Pets and Hardwood Floors, You Can Have Both!


Over 60% of Americans have pets.  If you’re like me, they are part of the family.  Sometimes, our four-legged friends make us consider what is best for our home, including our flooring.  I was talking to our Tech & Install guys asking them about their advice for families who have pets in their homes.  Here are some of their recommendations and tips.

Your pets may not know the difference, but some floors are better than others for pet owners.

Luxury vinyl plank and Engineered vinyl plank are fantastic option for pet owners set on keeping their floors pristine.

They’re highly durable, long-lasting, and resistant to moisture, scratches, and dents. Plus, they diminish that “click-click” sound your pets’ nails make on the floor. Style-wise, vinyl has come a long way. Most vinyl floor tiles and planks are designed to mimic stone or wood patterns. And it’s affordable! The Coreluxe and Coreluxe Ultra floors are our top rated waterproof floors and a perfect fit for active, pet loving families.

Tile is another great option for people with pets: Tile floors are extremely durable and easy to clean. Although, if you have animals with serious bladder control issues, keeping the grout clean might be a challenge. But for most pet owners, tile is a smart, liquid-proof surface with tons of different design options. If you’re dreaming of wood floors but don’t want to risk it, consider wood look tiles.

But what about  Hardwood Floors and Pets?

One of the most common problems with hardwood flooring is that dogs, by simply walking around can scratch the surface. Before you buy you’ll need to know that some hardwood flooring options are better than others, and all have pros and cons that pet lovers will have to consider.

Solid Hardwood – Natural wood planks
Natural hardwood flooring consists of solid planks of a certain species of hardwood. When shopping for hardwood flooring, you’ll come across several types, prices and features. A few pros of hardwood flooring is that you can refinish it several times to adjust to your tastes, it’s fairly durable and it has managed to remain a favorite choice in the modern home market.

Hardwood Flooring for pets… Species matters.
Not all natural hardwood flooring options are the same. Some wood species are much softer than others; the softer the wood, the more easily it scratches and dents. Some species pet owners, especially those with large active dogs should avoid when choosing a natural floor include pine, American cherry and American walnut. Harder, more durable and scratch-resistant species include Brazilian cherry, Brazilian Koa, walnut and hickories. Red and white oaks are also pretty durable, although not quite as hard as the others. The more durable woods are not cheap, but if you have dogs they may be well worth the upfront expense.

High-quality strand bamboo flooring is among the best choices for homes with dogs because it’s much harder than even the hardest woods, and it’s also very scratch-resistant. Bamboo is also a “green,” environmentally friendly choice, as it is highly renewable because it grows so quickly. Stay away from cheaper bamboo floors and caramelized bamboos; caramelized bamboo flooring is heated to a point that diminishes its strength and durability.

Laminate Flooring and Engineered Flooring choices
Engineered wood has hardwood and soft-ply layers topped with a hardwood veneer layer. Laminate has a soft core covered with an extremely hard surface that is among the most scratch-resistant of the “wood” flooring choices. That being said, it is not always the best choice for dogs for the following two reasons: it can be slippery and any moisture—like urine accidents or spills—can cause the seams to swell or the individual planks to warp.

Engineered flooring is often much more durable than typical, natural hardwood floors and available in a wide variety of species. It’s more solidly built than typical laminates as well.

One of the best Laminate or Engineered flooring choices for pets can be found in the new Aquaseal line of floors. This new, cutting edge technology gives you a beautiful flooring option with amazing water resistance – perfect for pet owners.



  1. I have a prefinished floor so when my dog has “accidents” the urine seaps between the planks. So when I mop it up – as quickly as I do, I can’t remove it all. There is a distinct smell that I can’t get rid of. I know you don’t recommend steam cleaners but what can I do to get rid of the smell deep down in the cracks.

  2. LumberLiquidators on

    Thanks for your interest! Despite today’s advanced technology, things like water spills, dirt and other abrasive substances can damage a wood floor’s finish. Location, traffic patterns, how frequently the floor is cleaned, children and pets all influence wear and durability so it can be difficult to say for a specific home. Many of our customers find the handscraped texture helps hide any scratches or dents that do occur, making it a popular choice for pet owners. Tobacco Road Acacia & Golden Teak Acacia are two of our most popular handscraped floors which you might be interested in. Reading the customer reviews for products you like can be useful as some can scratch more easily than others.

    Here are some top selling handscraped hardwood options:
    Here are some of the highest rated:

    We hope this helps!

  3. I have bamboo floors in my home. My tiny dog pees on the corners of my furniture . I went to the dollar store and got some plastic runner. I cut it up and placed it under each leg of my couch and love sit. He has not peed since. The min. I see him looking at the plastic I pick him up and take him outside. He is 14 yrs. old….good luck

  4. Pet urine contains uric acid and ammonia which can cause a finish to dull and can discolor a hardwood floor typically making it a dark or black color in appearance, especially if the pet urinates in the same spot over and over again. Cleaning with water and ammonia may not be a good idea as some urine contains ammonia so the animal will be attracted to the same spot. Spot cleaning with a mixture of warm water and vinegar on a lightly dampened cloth with clean the floor and take care of the smell. Immediately after cleaning buff the area dry. A board replacement can be done for any damaged planks.

  5. John Sistrunk on

    What do you recommend to use daily for pet urine on hardwood floors? We have a few spots that have a film build up and other have a white looking substance where they urinated that does not come up very well.

  6. Kay, if the film is topical, salts can be cleaned using white vinegar diluted with water. Make sure you do not let it soak and that you wipe it up with a dry cloth so as not to damage your flooring. If it has penetrated the board, board replacements may be needed.

  7. our floor turned a whitish color instead of black as mentioned above from dog urine. it now appears to have a white film. what can i do to clean and hopefully do away with this white looking film?

  8. Well mate when you have pets specially dogs and cats in the house, carpet flooring is not advisable at all because it almost a nightmare to clean their fur balls from the floor every day. Rather we should consider some Hardwood Refinishing Services. as woodmen floors are much easier to clean

  9. Lumber Liquidators does not recommend "Water brooms" "Wet-Jet Swiffers or steamer type cleaners on laminates, corks or hardwood floors. Although steamers may work well cleaning OTHER types of hard surface flooring, the 130° to 240° heated steam vapor can ruin wood or urethane finish resulting in warped or cupped flooring. Water and wood do not mix well, especially steam. Use these products at your own risk.

  10. Lena Gassner on

    question re:laminate flooring. using a shark steam cleaner for these type of floors. Our dog make mistakes once in a while, and I have babies that will be crawling on my floor. I am keeping my dog, but need to sanitize the floor when he makes a mistake. Can I use one of those steam cleaners (Shark example) it is small and easy to use. Your suggestions will be greatly appreciated (asap). We are going to change the flooring out very soon, live in NW Indiana, purchacing from your closest store. Tyvm

Leave A Reply