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The 8 Best Types of Wood Flooring For Dogs

June 12, 2020

Chances are, if you’re searching the internet for the best wood flooring for dogs, your furry BFF has destroyed your current flooring. We get it! Dogs are sweet and cute and our absolute favorite, but they can certainly leave their… mark. 

But here’s the good news: with so many durable types of wood flooring on the market, you can have your hardwood and your little dog too. You just have to find the right floor!

That’s why below, we’re going to show you 8 of our favorite wood flooring options for dogs. Spoiler alert—we’ve even included some insanely durable fake wood flooring options too. 

In addition, we’ll walk you through some of the most important factors to consider before hitting that “buy now” button. So let’s jump in!

Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Wood Flooring for Dogs

Dog on laminate floor

Ok, before you start Googling “how to replace floors” or crunching the numbers on the cost of wood flooring, there are a few things you need to consider.

There’s a ton of information out there about buying hardwood floors, but it can be hard to know what actually makes the most durable wood flooring for dogs. 

Which options will warp in pet urine? Which options will hide scratches? Which types of flooring are dog-proof, and which are just “dog-resistant”? If you’ve ever owned a rambunctious pup, you’ll know exactly what we mean by that.

Here’s what you need to think about when you’re choosing a wood floor to stand up to paw scratches and urine patches (hey, that rhymed!).

The Janka Scale: What It Is and Why It’s Important

The first thing we need to talk about is the Janka Hardness Scale. This is an industry-standard scale, standardized by the American Society for Testing and Materials, that we use to measure the hardness of different types of wood flooring

Technically speaking, the scale measures the force required to push a steel ball halfway into a piece of wood (pretty cool, right?). The wood’s hardness is a great indication of how resistant the wood will be to surface-level scratches and dings. 

The higher the Janka rating, the harder the wood. The harder the wood, the better it’ll stand up to scratches, dings, and dents from your pup’s paws.

The Janka hardness scale measures how hard wood is

Your Floor’s Finish and Overall Design

In addition to picking a scratch-resistant flooring, you should also consider choosing a matte or satin finish to hide some of the inevitable scratches from your dog’s nails. Small scratches will show much easier on a glossy floor when the light reflects off of it. 

Also, intricate wood floor designs are a great way to hide and distract from any imperfections or scratches in the wood. If you can’t see it, did it even happen??

Choosing Between Solid and Engineered Wood 

Another factor to consider when choosing the best hardwood flooring for dogs: the solid wood vs. engineered wood debate. Solid wood is one piece of wood throughout. Engineered wood is made from a thin layer of hardwood bonded on top of high-quality fiberboard or plywood.

While there are some clear advantages to engineered products, even the best engineered wood flooring can really only be sanded down and refinished a few times at most. Solid wood, on the other hand, can be refinished almost endlessly. 

If your dog is going to be zooming across your floors for years to come (and we hope they will be), the ability to refinish your flooring is something you’re going to want to consider.

Pro tip: if you go with engineered hardwood, make sure you select a veneer no thinner than 2mm if you want to refinish it at least once!

The Pros and Cons of Different Materials 

We get it… you’ve watched one too many episodes of HGTV and now you’re obsessed with the farmhouse wood floor aesthetic. However, you don’t have to go with wood floors just because they’re the hip thing! 

If you’re a secret carpet loving traditionalist (or if you’re not keen on the cost to replace carpet with hardwood), you can always grab a few Home Depot peel-and-stick carpet tiles to create a fuzzy floor that’s easily replaceable if your dog damages it. Chip and Joanna don’t need to know. Our lips are sealed! 

However, on the subject of pricing: remember that the material costs of carpet vs. hardwood are surprisingly comparable. So, if you’ve always dreamed of a hardwood floor, we say take the plunge!

You’ll see a bigger price difference when you compare things like tile vs. wood floors. Some types of tile like porcelain and ceramic can range from $1.50–$5 per square foot, making them a bit more cost-effective than your average hardwood. The same goes for concrete flooring that looks like wood, which can offer amazing aesthetics and durability at a lower price point. 

Installation Concerns

Finally, before we show you our list of the best wood flooring for dogs, let’s talk about installation methods. 

If you’re feeling a DIY project and wondering how to install hardwood floors, we’ve got to warn you… it may be best to hire an expert for the install. Nail-down and glue-down wood flooring planks can be difficult to lay correctly. Plus, if wood floors aren’t sealed properly, they may be more susceptible to water damage. This can be a big deal if you’re house training a new dog.

That said, if you’re set on do-it-yourself flooring options, you can certainly find them. These days, a lot of engineered hardwood can be purchased as click-together flooring

Click-together floors sit atop the subfloor rather than being attached to it—so these “floating floors” are a bit easier to install. What is subflooring, you ask? It’s the wood or concrete layer below your finished floor.  And while there are some disadvantages of floating floors, using a proper underlayment can help correct many or all of them.

The Best Wood Flooring for Dogs: Our 8 Picks

Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for! Here are some of the best wood flooring choices for dogs. As we mentioned before, these top picks are a mix of wood species (aka types of trees) and wood-like products. And of course, these are some of our favorites—but the best wood flooring for your dog is the one that works for you!

#1. Brazilian Walnut (Ipe): Our Favorite Wood Species for Dogs 

brazilian walnut wood

Exotic woods tend to have the highest Janka ratings, and Brazilian Walnut (aka Ipe) is no exception. With its Janka score of 3680, this wood is so strong, it can actually be used as an outdoor flooring option. Talk about durable! It’s definitely on the pricier side, but we think it’s a great investment. 

In addition to its strength and hardness, Brazilian Walnut is relatively moisture-proof—so puppy accidents won’t immediately damage your flooring. Is Brazilian Walnut the best hardwood flooring for dogs? That’s for you to decide—but it is our favorite.

#2. Oak: The Go-To Classic

Why is Oak considered one of the best types of wood flooring? Well, it’s one of the most common flooring types in the US. It has a Janka rating of about 1300, which puts it right around the middle of the scale. In fact, Oak is often thought of as the industry standard for hardness. Really, it’s a no-brainer. Oak’s easy availability and excellent hardness definitely earn it a spot on our list of best wood flooring for dogs.  

Just remember: you often have two options when choosing Oak: red or white. Red Oak has a warmer color and has pinkish, red, or rust undertones. It also has a decent amount of grain variation and character. White Oak, on the other hand, has a cooler, grey-green undertone, and appears more smooth and uniform. It has significantly less variation than Red Oak, too. 

#3. Santos Mahogany: Because Exotic Trees Make Great Wood Flooring for Dogs

Just like Brazilian Walnut, Santos Mahogany is popular, exotic, and extremely durable. It has a Janka rating of about 2200, making it more durable than both Oak and Hickory! It’s a great choice for Hickory lovers that want a bit more durability for their furry friends. 

#4. Maple: A Solution Strong Enough for Basketball Players 

You read that correctly—Maple is actually the go-to for basketball courts! And if Hard Maple can stand up to ten stomping athletes (go Warriors!) it can absolutely stand up to even the most rambunctious pup. Hard Maple is typically a very pale domestic wood, and its light color often draws eyes (and paws). It’s super strong, too, with a Janka rating of 1450. 

#5. Hickory: A Unique, Domestically Grown Masterpiece

hickory wood flooring is great for dogs

Hickory is known for being full of character, and rightfully so. It’s gorgeous in color and full of detail! It scores higher than Oak on the Janka scale, coming in at 1820. 

Honorable mentions: The best wood flooring for dogs (that aren’t actually wood)

We’ve chatted about some of the best hardwood floors for dogs, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention a few dog-proof hardwood floor alternatives

#6. Bamboo: The Best Wood Flooring for Dogs… That’s Actually a Grass

Ready to be confused? Bamboo flooring isn’t real wood, but it does have a Janka rating. And that’s because bamboo is actually made from grass! 

Not only is bamboo naturally strong, but certain manufacturing processes can actually make it even more durable. Non-carbonized strand-woven bamboo flooring has a Janka rating of 3000+, which is nearly 3 times as hard as Oak! And though bamboo isn’t “real wood”, we think you’ll agree that it deserves a spot on any list of the best wood flooring for dogs. 

Before you buy, though, make sure to look into the pros and cons of engineered bamboo flooring. It can actually be just as durable as its solid cousin, but is often less expensive. Now that’s a win! Read up on the best types of bamboo flooring to learn more about what makes this stuff so awesome. 

#7. Cork: A Miracle Wood-Like Material 

You may have seen some of the cork flooring Lowes sells, but chances are, you strolled right past. It’s understandable—people don’t often talk about cork flooring. But they should! That’s why we’ve got to give this miracle wood material an honorable mention. 

While cork isn’t made out of wood per se, it is made out of a wood by-product: bark! And that makes this wood flooring type pretty freaking sustainable.  

But the best cork flooring isn’t just a miracle because it’s eco-friendly (or because it’s the same material that keeps your wine fresh). It’s a miracle because it can actually repair itself to a certain degree! This makes cork perfect for small scratches from rough puppy play sessions. 

If you look into the pros and cons of cork flooring, you’ll also find that cork is sound dampening—so your mailman won’t be too traumatized by your dog’s thundering woofs.

#8. Laminate: An Insanely Strong Wannabe Wood Floor

We often see people comparing bamboo flooring vs. laminate, and we get it. Both options are incredibly strong and can take a beating (or the 2 a.m. zoomies). However, you might be asking yourself: what is laminate flooring, exactly, and what makes it strong enough for my massively-destructive dog? 

Well, laminate flooring is a composite material traditionally made of three layers—a core layer, an image layer, and a wear layer. The image layer can be made to look like absolutely anything, but it almost always resembles wood. The wear layer is where laminate gets its strength—it’s a plasticate, protective coating that makes laminate super hard. 

If you’re debating laminate vs. hardwood flooring, we should note that although laminate is tough, it can’t be refinished like wood can. Additionally, it can be susceptible to water damage, so people comparing tile vs. laminate for the bathroom often settle on tile. And that’s definitely something to consider when dog urination is in the equation!

Ready to Find the Best Wood Flooring for Dogs? 

We hope we’ve given you some clarity on finding the best hardwood flooring for dogs. And we’re confident that these types of wood flooring can stand up to your beloved pooch! 

But: we know It can be overwhelming to try to find a reputable, well-reviewed flooring retailer in your area—so use our flooring stores near me search to find one close by. They’ll be able to answer all of your questions and show you all the best hardwood floor brands around. 

Still haven’t decided on a dog-proof floor? Check out these articles for more information: 

About The Author

Elizabeth Landy

Elizabeth is a public relations expert and freelance writer. She is obsessed with reality TV, professional sports mascots, and Doug the Pug (don’t tell her two cats). When she’s not writing, she’s probably reading, riding her bike, or FaceTiming her college best friends.

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