The Best Hardwood Flooring for Pets and Kids

by Ledan Seja, Demand Media
    Your pooch or kids may have a hard time damaging certain hardwood floors.

    Your pooch or kids may have a hard time damaging certain hardwood floors.

    Kids and pets: the two best, yet most detrimental additions to your household. Kids and pets can damage many types of flooring, a lot of hardwood species included. There are, however, a few tips and tricks to follow when choosing which floor will best suit your family.

    Wood Species

    Not all hardwood floors are created equal. Some species of wood are much more durable than others, and a lot of this has to do with the actual hardness of the wood itself. Some species used in hardwood flooring are quite soft, which means they scratch and dent more easily. Softer species to avoid in a household with kids and pets include pines, American cherry and American walnut. Harder species to keep on your shortlist include Brazilian cherry, hickory and Brazilian walnut. Oak species also are a commonly applied flooring to homes with pets and children.

    Bamboo

    Although bamboo technically is a grass and not a wood, it often is thrown out as a species for "hardwood" flooring. Bamboo is among the hardest and most durable floors when dealing with claws and what children might do to it. It also is much more environmentally friendly than a lot of true wood species because it grows so quickly and is much easier to re-establish. Bamboo also is stain-resistant, so it's a great choice for kids who may end up spilling things frequently or for your pets who may not be able to make it outside on time every now and then. Bamboo, like most other things, is not all created equal. Stay away from caramelized bamboo, as it's weaker, and buy only strand bamboo flooring from a reputable distributor.

    Laminate and Engineered Flooring

    Although not a true wood flooring at all, laminate floors are superbly durable and scratch-resistant, making it a first choice for many people with pets and children. Laminate isn't always the best choice for one main reason: it is extremely slippery, and pets and kids may have a hard time keeping their balance on it. Laminate floors are compressed pieces of veneer with a photo-image of the species of wood. Engineered flooring, on the other hand, is made of several layers of hardwood or soft plywood and then topped with a hardwood veneer wear layer.

    Tips for Hardwood Flooring With Pets and Kids

    Choosing a lighter color of hardwood flooring will help hide any scratches and dents the family may create better than darker floors. You also can choose a distressed or "stressed" wood flooring that has natural or stylized markings or imperfections that may camouflage scratches and dents that occur. Always clean up any spills and accidents from the pets or children immediately to prevent staining or warping of the wood.

    About the Author

    With a strong background in pets, gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Ledan Seja has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Real estate -- primarily commercial spaces and neighborhood trends -- has also been a main focus in her writing with her work appearing on 42Floors.com and more.

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