Warning: Dogs damaging timber floors

KarlDog damage, Floor care, Polished floors

Dogs damaging timber floors

Dogs Damaging Timber Floors – A Costly Experience

Dogs damaging timber floors is more common than you think. If you are contemplating an ‘inside dog’ and you have polished timber floors in your home, then, in short, it’s going to be a costly experience. Most home owners will find out the hard way that dog claws and polished timber floors just don’t mix.

After 18+ years in the floor sanding industry, and almost on a weekly basis, I have encountered dog claw damage to polished timber floors which have completely ruined an otherwise beautiful polished timber floor surface.

Dogs damaging timber floors is a common problem with landlords who own rental properties. Too many times to mention I have received phone calls from tenants at the end of a lease frantic about how their dog has ruined the floors and trying to somehow save their bonds.

How it occurs

Minor superficial scratches in the surface of the top coating can generally be removed with light sand, and the application of another top coat. Unfortunately 99 percent of dog claw damage is more than just superficial.

Polished timber floors are made up of two components – The coating (the film build of three coats of polyurethane) and the timber surface itself. The pressure from the tip of the dog claws indents the timber surface taking the coating down with it. Repairing this type of damage entails the entire floor area to be completely re-sanded back to raw timber to remove the indentations and the reapplication of another three coats.

Level of damage to expect

The extent of the damage can vary depending on timber species and the size of the dog. Contrary to logic, it’s more the smaller, more energetic dog breeds which cause the most damage as they scurry around corners or fight to gain traction when excited.

The best case scenario for an inside dog would be:
  • A large slow moving dog.
  • A harder timber floor such as hardwood
  • A floor with a satin or low sheen finish applied
The worst case scenario:
  • A small energetic dog.
  • A softer timber such as pine.
  • A high gloss finish applied.

The level of gloss applied to your floors will vary the visibility of the damage sustained when viewed in natural reflected light. Full gloss finishes tend to reflect more light, or highlight the edges of any indentations in the surface of the floor. Lower sheen finishes reflect less light and so surface damage is slightly less visible.

Dog claw damage – Best advice

– After your dog claws are clipped, use a nail file to round the tips of the claws to remove the sharp edges.
– Place rugs in appropriate places located where the might be more excited such as the entry (when visitors arrive)
– Use a hallway carpet runner

Polished Floors – Easy Gloss Level Guide

KarlPolished floors

gloss level options

Polished floors – Gloss Levels Guide

The gloss level you choose can impact on both looks and also the amount of cleaning tasks you will need to perform on a daily basis. It would be beneficial to take a few factors into consideration relating to your personal circumstances prior to making this decision. The range of choices available are:

  • Matt (Dead flat finish)
  • Low sheen (See example below)
  • Semi-gloss (Approximately 60% of full gloss level)
  • Full gloss (See example below)
Brisbane floor sanding

Low sheen finish

Low sheen is definitely the most popular. In fact 90+ percent of customers either directly ask for it, or sway towards it after hearing the benefits over full gloss finish.

Low Sheen Benefits

  • Modern look

    It has a contemporary feel and look about it that compliments new renovation work and is the choice of most builders when constructing new homes.

  • Low maintenance

    Low sheen finish hides minor dust, or more to the point, it does not stand out as much as it does on high gloss polished floors.

  • Concealment

    If damage occurs, for example a heavy object is dropped or dragged across your floor, then once again, with full gloss the edges of the damage will be accentuated with light reflection whereas the lower sheen finishes reflect less light.

In summary

Low sheen finishes are a more ‘liveable’ choice for families with a busy lifestyle. Low maintenance, modern appearance and hiding minor dust are all the main attractions for this choice on polished floors.

Another example of Low Sheen Finish

The Full Gloss Finish Option

polished floors high gloss

There will always be the hard-core lovers of full gloss out there, that’s for sure. About ten to fifteen years ago it was the most popular choice of builders and home owners alike.

Full gloss benefits

  • Old Hoop Pine floors

    This is the only exception to the rule. Most customers
    polishing old wooden floors in 19th century period style homes choose high gloss finish, and with good reason – It looks amazing on Hoop Pine floors! The light golden colour and variations within the Hoop Pine grain look great, plus full gloss seems to fit in with the character of the colonial style.

  • High maintenance

    It can be compared with sitting in a black shiny car when you’re at eye level and looking across the high gloss bonnet, you see every speck of dust!

  • It sells homes

    It’s a catch 22… even though the low sheen finish is a more contemporary and modern look, the potential buyer of your home has tunnel vision. They only see the ‘wow’ factor of a shiny floor when viewing your home, and have no concerns over the liveability qualities the low sheen provides. Once settled in after a purchase, they soon learn it’s not all that fun cleaning them every day.

In summary

Don’t get put off though, all polished timber floor finish gloss level options have their benefits and all look great. It all boils down to personal preference, and your particular circumstances.

Polished floors – Other points to consider


If you have an ‘inside’ dog, then low sheen would be a more suitable choice as dog claw damage to polished timber floors can ruin floors, and in a short period of time. Once again, the damage would be accentuated with a full gloss finish.


Downlight lighting can cause a spider web type of an effect on your floors at night. This is caused from ‘directional light’ hitting the surface and spreading out on your floor and picking up the rotary sanding swirl marks not visible in natural or normal lighting conditions. It is called ‘light refraction’ through the coating, and is more prevalent with full gloss floors. This condition is made worse if you have a dark floor colour. Worst case scenario for downlights – Dark floor and full gloss finish.

If you have any questions please feel free to call Karl right now on 0419684404.

polished floors gloss level guide

See how easily you can protect your polished timber floors

KarlFloor care, Polished floors, Uncategorized

Caring For Your New Floors

Now that your polished timber floors have been completed, it’s time to take a few simple steps to ensure you keep them looking great for many years to come.

Polished Timber floor care

Polished timber floors are at their most vulnerable in the first days after completion. The polyurethane coating will need to harden suitably before furniture can be replaced. There are also a number of other precautionary measures you need to be aware of to ensure the maximum life span of your new floors.

Step #1: Moving furniture back into your property:

Wait 48 hours before returning furniture.
The first rule, and the most important, is to never roll or slide furniture across your polished timber floors. Large furniture and appliances such as refrigerators, pose a huge threat to your floors when returning them to your home, and as a result can cause permanent damage if not carried out properly. The best procedure for returning your refrigerator is to obtain 2 sheets of new, clean, 3mm MDF board from your local hardware, in a size larger than the base of your fridge.
The method is to place the fridge on the first sheet and roll it onto the second sheet. Move the first sheet in front of the fridge again, and keep repeating this process until the appliance is positioned in front of its recess within your kitchen. The key point here is to never allow the fridge wheels to make contact with the polyurethane surface.
All other furniture legs should have self-adhesive felt protection pads fitted, paying particular attention to dining room chairs, as these are the most moved pieces of furniture in your home.

polished timber floor care

Step #2: Setting up your home for protection:

Managing the amount of grit which enters your home is important. Placing suitable mats at all entrances will reduce the amount of grit from shoes dramatically.
Take note of the east and west sides of your house and ensure direct sunlight does not meet the floor surface. Filter direct sunlight with curtains, blinds or tint as necessary, as over time it can damage, and discolour the internal polyurethane coating.

Care and maintenance of timber flooring

Step #3: Cleaning:

Remove dust and grit with a static mop, general sweeping or vacuuming. General mopping of your floors can be carried out using half a household bucket of warm water mixed with half a cup of methylated spirits. Wring out the mop well to ensure a minimal amount of water is present on the floor surface.

Ensure your vacuum head has no metal parts on the underside, if so, replace as necessary.

care and maintenance of polished floors

Minimising dust and grit with mats will extend the life of your polished timber floors.

Polished floor care and maintenance
Step #4: Inspection and maintenance:

An annual self-assessment of your floors is recommended and is as simple as inspecting the main traffic routes within your home. Look for variations in surface sheen in areas such as the main entrance, the centre of the hall and the working triangle in the kitchen. If you are concerned with, or are not certain of the current condition of your floors, we are happy to inspect them for you, and offer free advice. Call us today, or fill in our online form to arrange a free inspection today on 0419 684 404.

How to clean hardwood floors
How to clean polished timber floors

Trade Secrets to Floor Sander DIY Success

KarlPolished floors

floor sanding trade

Top 3 Floor Sander Trade Secrets for DIY

Straight off the bat it is unfortunate that the DIY floor sander handyman is severely handicapped. Even with previous skills within the industry, the hire sanding equipment available to the public is nowhere near the quality of the precision and balanced industrial equipment which the professional floor sander uses. This being the case, you will need to take every precaution to achieve a satisfactory result.

#1: Floor sander technique –Get that timber floor dead flat!

‘Do your first sand on a 15 to 30 degree angle’
Forget sanding with the grain when you initially start sanding. This only allows the large belt sander rock and roll into all the depressions and imperfections present in the floor. It also allows the wheels to run lower on one side if a random floorboard is sitting slightly lower.

While performing this technique you will notice all the imperfections as you sand them out due to the high points sanding clean first – you will be amazed at how efficient this action is, and will be most appreciated in reflected light upon completion of the coating processes.

#2: Clean the wheels of the floor sander

This action is more effective after the initial coarse sand whilst using the finer grit sandpapers. Although it might seem insignificant at first glance, it makes all the difference between an average polished timber floor, and a jaw dropping stunner, especially when using the higher gloss finishes.

If grit is lodged or stuck on the polyethylene wheels of the floor sander, or the wheels have flat spots it will cause a slight rocking motion causing the drum of the machine to slightly tilt back and forth. It may not even be noticeable to the user, but in the end, direct light reflection on a finished polished timber floor is very unforgiving. It’s these little precautionary measures that contribute to a professional standard of work that Economy Floor Sanding take very seriously when sanding their customer’s floors. A thorough vacuum of the floor surface should be carried out also before each finer sanding begins.

Floor sander cleaning wheels

#3: Vacuuming is not enough

Edging towards the coating processes cleanliness is your top priority. If dust particles are present prior to the coating processes, you will need to sand them out before the next coat regardless, so do your best at cleaning down the floor, walls and environment prior to the first coat being applied.

Vacuuming between coats is not enough. Microscopic dust particles will still be present from sanding between the coats no matter how many times you vacuum the floor area. The secret – Use a well wrung out slightly moist towel wrapped around a broom head to push across the floor. This collects all the surface dust held by static electricity on the surface of the floor.

Personally I like to go over the floor twice, once to remove the bulk of the fine dust, and again to remove any residual particles. I cannot express enough how this will improve the quality of your work.

Polished timber floors

Handyman Versus a Pro Floor Sander

There are a host of reasons why a handyman would want to sand his own timber floors. These may include a tight budget, the need for a quick flooring alternative or just someone who enjoys getting their hands dirty and giving anything a go. These are all good, well justified reasons.
If on the other hand you’re trying to add real value to your property, are preparing your home for sale or trying to achieve an impressive top quality looking renovation, you really need to use the benefits of the skill, equipment and experience of a professional floor sander.
It is often compared to the difference in quality of a handyman car body repair/paint job to a professional panel beater/spray painter’s work. Once again, reflected natural light on the panel surface is very unforgiving and will expose every little imperfection.

Warning: Dog urine ruins timber floors

KarlFloor care

floor sanding pet damage

Dog Urine Stain Damage to Floors

Some homeowners love their pets living indoors and although they might find them to be great companions, there is a downside to it. This was an older home situated under the Brisbane Story Bridge. It was recently purchased by a young couple from the husband’s family and has severe staining in one of the rear bedrooms.

It was discovered that the room had previously been the kitchen prior to the home being raised, and at first it was assumed that they were possibly water stains. Floor sanding polishing had been previously carried out years ago, (not our floor sanding service) so it was mentioned to the customer that if the stains had not been able to be sanded out on the first occasion, it may be the same scenario this time around.

floor sanding polishing in Stafford Qld 4053

Permanent urine stain damage

As you can see in the image, sanding the floor on an angle with the coarse grade paper was doing nothing to lighten the dark colour of the stain. This bothered me to probe further with the father of the owner whom he purchased the property from. Just as I suspected it was found to be dog urine as he recalled years ago the family dog was injured and lived inside on the kitchen floor for an extended period of time. Old vinyl with random cracks and joins was present allowing the urine to penetrate deep into the timber floor prior to being originally polished.

Stafford floor stains
Timber floor stains
Wood floor staining

Prevention Measures

Floor sanding polishing is a great way to update your home, although if pets are kept indoors it is important to clean up urine spills promptly and ensure it is not absorbed into mats or carpet which can hold it against the timber surface. Felt furniture protection pads are great for extending the life of your polished timber floor although they can also readily absorb liquid spills and hold onto it over time.

Unfortunately this customer’s floor was aesthetically ruined. Thankfully it was only confined to that one particular bedroom.
If you are considering floor sanding polishing in your home and you have indoor pets, please contact us with any of your concerns and we will be happy to advise you of the best precautionary measures to take in YOUR particular situation.

Give me 2 minutes & I’ll save your floors from UV light damage

KarlFloor care, Polished floors

Polished Timber Floor Care – Unfiltered Sunlight Damage

 Sunlight damaging polished floor
 If you cherish your polished timber floors, their are ways you can safeguard your investment with some precautionary measures. If your home has a westerly aspect, your floors may be at risk of rapid deterioration at the hands of nature.

In the image shown, the extensive use of glass in this home is allowing direct and unfiltered sunlight onto the living room floor area, and in this particular case it is the morning sun. After completing the sanding and polishing of the floors in this beach-side north Brisbane property, we included in our closing polished timber floor care documentation to the home owner a recommendation to use some form of window coverings to filter the direct ultraviolet light.

In this particular case, as the owners were accustomed to their extensive views, their choice was to tint all the glass. If left unattended for an extended period of time, rapid yellowing of the surface coating would occur, along with increased deterioration and breakdown of the finish.

Check Your Floor

Internal are essentially treated as external when exposed to direct sunlight internal finishes we’re never made to withstand this unfiltered light. Rugs or mats situated in front of glass windows or sliding glass doors exposed to direct sun quickly reveal this rapid yellowing effect – you only need to pull back a corner to view the variation against the original colour shade underneath.

Why it occurs

As internal polyurethanes cater for foot traffic durability applications and appearance, they will ultimately break down when exposed to the harsh outdoor elements. As it stands, even finishes designed for external landings and decking require regular maintenance coats at intervals depending on the level of direct sun they receive.