Ask the Expert

Flooring for Fido

Q: I love the look of hardwood floors but am worried that my dog will scratch them up. Is there a type of hardwood you can recommend that could stand up to him?

When searching for the most durable wood flooring, you can easily look up the hardness scale of woods online and purchase the most durable in your budget to help prevent scratches that can happen with your furry family members. The fact is that every wood flooring will scratch with normal use. The more dense hardwoods will help prevent those scratches from becoming as deep as softer woods such as North American Cherry, but a scratch is a scratch and many people consider it unsightly and will eventually sand and finish the floor after some time has passed. There are many options to help enjoy the beauty of the wood floor for a longer period of time, depending on your overall expectation of the look of your wood floor down the road.

One way to help is to purchase a natural wood floor that has not been stained. With staining, the scratches may stand out if you have a large, active dog because the scratches can go deep enough to show the natural color of the wood, which can contrast with the stain and make it more visible. A natural wood will not show that contrast and may make the scratches more bearable. Be sure to pick out a floor with a matte finish instead of glossy to further help hide use.

Another way is to find your most used areas and potential problem spots, and purchase area rugs and runners to add style and help protect the floor. This will add warmth and comfort for your dog and limits the damage to lower and less seen traffic areas.

My best advice, if it fits your style, is to purchase a rustic wood that looks like it has already received character from years of use. These floors can have aggressive graining and chatter marks that make normal wear and tear virtually invisible, as it adds to the character your wood floor already has. That way you and your dog can “live” on the floor without having to worry about saving up for sanding and refinishing down the road. It will save money, time and stress that can come from a smooth finish floor and an active family.

Patrick Copell is a Flooring Consultant with Florcraft Carpet One Floor and Home and has 20 years of experience in the industry. For information, visit