One of the most asked questions about flooring is, "how durable is it" and more specifically, "will it scratch or dent"? We will answer this question as it relates to Hardwood, Engineered, Laminate and Luxury Vinyl flooring and protecting your flooring investment. We will also give some suggestions about how to deal with damage if it happens. So whether you are in the market for solid flooring or you need advice for maintaining your flooring, you've come to the right place!
Does Laminate Flooring Scratch Easily ?
No. In general, laminate flooring is extremely durable and scratch resistant. Laminate flooring has a tough protective coating or wear layer that protects against scratches, fading and denting. Price isn't always indicative of the quality of laminate, therefore, it is important to understand AC, or Abrasion Class, ratings which tell you how durable a laminate floor will be. The ratings range from AC1 (moderate) to AC5 (heavy), these numbers, usually found in the Specs section of the product description. If you are placing laminate in high traffic areas or you have a pet with claws, it will pay off to use AC4 or 5. Proper maintenance of your laminate flooring will contribute to its longevity. We will talk prevention in a bit.
Does Hardwood Flooring Scratch Easily ?
Yes! Hardwood floors are often sought after and they are beautiful but...they are easily scratched because the top layer is wood. This is true for engineered hardwood as well. The top layer of wood is softer than other flooring with thick protective layers. Hardwoods can wear down in high traffic areas as well. If you are in the market for hardwood and have kids and/or wood in heavy traffic areas, you may want to purchase a harder wood species. Some of the most common hardwood floors are Oak, Cherry, and Maple due to their hardness or Janka rating. The Janka scale is used to rate the hardness of a wood species. Some exotic woods (usually more expensive) are very beautiful but may also run on the soft side making them more susceptible to scratches and dents. All wood is not created equal!
How Durable Is Vinyl Plank?
Does a Bear .... Oh never mind that, of course vinyl plank is durable. That is one reason why luxury vinyl it is fast becoming a favorite type of flooring. Vinyl has come a long way since it was first introduced. Vinyl is the best for flooring for pets! Again, you want to pay attention to the thickness of the protective wear layer. As with any flooring, you may be able to buy thin cheap vinyl but make sure you know what you are getting. Look for wear layers in the 5mil or greater, all the way up to 20mils which is more in the commercial flooring range. The thicker the wear layer the more durable the plank. Try 100% Waterproof vinyl like CoreTec which has a thick protective layer and no worries about the washing machine leaking or a pet accident. Still, vinyl isn't indestructible.
An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth A Pound of Cure!
What do Pets/ Kids, Furniture and Shoes have in common?
That's right! They are all common reasons that flooring gets damaged. There are several easy ways to decrease the chances of damaged flooring surfaces and the best part is that it is mostly your cleaning routine. Here are some things that will make your stress level go down. Remember, if you have invested in quality flooring, you are most of the way there.
- Dust Mop/Vacuum- Dirt, Sand and Grit are the biggest culprits when it comes to scratches. Keep the floors dust mopped. A routine of daily dust mopping, weekly vacuuming and monthly damp (not wet) mopping will be your best defense against scratches. Check out our blog: Cleaning Hard Surface Flooring.
- Entryway Rugs-place a good quality mat outside and inside to capture grease, dirt and grit before you get all the way in the house. Don't forget to sweep outside around your entryways to keep the dirt and rocks from sticking in your shoes.
- Consider a No Shoe Policy-take off shoes at the door so that you don't carry the outside in. Kids sport shoes like cleats or spikes are a never on the floor. Don't think you can blame it all on the kids, your favorite stiletto heels can scratch and dent the floor too.
- Trim Fluffy's Nails- keep your pet's nails trimmed or if you have the kind of dog that will bite your arm off if they even see the clippers, consider doggy shoes or even baby socks with non-skid bottoms. If you do try socks for your, be sure a video tape that is is sooo funny! Pet accidents should be cleaned up as soon as possible. If you have water resistant laminate or luxury vinyl planks that are water proof, you will have more time to clean up without the panic. Wood and moisture don't mix. Don't forget to get the thicker wear layers for the best possible outcomes.
- Floor Protectors- furniture (especially chairs) gets moved around a lot but never fear! Use Felt pads on chair legs or if you want to get fancy shcmancy, "google" chair socks! You can make your own DIY chair socks if you enjoy being crafty. If socks aren't right for your furniture, there are literally hundreds of different types of floor protectors. For heavy furniture like a large sofa, you may want to consider a bigger non-skid, non-scratching protector to keep it from denting the floor. Always pick up heavy items vs. pushing the across the floor. I have a Baby Grand Piano on my vinyl and I use large protectors under the castors and so far no dents. Avoid rolling chairs as the wheels will get grit stuck in them and possibly scratch your floor.
Keep Calm and Carry OnDon't panic if you do get a scratch or a dent. There are lots of ways to repair flooring scratches, dents or tears but is dependent on the type of flooring you have. Some manufactures sell repair kits. Make sure you follow the recommendations of the manufacturer or a flooring professional who can help fix it without making it worse. Overall, quality laminate, wood, engineered wood and vinyl are all very durable and they each have pros and cons to consider when making your choice to buy.