"We want new Hardwood flooring but we are afraid our pet's claws will scratch up the surface." - Boy do we hear this one a lot.  Hear are some hard truths:

1. Hardwood Flooring is a natural and cellular product, and under certain conditions it will scratch and dent.

 2. Pets have claws, and tip toeing around your house to protect your new floors is not going to be high on it's priorities list.

So what do you do?  Do you just forget hardwood and get carpet again?  Have you ever noticed that brand new carpeting is a cat's favorite thing to barf on?  What other choice do you have though, you don't want to spend the money on hardwoods just to get them destroyed by some uncaring mastiff do you? And the bootie idea pictured above?  Really?  Well what if I were to tell you there is a way for you to have those beautiful new wood floors and your four legged pal?  Are you ready for the solution to this vexing problem?  Here it is:

GET OVER IT!

Seriously, chill out, its gonna be okay.  Go back and read #1. again.  Hardwoods are going to scratch.  If it isn't the dog, it will be the kid, or the careless appliance repair guy, or whatever - its gonna happen.  The good news is that it doesn't happen as much as it used to. Just a dozen years back your only species options were Oak and Maple, and your only finish option was straight polyurethane, mopped on and so soft you could dent it with your finger nail.  Nowadays there are dozens of species choices with many being substantially harder than Oak or Maple - plus, most floors come with highly advanced multicoat UV baked aluminum oxide goodness incorporated into the finish that is 10 times more resistant than regular polyurethane.  Sweet right?  You are  just going to run right out and buy a new hardwood floor and get four 100 lb Labrador retrievers right?  Let me throw in a couple more pointers first.

It's all about color and texture.  If we are all in agreement that the floors are going to scratch then I recommend you look for a floor that does a good job of hiding these scratches.  You want to pick a species that has a heavy and pronounced grain pattern, preferably in a natural color that has a lot of color variation. The best option is to buy a floor that is already "distressed".  Have you seen all of the new Handscraped floors out there now?  They are beautiful, plus what is the dog gonna do to a floor that came already aged? When the floor is smooth and every board looks the same a scratch is going to stand out and... Okay wait-  you're still freaked out about the scratches aren't you?  (sigh) Look, Here is something that I am pretty sure about-  You are not going to be coming home every day and getting on all fours to get a better look at what Fido has done to the floors that day.  But let's say you are "that" person.  Okay fine, you are  Felix Unger-
I say you still can have a hardwood floor and pets.  Just understand that at some point in the life of the floor (or your sanity) you may decide you aren't happy with the appearance of the floor any longer and you call your local hardwood floor refinisher and have the floors refinished.  Most floors, even engineered wood floors, allow for you to apply a new coat of finish up to three times, problem solved.....and certainly a better solution than this: