, but large breed dogs or a whole other story.
Add Runners and Rugs
You will also notice that some dogs can struggle to walk on hardwood floors because they’re quite slippery. If they can’t get a good grip, they tend to slip and scrabble, which obviously has the potential of damaging the surface of the flooring because of their claws again. Cats tend to have an easier time navigating because, generally, they are more agile. However, putting down rugs or runners in areas your dogs commonly use to cross the room could make it easier for them to walk and prevent any scratching or scrambling marks from lack of grip.
Protect High Traffic Areas
Rugs and runners also make sense in all high-traffic areas, especially if you have shoes allowed in the house, as this section of hardwood flooring is going to take the most abuse from people and pets walking on it. It’s especially valuable to have a rug just inside the door, which will absorb any moisture and mud from shoes and paws before stepping out onto the hardwood flooring itself. A good rug will also add to the warmth of the room, but of course, underfloor heating is always a consideration if you want to ensure everyone has toasty toes when walking on your hardwood flooring in winter.
Clean Up Spills
Accidents happen, whether your pet knocks your coffee off the side with its tail or doesn’t make it out to the toilet in time. The most important thing to remember with any spills of liquid on hardwood floors is that a quick clean-up time prevents damage. Moisture and hardwood floors don’t really go very well together, but when it is urine, it also contains acid. This decomposes the top layer of your floor, and if it’s there for too long, a dark patch will form.
When you are cleaning up a liquid spill, use warm water and vinegar, but never use ammonia. If you spill something on a rug or runner covering your hardwood floor, you also need to act quickly and get this away from the floor until it has been thoroughly washed and dried. If you leave the rug down on the floor, the liquid will seep through and onto the floor, causing damage that may not be seen for some time.
One of the biggest culprits for urine damage is a new pet, such as a puppy, and in this case, while you are teaching them bathroom etiquette, it’s a good idea to either keep them out of the room or have puppy pads down in the area. Make sure the puppy pads are plastic-backed; otherwise, the urine will just go straight through onto the floor. It’s also not a good idea to put dog water bowls or food down on hardwood floors. These are better on tiled surfaces where they will do no damage.
Choose Your Wood with Care
The final step when it comes to having a harmonious relationship between your hardwood flooring and your pets is to make sure you choose a good harder wood species. The softer wood will get scratched and dented more easily, and this applies to other things like high heels and dropping heavy objects. If you want overall protection, the harder the wood, the better.
Next, you want to ensure that the finish on your wood floor is durable, and this might mean doubling up on your varnish layers. Protecting the floor and ensuring regular maintenance will also help, and for wood floor varnishing Manchester, why not get in touch as we can help?
Some people opt for laminate or vinyl flooring, and although these aren’t solid wood, they do have a tougher finish and are less likely to be scratched. But if hardwood flooring is your dream, do not be put off just because you have pets. Floors in a home with no pets will age over time. All flooring develops wear and tear because it’s walked on all the time. Some of this ageing, especially with hardwood floors, can actually add character and make your home look loved and lived in.
Finally, have a look at distressed hardwood, as this is perfect for hiding the minor scuffs of daily life. Whatever you decide, you can be confident that with the correct care and attention. Having a pet sharing your hardwood floors will not be a problem.