Understanding Flooring Options

How To Handle Pet Damage On Hardwood Flooring

by Vincent Hoffman

Hardwood flooring is an asset to any home. However, pets are notorious for putting extra wear and tear on hardwood floors. Knowing how to deal with your furry friend's mishaps will help to keep your floors an asset in your home.

Urine Stains

Urine stains and odors are some of the biggest enemies of hardwood floors. However, not all hope is lost if you've gotten a couple urine stains on your floor. Your first order of business is to clean up any urine and to apply an enzymatic cleaner. Not all urine cleaners are created equally, so you want to make sure the bottle specifies there are enzymes in there. These enzymes break down the urine and its odors.

Sometimes, even with the enzymatic cleaner, urine stains will stubbornly remain visible on your floor. A very light coating of peroxide can be used to lighten the stain on the floor, but you have to be careful not to overdo it. The peroxide could bleach your floor a lighter shade than you intend. If this happens, you'll have to sand your floor in that spot and restain it to match the shade of the rest of your floor.


Any pet that has claws could leave scratches on your hardwood floors. Thankfully, lighter scratches can be cleared up with a little furniture polish. But what about the deeper scratches?

Deep gouges may require replacement of your hardwood floors to remove the marks. However, if you need to cover up these gouges, you can use a combination of wood glue, wax, and colored pencils. It's okay to overfill the scratches, as wood glue shrinks as it dries. You'll want to sand the wood glue smooth and then apply a coat of wax that closely matches the base color of your stain. However, it can be incredibly difficult to stain wood glue to match the rest of your flooring.

After you apply the base color of wax is when you get a little creative. Using either other wax sticks or colored pencils, you want to blend and match the pattern and shade of the wood on either side of the scratch. This can take a little practice, but the wax can be removed if you feel you've messed up. With a little patience and some blending skills, those deep gouges will be hidden from view.

If your pet has damaged your hardwood floors and you can't easily remedy the situation, consider calling a hardwood flooring contractor. A flooring contractor will be able to give you an estimate to either replace the damaged parts of your floor or perform a total replacement.