Installing Hardwood Flooring with a Large Dog


My husband and I want to install hardwood floors in our living room, foyer and dining room; however, we have a dog that’s 75 lbs. Are we asking for trouble? What is the most durable finish? Should we consider other flooring?


Dear Amy,

I think hardwood would be OK in the living and dining room, but consider ceramic or better yet real linoleum in the foyer. Don’t even think about those prefinished wood floors in your situation. This is because even though the finish on these floors is just about indestructible the wood is not. The dog’s nails will dent the wood and gouge the wood, and in no time your perfect factory finish will look pretty banged up. These floors are just about impossible to touch up.

All that said, choose a white oak (it’s harder than red oak) or hickory and maybe install it yourself but have it professionally sanded. These woods are ring porous so have a texture, which disguises the scratches well. Avoid the fine grained woods like maple.

Finish it yourself with a finish that you will feel comfortable recoating it yourself. I still like the oil based poly. But you can try the water based finishes. Some are more durable than the oil poly but are poisonous to use (the catalyzed water based finish has a poisonous additive).

Check out the article on the Dura Seal 1000 water based finish, which can be found in the search box at the top of the web page. This finish is about as durable as the oil based poly, and it dries a whole lot faster. But it is new on the market, so we don’t know how well it will age. The main thing is to use a finish that you will feel OK about touching up and recoating yourself, not hiring an expensive pro to do each time. This would be the case with the industrial catalyzed water based finishes. Very hard but only sold to pros because of the health risk.

But by all means have the pro sand the floor, this is not a job you should be doing yourself. I’ll explain why if you wish.

Oh, and use lots of area carpets, and be sure to read my floor cleaning article, which can be found in the search box at the top of the web page.