Floors and dogs can get along if you do the right things.
- Keep their nails trimmed
- Use an oil or wax type finish
- Re-coat the polyurethane when you see white marring of the finish
- Let them out when they need to go
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Many people have asked the question: "If I have a dog, should I have wood floors?" The answer is YES! Dogs (cats & ferrets too) can coexist with wood floors perfectly fine, as long as a little extra care is taken for both the floor & the dog.
First off is cleaning the floor. Most dogs will bring in extra dirt on their paws & shed hair; so sweeping should be a regular duty or the homeowner. If the extra dirt is not swept up, it will act like sandpaper & scratch the floor. Frequency of sweeping is dependent on traffic, but the more you sweep the less wear your floor will have. The same goes for mopping. Using Basic Coatings Squeaky Cleaner will help maintain the floor without a cleaner buildup. Remember to not just swish the mop around the floor, but use a damp mop & rinse thoroughly a few times while cleaning the floor. Otherwise all that is being done is moving the dirt around the floor, not picking it up.
Now that the easy part has been taken care of, you start to notice scratches from dog nails. Many times when dogs scratch floors, they are not necessarily scratching the coating, but indenting the wood & causing harm to the wood. Softer woods like pine are not recommended for floors when dogs are present, as the wood easily scratches. The finish looks bad, because the wood is dented. Keeping the dogs nails short & not pointy is good preventative maintenance. Many nail clippers leave very sharp edges to the nails that are not good for the dog or floor. If the nails can be rounded it helps. Many vets now recommend using a DREMEL MiniMite tool or similar type device to sand & shape the nails instead of using clippers. It is easier on the dog & the nail edges can be rounded. The main point is keeping the nails short.
When scratching does occur, recoating will help. The TyKote system can normally be used, as the floor will not be worn through & an extra coat of finish will help fill in the scratches. Also, using a catalyzed product like Street Shoe® will help. Catalyzed products are more scratch resistant & will last much longer than other products. Remember gloss finish will show more problems, so using a semi-gloss or satin finish will help hide any scratches which may occur. Street Shoe finish is 80% cured in one day (so waiting 1 day to let your dog back on the floor after a recoat should be sufficient), & will continue to cure for two weeks. Just be careful the first few days & not let your dog run & play on the newly recoated floor. Give it time to get hard & you will have a long lasting, beautiful floor.
Dogs (cats & ferrets too) can coexist with wood floors perfectly fine, as long as a little extra care is taken for both the floor & the dog.
Now that you have taken all the necessary precautions to keep your floor in good shape, you add a puppy to the family. And with puppies come training accidents. Dog feces can easily be cleaned-up, just remove the "accident" & clean the area well with a mild soap. If pet urine is involved, a little more care is needed. First, wipe up all you can, next, mix 1 part vinegar to 20 parts water & clean the area well. This will get rid of any urine smell. If any urine gets between the cracks of the boards repeat the process as necessary. Do not recoat floors for 2 weeks after a urine accident, because any water that is in the cracks needs time to dry out before recoating. If staining of the floor occurs because accidents were not cleaned up immediately, contact Universal Floors for instructions. The more cleaners / chemicals used on the stain, the worse it may become. Once the floor is stained, sanding may be the only alternative. Do not use bleach or any other strong cleaners, as they may damage the wood floor.
Overall, dogs & wood floors can both be great additions to your household. (Proper care of them both will make you enjoy both for a long time.)
- This article was originally published in the April/May/June 2001 issue of Water Works, A publication of Basic Coatings.
- Photo taken from: www.nofma.org