In recent years, engineered oak flooring has come on a lot. We used to often be asked if it was a sensible option for homes with dogs and cats (and
other four-legged friends.) It’s certainly not the concern that it was 20 or so years ago; floor finishes are now much more durable and there are many
more wood floor options available. That said, it’s still worth bearing in mind levels of traffic and looking at slightly more forgiving designs if
you want the perfect floor and pet combination.
Choosing your wood floor
you’re choosing your design, always go for a hardwood like oak, as opposed to a softwoods, like pine and spruce, which are far less dense. Then, carefully
consider the timber ‘grade’ or natural characteristics. More rustic grains, with knots and colour variation, tend to hide marks and blemishes far better
than a very clean grade. Aged and textured finishes, that are tumbled and scrapped, will be more forgiving too – and paw pads will find it easier to
grip than a completely smooth and slippery surface!
Nowadays, lacquered and oiled finishes both offer a good degree of durability, so your choice here can be largely dictated by the look you want to achieve.
Lacquers can be a little more prone to scratching but, unless you choose a design that’s particularly polished or shiny, they’ll tend to blend in as
the floor naturally ages. Engineered oak flooring can generally be sanded and resealed, if need be,
should you want to completely refurbish in years to come. (With this in mind, ensure that your floor has a good surface wear layer, as very thin wood
floors can’t be sanded. All of ours have surface wear layers over 6mm, so can be refurbished several times.)
Hardwax oil finishes are generally easier to renovate, by hand buffing and reapplying oil, but the surface might be very slightly more prone to damage
than lacquer – although, in either case, wood floors tend to take the knocks really well. Oiled floors can also be replenished with treatments like
Treatex Floorcare, which top up the protection as part of your cleaning regime.
In terms of colour tones and scratches, dark stained designs tend to show blemishes a little more than lighter or mid toned wood floors, but they do hide
the dirt more. But, when comparing any wood floor design to, say, carpet – which can harbour hair, fleas and all manner of other things – wood is a
far more practical and hygienic option.
And a few practical tips
As with most floor finishes, it’s important to keep engineered oak flooring as dry as possible. Wet paw
marks and water from dripping wet coats should be cleaned up as soon as possible, so that the floor doesn’t become discoloured or absorb the water
and ‘crown’ over time. Accidents, in particular, should be cleaned up straight away; on any surface, urine can cause issues in terms of odour and acidity,
but a quick clean-up with a pH-neutral floor cleaner should address any potential issues.
Good, sturdy food and water containers will cut down on spillages; non-slip rubber pads can be useful and waterproof mats a wise precaution for messy drinkers!
Well clipped claws will also cut down on scratches and entrance matting can be useful, to help absorb a little moisture from paws on the way in. Look
out for washable door mats and runners with rubber backs, like Turtle Mat; my dog likes to lie down on ours, so the mat doubles up as a very useful
coat and paw dryer!
For more advice on colour tones and finishes, see our engineered oak flooring collection at www.indigenous.co.uk,
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