I have wood floors, and two large dogs with a doggy door in my new house. Throughout the rest of winter we are getting some patio work done and it has been occasionally snowing/raining. What are the best ways to protect your wood from the sand brought in as well as the excess water tracked in?
Herb ~ Boston, Massachusetts
Hi, that is a tough question to answer, I have been trying to figure out an answer to this question myself for many years. I have 3 large dogs and hardwood floors, and they are constantly tracking in snow, mud, water, and bringing in the occasional fun play thing they happen to find outside. I have found that as long as I keep their nails clipped, I can avoid floor scratches. I also have a good coating of protectant on my hardwood floors, a polyurethane product. That protectant works pretty well, but I still need to wipe the floor up promptly if they bring any moisture inside. If you have protectant on your hardwood floors, and polyurethane is a protectant that is applied by hardwood contractors, then I believe as long as you clean up what the dogs bring in quickly, your floors should be okay. If you don't think your floors have polyurethane on them, I would put on a good coating of paste wax.
I think while there is a chance that sand could be brought in, I would put down some sort of throw rug or vinyl walkway. Sand is very abrasive, and animals and people walking on it on your hardwood will eventually grind it through the best protectant. This winter, with all of the snow we had, I put a rug in front of the back door, and with all of the snow you get in Boston, Massachusetts you may want to do the same in the winter.
If it continues to be a problem, you may want to have a flooring contractor come in and remove the hardwood in front of your dog door and rear door, if they are close to each other, and put in a little entry area with ceramic tile or vinyl flooring. I have done it in a few houses, and it looks very nice. They place a transition strip of hardwood where the two different flooring materials meet.