Let’s talk about Hardwood Flooring…
When remodeling a Lake Charles home many homeowners will choose a type of hardwood flooring. Hardwood flooring is growing in popularity in Lake Charles homes. There are many types of hardwood to choose from and some engineered products that look like wood. Hardwood flooring is easy to take care of. I recently came across some great flooring tips from Debbie Gartner a flooring specialist in White Plains, NY/Stamford CT, who offered some tips about selecting hardwood and which floor is best for pets.
In a recent article Debbie shared the following to frequently asked questions about hardwood flooring including which hardwood flooring is best for pets:
“Which type of hardwood should I use for pets? It’s a hard question to answer because truthfully all hardwood will dent and scratch over time – it’s just a matter of how much and how much you can see it. But I do not think this is a reason to avoid getting hardwood for your home. Tons of consumers have hardwood and pets and they can easily co-exist together.
Usually, this question is less of an issue for cats and more of a concern with dogs, especially active dogs. And, while there are things you can do w/ your pets (e.g. clip or file nails), I’m going to focus on hardwoods that can take a better beating and/or not show it as much.
1. First, by all means stay away from the softer woods:
- American Cherry
- American Walnut
These woods are softer and will dent very easily – even without a pet or without kids. They look beautiful, but they are not practical. And, ironically, they often cost more (because fewer people buy them). Note: American Cherry and Walnut are different than Brazilian Cherry and Walnut. American = soft; Brazilian = hard.
2. Take your shoes off. A lot of customers blame their pets for scratches, but often the we are the worst culprit. While high heels are often not wonderful for hardwood floor, the biggest culprit is not the shoes themselves, but rather what gets caught in the shoes. It’s those pebbles and dirt that get caught in our shoes that cause most of the scratches. Or, sometimes w/ high heels that have been word a while, the rubber wears off and their is a nail at the bottom. So before blaming your lovelu pets, look at your own habits. For my customers that take their shoes off, their hardwood floors are in way better condition and it’s a much longer time before they need to be refinished.
3. Consider handscraped or distressed hardwoods. This is a stylized look tthat some customers love and some hate. It tends to be in style in the South, certain areas in the west, and more rustic homes in the Northeast. This look is not for everyone. But, here’s why it’s good for pets…it shows the scratches and dents less because that’s how the wood is designed – it dent looks like it fits right in. Likewise, hardwood that has more knots and character marks will hide the dent and scratches more.
4. All things being equal, harder hardwoods are better. This is tricky because not all things are equal – see the next point. But, Hickory is great choice (1820 on the Janka scale). There are many other hardwoods that are harder…see the janka scale of hardness…but you can’t jut look at hardness by itself.
5. Woods with stronger graining are better for hiding the scratches. Oak is a great example of this, especially red oak which has stronger graining than white oak. While Red Oak is only 1290 on the janka hardness scale (which is still hard and is hard enough), it does an excellent job of hiding the dents and scratches due to the strong graining. In fact, it usually hides them better than Brazilian Cherry (2,350) and Brazilian Walnut (3684) which have less and smoother graining.
6. Less glossy finishes. Satin finishes are usually best. The glossier the finish, the more it will show the scratches from the light reflecting off of it.
7. Usually, lighter colors are better for pets. First, darker colors seem to show the scratches more. I’m not sure why, but they just do. Second, oak is the most common type of hardwood and oak is naturally light. So, if you have a scratch that penetrates the stain color, it will show less on lighter colors since what is revealed beneath is simiar in color.
8. Solid hardwood or high quality engineered hardwood that can be refinished. It’s always good to have an insurance plan so that you can refinish the hardwood floors when you need to.
9. Bamboo is “iffy” with pets – can vary greatly – some are good; most are not. Bamboo’s resilience can vary widely pending the type and the brand, and what follows are some generalizations. a) stay away from stained bamboo – these scratch very easily and bamboo does not accept stains as well as oak does, b) carmelized bamboo is weaker than natural as the process of heating it weakens the grass, c) strand bamboo can be very strong – so if you have pets and want bamboo, this is a GREAT option – more expensive, but will hold up better, d) buying bamboo from big box stores and/or cheap bamboo results in a lot of dents, e) even though natural bamboo is technically stronger than oak, it shows dents more easily (and carmelized bamboo is usually softer than oak). See my page on bamboo flooring for more info and for pictures.
10. Use felt pads underneath furniture and area rugs/entrance mats. This is especially important for chairs that are used a lot. Oh, and stay away from chairs with wheels – often thing get caught in the wheels and cause scratches. If you do have chairs with wheels, put an area rug underneath. And, make sure you have area rugs/entrance mats at all your main entries. You can even have one outside, too. These are the areas that get worn down the fastest due to rain, snow, salt, dirt, so protecting these areas will go a long way towards preserving your floors.
There are a lot of things to consider with hardwood and this is not an easy question to answer. Above is meant to address denting/scratching. If you are concerned about pets peeing on the hardwood, that is a whole different issue…basically no hardwoods will stand up well to that, so clean up the mess quickly is the best advice I can give you on that. Also, if you have pet stains already in the hardwood, when you refinish the floors, try to replace those boards as that blackness from the water/urine, will not sand out. If you replace them and refinish, your floor will look good as new. Alternatively, if you can’t replace them/can’t afford it, then use a dark color to hide the dark marks.”
Protecting your hardwood floors is a priority for Lake Charles homeowners to keep them in prime condition. Most hardwood flooring today is often pre-sealed to protect the wood underneath. Some tips to follow to extend the life and protect your hardwood floors are as follows:
- Place area rugs or mats at doorway entrys. This will protect from dirt and gritty sand or other debris that can cause abrasion to your flooring.
- You might want to take off your shoes–high heels can damage wood!
- Be careful to choose the right type of cleaner for your flooring
- Use area rugs in high traffic areas this will prevent the wood from wearing and changing in color compared to the rest of the flooring through the years.
- Don’t allow water or liquid to stand on the floor for any length of time, this could cause staining to the wood.
- Use felt protectors on the feet of dining room chairs or other furniture to prevent scratches.
Most Lake Charles Real estate agents will tell you that hardwood flooring is a desirable feature in a home and tend to sell quickly as compared to homes with carpeting or other flooring type. Just recently I was working with buyers who were looking for a Lake Charles Home for Sale that had NO carpeting. I have hand scraped maple flooring in my own home and am seeing this type of flooring in many Lake Charles new construction homes as well. The popularity of hardwood flooring in Lake Charles homes is growing. If you are considering installing hardwood floors you have alot of choices to choose from!