hardwood floors, laminents, and dog urine

For our ten year anniversary, my wife and I are thinking about getting hardwood floors, or possibly an imitation (i.e. Pergo), but have some concerns about our small dog who occasionally finds an out-of-sight spot and marks her territory.

Everyone I talk to always tells me, “oh dog urine isn’t a problem because you can dry it up right away and it won’t hurt the hardwood”. Yes, but what if you don’t find it right away?

So to anyone who owns a hardwood floor, or one of the laminents imitations, my question is: does urine ruin the flooring? Does it drastically shorten it’s life, or is it really “no big deal” when nasty liquids sit of them for an extended length of time? If you want to throw in any opinions about real vs. fake wood with regard to this urine issue (and the cost difference), I’d love to hear about it.

My wife and I have a new house under construction and have considered several flooring options.

Hardwood: usually has a finish applied after installation, so I think there would be minimal problems. Some products have a prefinish applied. I think there would be leakage paths that would be uncleanable.

Laminates: Pergo, as first introduced, was glued together. I think it would be inpenetrable to urine. But some of the similar products are snapped together with no glue. I think urine could run into the joint and possible through to the subfloor. The product itself may not be damaged, but how do you get the residue out of the joints?

For our Kitchen, Pantry, and mud room we chose a vinyl product that comes in 4" x 48" strips and is glued down.

I have oak flooring installed in the 50’s that I refinished myself. I also have both a dog and a cat. If the urine stays in contact with the flooring for a long time, e.g., it is trapped against the floor by a rug or other material, it can damage the floor. This is why I had to refinish ours. The area can turn black and smell, even if it was varnished. I have applied several coats of polyurethane, which does a better job of sealing against urine. If the animal goes on the refinished surface, it doesn’t harm the flooring. This is partly because of the polyurethane, partly because I have removed any rugs that can trap the urine against the flooring and keep the surface wet.

Most laminates such as Pergo are pre-finished. There is usually enough of a wear layer to allow one or two refinishings. The factory finish is claimed to be more durable than a finish applied on site. But there can still be an issue if the urine is trapped against the surface for long periods.

Laminate is a poor choice. When glued, it is okay, but not great against standing water. Seams are not the best.

I have Armstroing ripping out 4k worth of it because the seams, even when glued really aren’t up to snuff for a kitchen and they had to admit that they are overly zealous at marketting it where moisture is common.

Neighbor has Pergo and his ice maker leaked a few ounces several times and his seems show bubbling/warping.

Hardwood is not recommended near moisture, but the tough polyurethanes that they coat them with now means they are ‘okay’ for moisture (like a light duty kitchen that no one entertains in…typicalof eat out Americans and familes that don’t cook).

Out with the laminate, and I’ll be putting down porcelain or ceramic tile.

Like I said, Armstrong is out 4k because they over hyped the ability of the product to take even modest moisture (and this is BEFORE the glue got real old. Floor is just 24 months old)

Pergo next door is no better.