Hardwood floor and dogs - refinish or new floor?

cas66ragtopMarch 1, 2011

I have oak hardwood floors which are in terrible need of refinishing. I have a lot of places where it is down to bare wood. These floors are 18 yrs old and have probably never been refinished.

I have two dogs - an 85 lb Collie and a 55 lb Collie. they are both very active. I do keep their nails trimmed on a regular basis. I don't really know if the dogs have ruined the floors or not. We moved here 3 yrs ago, and my wife swears the floors were perfect back then. I remembered the floors needed some work back then, but I do know they have definitely deteriorated a lot since then. I find it hard to believe the dogs are solely responsible for bringing once perfect hardwood floors down to bare wood in only 3 years.

OK so what suggestions would you have here? Do I refinish these floors? Or do I rip the old floors out and replace it with prefinished hardwood? I hear prefinished is better because the finish has been "baked on" at the factory. How much of a problem do my dogs really represent here? Should I not consider hardwood at all and maybe go to ceramic tile or carpet?

When making suggestions, please remember getting rid of the dogs is NOT an option! I look forward to any advice. thank you

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Are your floors solid or engineered? Either can be sanded and refinished. However, some engineered are not suitable for sanding and finishing. Like the previous poster said, what quality of material do you have?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 10:57AM
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Dogs of that size can dig out the softer open grain of red oak with their claws. This exposes bare wood which quickly turns dark from exposure to moisture. Prefinished flooring will do the same. It is a material hardness issue not a finish issue.
Tearing out the floors (if they are a solid product) would be a wast of a good floor. However if you can not live with your current floor and keep the dogs, a harder wood, laminate or tile would be better for you.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 1:56PM
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We have built and owned two homes over the past 36 years. In the first we had 3, 5, and 7" Bruce prefinished red oak. We also had two large (60 and 70#) Elkhounds-- no detectable damage in 12 years. In the second, where we have lived for 24 years, we have 3" and 4" site finished red oak on nearly all of our floors. Over those 24 years, we have had a standard poodle, a great dane mix, a Newfie, a lab, a Border Collie/Golden retriever mix, a pit bull, and a doberman. Again, no real damage from the dogs except for a few scratches on our staircase from when they ran downstairs after being detected illegally upstairs. We refinished the floors last year because we wanted to take those few scratches off the staircase and wanted to make sure that the wood all matched.

I do not believe that dogs are necessarily the cause of your problems. Our dogs were all in the range of 60--100 # and we really had no problems. I would sand the floors and invest in a really good finish: either multiple coats of oil based floor varnish or multiple coats of a good catalytic floor varnish.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 10:51PM
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Thank you for all your thoughts. After hearing all this (especially your story, Will), I now believe either these floors were nowhere near as perfect as my wife thought they were upon moving in - ha! I am right for a change! Or maybe the previous owners refinished the floors using really cheap products that didn't hold up to my dogs. Either way, it is nice to know that there is no need to rip out what I already have here. It is a whole lot easier to refinish, and do it with a high quality product.

Thank you very much for all of your help. Have a good day!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 7:18PM
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We just bought a foreclosure which we started cleaning up today. I assume that previous owner had large dog(s), due to massive amounts of fur in every corner and vent. The hardwood floor has been worn down to the grain, just as you described. I'm guessing it's red oak, because it had a reddish cast when some of the Gunk Off wet it, and because it matches your description above, about toenails having dug out the soft parts.

You can clearly see where there were beds, sofa, and chairs, because the wood there is still smooth and has some finish left on it.

I don't want to get carpet, and it is so badly worn I'm afraid to sand it. I actually don't mind the grainy effect, I think it's kind of pretty in a wierd way.

So, any suggestion on what we could do to save the floor?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 9:45PM
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    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 9:53PM
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I rather like this look. At least it looks well sanded, lol:

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 9:55PM
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Sand, finish, trim the dog's claws.

If you hear them clicking on the floor they need to be trimmed.

Make sure you file the sharp edges on each claw after trimming.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 10:34AM
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