Wood floors give a warm and natural style to your home. Wood is also easier than many other materials on your feet, as well as on Fluffy’s and Fido’s. While no wood is impermeable to scratches and signs of wear, certain woods are better choices if you have pets.
Harder woods will be more resistant to scratching than softer woods. Brazilian hardwoods, maple, hickory, acacia and pecan are harder woods that will resist scratching. American cherry, American walnut, cedar, birch and pine are soft woods that will dent and scratch fairly easily. If you already have a softer wood in your home, you can toughen it up with a polyurethane finish.
Hiding Wear and Tear
Distressed hardwood floors and woods with a strong grain will help camouflage scratches. Distressing is achieved through processes such as aging, scraping and wire brushing, which give the wood more texture and character. Woods with a naturally strong grain, such as red oak and hickory, makes scratches and signs of wear less noticeable. Satin finishes are better at hiding wear than glossy finishes, and lighter colors show scratches less than darker colors.
Your hardwood floor, regardless of the type of wood, might eventually develop enough scratches and stains to warrant refinishing. This is where the thickness of the wood comes into play. If you are purchasing new wood floors, request boards that are three-quarters of an inch thick so that you can sand out fairly deep scratches at least a couple of times.
Bamboo is technically a grass, but is classified as a hardwood in the flooring industry; its hardness is somewhere near that of oak. Its popularity is due in part to its "Zen" appearance and the fact that it is easily replenished. Be aware that strand bamboo is much stronger than regular bamboo and will stand up to a good deal of your pet’s wear and tear. It is also stain-resistant.
Leslie Darling has been a writer since 2003, writing regularly for "Mississippi Magazine" and "South Mississippi Living," specializing in food and wine, animals and pets, and all things Southern. She is a graduate of the University of New Orleans.