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Wood Flooring in Pet Friendly Homes

Using timber flooring when you have cats or dogs

You like many other kiwis own a pet, a friendly companion, a furry member of the family. Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, our four-legged friends are a big part of our lives.

You have a new build or a renovation coming up and you want to have beautiful wooden floors installed in your space. Wanting to add warmth and character to your home, you find the perfect engineered wooden floor from VidaSpace, the vision is coming together.

The question all of us pet owners have on our mind is…

“Can I have both?”

“How does my pet and wooden floor co-exist?”

“Will this be suitable for my pet?”

There are a few common misconceptions about wooden floors in a pet-friendly home and some of these concerns are valid. More and more households these days have pets. Our furry little friends can be messy, shedding, scratching, surprising spills, and accidents, but this does not mean you can’t incorporate wooden floors into your dream space and design.

Every pet is different. Their breed, size, weight, energy, and personality all factors in, so this should also be considered when looking at flooring options.

With all this in mind here are some tips and tricks to having your dream wooden flooring in, alongside your furry little friend.

1. Trim or clip your pets’ claws

Your pets’ paws are holding all their body weight, so if you can imagine overgrown claws on their paws, this is what will have contact with the hard floor, or in the case of a lacquered floor it will be in contact with the lacquer. Now if your pet is bigger and or has high energy levels, they are more likely to cause damage. Coming to a stop from zooming around, they will push all their weight into the floor, causing scratches and or dents. If you routinely trim your pets’ claws this will minimise the scratching and or denting that may appear from your pets’ claws. Your pets’ claws should not create permanent damage on your hardwood floor, at most the damage they do can be sanded out. For UV Oiled floors you can oil the area to replenish and camouflage the wood. If your pet is light in weight and lower energy you may not have any issues at all, and some pets and breeds don’t require claw maintenance, however, if they do, continue to maintain their claws.

2. Toilet training

This is the most important factor as one of the chemical compounds in animals’ urine called ammonia reacts to the tannins in the wood and can darken, dull, and discolour the wood. If left for a long period of time the ammonia can penetrate deeply into the hard wood and cause irreversible damage. Smaller amounts of ammonia that have affected the wood may be sanded off but if it has infiltrated through the wood, then the boards will need replacing. If your pet does have an accident inside, clean it up as soon as possible.

3. Clean spills quickly

Clean any spills on your floor as quickly as possible. Spills are inevitable, so don’t panic; soak up the liquid, give it a wipe, and you’re good to go. As mentioned above any toilet accidents inside should be cleaned up as soon as possible, and this includes other bodily fluids from your pet such as vomit. If your pet has high energy, they may cause some accidents and spills around the home, again you want to clean this up as soon as possible, if the spill is not water make sure to wipe/mop the area after you have soaked up all the liquid to ensure the area is clean of residue and as dry as possible.

4. Pets eating and drinking area

Your pets’ “dinner table” is usually a messy station with water splashes and food spills, which can result in damage to the wooden floor surrounding the area. If possible, find a room with tiles or stone flooring to move their food and drink to, if this is not possible then it is ideal to place a thick mat* under the pets’ dishes, the bigger the mat the better. Be sure to replace/clean this mat regularly as they hold moisture and dirt which can damage the floor underneath, growing mould, mildew, and bacteria if left saturated for a long time.

* The mat needs to be waterproof/resistant, breathable, and make sure it is not rubber or latex backed as this can also lead to discolouration and dullness. If you have a silicone pet mat, place a fabric mat such as a tea towel underneath it so the silicone is not in direct contact with the floor.

5. Regular cleaning and maintenance

Care and maintenance of your wooden floor is key. An efficient and regular cleaning routine is a must. Regular cleaning of your floor means a better resistance to smells and odours. Drying your pet off before entering onto the floor if they are wet and dirty keeps the space cleaner but stay on top of vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping regularly to get rid of fur, shedding, dirt, and dust.

If you have an oiled floor, re-oiling it every couple of years keeps your wood not only looking rejuvenated but it replenishes the wood surface meaning it can look and perform at it’ best.

6. Choose the right type of Wooden Flooring:

  • Choosing a lighter species of wood with a nice amount of grain in it like a European Oak will hide scratches and dents, making any damage less visible.
  • Surface texture makes a big difference, brushed, sawn or any hand markings will maintain beautiful character of the wood whilst disguising marks and scratches.
  • There are many varying timber species and each of these vary in hardness. New Zealand natives are known to dent as they are a softer timber species. Whereas Oak – European, American, or French is a harder-wearing timber species.
  • The finish on your floor is also something to factor in. A polyurethane or a lacquer finish is a more stain-resistant finish, however if you damage the floor through the lacquer layer the whole floor then must be sanded and refinished. A hardwax oiled floor – if cared for appropriately –  is durable and easy. Any spills on an oiled floor need to be cleaned up as soon as possible to prevent staining. Dents and scratches are very easy to touch up on an oiled floor as you are in direct contact with the wood, a bit of oil can disguise these marks and as the finish is not a layer on top of the wood, the floor can be sanded and refinished much more easily and efficiently.
  • Oiled floors tend to be more matte in finish, this camouflages dust, dirt, and scratches whereas a lacquered finish tends to be more high-shine or glossy, which results in dirt, dust, and scratches to appear more noticeable.

Maintenance and care for your wooden floor is key to the durability of the floor. Not only keeping your floor looking and feeling great, but replenishing the floor so that when accidents happen your floor’s abilities are at their best.

Be sure to look at our Care Guide on ways to clean and care for your wooden floor:

We supply everything you need to look after your floor continuously and routinely, look at our cleaning and maintenance products here:

All in all, there is no reason you and your pets both can’t enjoy hardwood flooring. Use these tips and tricks to achieve the best outcome in your pet-friendly home with wooden flooring.

Any other questions or information, get in touch and we will be happy to help you out.

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