If you’re thinking of getting new wood floors and you’re wondering how well they will hold up under the traffic of your four-legged friends, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The ability of a floor to hold up under the traffic of large pets will be determined by a couple of issues.

First what species do you use and secondly what type of finish is put on your floor?

Even the best floor finish manufacturers will disclaim that their product does not have the ability to withstand the punishment provided by large pets. So make sure you don’t set your expectations too high to think there will be no damage. By the way, most pre-finished floor manufacturers will not warrant damage by pets either so keep that in mind when buying. That being said, some types of floor finishes will hold up better than others under these conditions. Two-part water-based finishes that are formulated for high-traffic or commercial settings generally perform better than oil-based polyurethane. Be sure to ask your contractor if he is proficient in using high-traffic residential or commercial finishes that might better withstand the abuse by your pets.

Secondly, remember that some species that are denser will do a better job holding up under your pets.

For example, if you put in a yellow pine floor, which is a naturally soft wood, even with the best finish your pet’s weight will probably dent the wood itself even if the finish holds up. On the other hand, if you put in a Brazilian Cherry floor your pet’s ability to dent this dense wood will be much less although the finish may still show wear. Ask your contractor what he recommends to withstand abuse by your pets. Be willing to buy a denser species such as hickory, Brazilian Cherry, Santos Mahogany, or Maple to withstand the wear and tear of your pet and be willing to spend a little more for two-part water-based finishes that will provide more durability under the extra wear and tear. And again, have reasonable expectations as to what will happen to the appearance of the floor with a pet running around on it.

One more important point from my wife.

Take into consideration the color of your pet when choosing the color of your floor. My 80lb. yellow lab Carly is most definitely the ultimate expression of a man’s best friend, however, her nearly white coat makes her shedding hair very visible against our darkly stained oak floors. I guess you can look at that in two ways. My wife says she likes that she can always tell when the floor needs to be swept. But then on the other hand, sometimes she hates knowing the floor needs to be swept. I will say we both find it much easier to clean the hardwood floor than our carpets when it comes to pet hair.