Updated: Oct 3, 2022
Will My Dogs Nails Scratch My Floor?
It depends on the type of dog. If you have a tiny 5-pound dog, that weighs less than a feather, you will probably be just fine. However, if you own a 100-pound extra-large dog, and you let him/her run around and rough play on your floor, there is a very good chance that floor will scratch. It makes no difference what the product warranty label says, or what the flooring store tells you, large dogs will most likely scratch your floor.
Will My Dogs Nails Scratch My Floor?
What About My Product Warranty? It Says My Floor Won't Scratch
Does it? We'll get into product warranties in a second. Keep in mind, the product warranty information on the back of a floor sample, is really quite meaningless information. That label on the back of your sample, is really all about marketing. The manufacturer dresses up that product label, to make their product look like the best thing to hit the market, since the invention of hard surface flooring. Companies pay people good money to make that label help sell their product.
So, when you see "pet friendly," or "scratch resistant," on that product label, are you to assume that means your floor comes from the planet Krypton (home of Superman), and that product is just impervious to scratching? We sure hope you don't get fooled by this ridiculous presumption.
The true and real product warranty information is not on the back of a sample or on the front of a display. Rather, customers will find the real product warranty in the fine print of the full warranty brochure, which can usually be found on a company's website. When you buy a floor, retail stores vary rarely will print out the warranty for their customer. In the full product warranty, statements like "scratch resistant" and "pet friendly" take on a whole new meaning. Need some proof? Let's take a look at some random products, as well as their product warranty.
Disclaimer: Please note we are not saying the products listed below are inferior products. In fact, the products listed below are very popular, and have received many great reviews. Likewise, the information below is not information that we received in some sort of top-secret stealth operation. All of the information we are sharing was taken right off the internet, open for anyone to see. We are simply grabbing products at random, to show you how hard surface product warranties are written.
Armstrong, Vivero Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Here is a picture of part of the information that is on the top of the Armstrong, Vivero Display:
Notice, right at the top of their display, Armstrong promotes "Pet-proof." Many customers will read this and think: "my dog can't scratch this product." But does this information say that? No, it does not. As a customer, we have absolutely no idea what "pet-proof" means. Let's find out. If you go to the Armstrong Website, you will find their luxury vinyl flooring warranty brochure. In the warranty it states:
"WHAT IS THE ARMSTRONG FLOORING PET-FRIENDLY WARRANTY? When exposed to soiling from pets (domestic dogs and cats), Vivero luxury flooring and Empower rigid core flooring will resist stains during the specific warranty timeframe. However, accidents should be cleaned up immediately, as the longer they sit, the more difficult they will be to remove. Any damage to the subfloor and/or surrounding structure caused by pets is not covered by this warranty."
Notice in the warranty, their description of "pet-friendly" does not even mention the word "scratching." In fact, in the entire Armstrong product warranty, it does not mention "scratching" at all.
Karndean, Korlok Luxury Vinyl Plank
Here is a picture we snapped on our phone of the top part of a Karndean, Korlock Display:
Once again, notice the display uses the term "pet friendly." As a customer, they want you to assume "pet friendly" means whatever you want it to mean. When in reality, this is what the Korlok Warranty states, right on the first page:
"This warranty does not include the following: 1. Damage due to: stains, burns, cuts, gouges, scuffs, scratches, indentations, and other accidents or abuse; 2. Discoloration or bond release from hydrostatic pressure or excessive moisture caused by such things as flooding, plumbing and appliance leaks; 3. Installation of flooring over particle board, chipwood, or presswood; 4. Installations where Karndean Designflooring adhesive is not used as required in the Karndean Designflooring Installation Guidelines or where adhesive other than the specified Karndean Designflooring adhesive is applied; 5. Dissatisfaction due to improper installation, maintenance or irregularities; and 6. Reductions in gloss or build up of residue due to improper maintenance or normal wear and gloss reduction from use."
The use of the term, "pet friendly" is common language that is used with most product manufacturers.
Our point is real simple: DOGS WILL SCRATCH YOUR FLOOR, AND THE MANUFACTURER WARRANTY DOES NOT COVER SCRATCHING.
You're Telling Me No Matter What Type of Hard Surface Floor We Get, It Will Scratch?
Yes. If a floor covering retail salesperson tells you a certain type of floor will not scratch, our advice would be.... RUN AWAY! Go to a different store.
Hard surface floors will scratch. It is just that simple. Now, it is true that some floors are more "scratch resistant" than other types of floors. For example, luxury vinyl tile and plank is sold with a factory finish. The type of factory finish can make a big difference in durability, as well as how well a floor holds up against scratching. Make sure to check with your local flooring professional to discuss the type of factory finish that is best for your project.
Likewise, hardwood flooring also comes with a factory finish. With hardwood flooring, the type of wood species is important. The harder the species of wood, the better it will hold up against pet abuse and scratching.
Likewise, with hardwood flooring, purchasing a solid product versus an engineered product could make a difference. Engineered hardwood floors tend to be a little more durable and scratch resistant.
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What Can We Do to Minimize the Scratching on Our Floor?
The best thing you can do to prevent scratching on your floor, is to use a little common sense. For example, here are some commons sense measures that homeowners should do, as soon as they get a hard surface floor installed:
Place floor mats next to all outside doors.
When people enter the home, everyone should take off their shoes.
Place felt pads on all table, furniture and chair legs.
Use an area rug pad. Don't put an area rug directly on the floor.
Keep your pets' nails well groomed.
Don't allow small children to run metal toys on the floor.
If you have large animals, avoid "rough play" inside the house.
What Can We Do to Repair Scratches on the Floor?
The first thing you should do is to read your product warranty. Each manufacturer will have a care and maintenance section in their warranty. Follow the repair instructions in the product warranty.
One option that many people have used are wood repair markers. You can purchase a set of these at many different supply and arts & crafts stores. They work great in hiding the scratch and covering up the imperfection.
Another option is to use some wood finish and polishing wax. This method works for small areas that have little scratches.
When in doubt, we always recommend contacting your local flooring store, and speaking with a flooring professional. They can best advise you on the correct solution to your problem.
One last note on scratches: if you question whether or not you should try a procedure on your floor, if you have a leftover piece in the house, test your method on the sample piece first. See if it works. Nothing wrong with a little experimentation.
Conclusion - Dogs Nails & Scratching
The best method of preventing your dog's nails from scratching your floor, is to keep your dog well groomed. If you have a large dog, that has long nails...your floor will get scratches.
Base your product decision on the goals you have in mind for your space, as well as your budget. In many cases, simply understand, that over time, your hard surface floor will scratch. There is just nothing you can do to prevent it. Your goal as a homeowner should be to set-up policies and procedures in the home, that delay the inevitable.
Manufacture warranties will not cover you for scratches on the floor. Protect the floor the best you can by using common sense care and maintenance steps.
when purchasing a new floor, always ask your salesperson to print you a copy of the FULL product warranty. There is very useful information in this documentation that you should keep on hand.