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How do you get rid of pet stains in hardwood flooring

Is it possible to eliminate pet stains that have soaked through the hardwood floors?

refinish hardwood floors in westchester eliminate pet stainsWe get this question often from homeowners that either have/had pets or those that move into a home where the previous owner had a pet.  Those dark black stains can occur either from pet urine and/or water directly on the hardwood itself or from liquid that has soaked through the carpet and carpet pad.

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Unfortunately, if the stain is dark black, it will not come out, even when you sand and refinish the floors.


The good news is that there are 2 solutions to fix these pet stains on hardwood flooring:

Option 1:  Remove the stained pieces of hardwood, replace and refinish the hardwood floors.

restore and buff hardwood floors in westchester pet stain
This is the usually the better solution, but it’s usually a bit more costly.  Assuming that you have a professional and experienced hardwood flooring place, they should be able to removed the damaged pieces and weave in new hardwood.  Then, when you sand and refinish the whole room, it will look good as new and blend in.


This is relatively simple to do if you have oak hardwood floors. provided you have an experienced hardwood installer.  Not only will they do a better job than an amateur, but they’ll be able to match the correct wood for you.  (And, yes, I have seen the wrong species used many times.)


pine wood floors getting rid of pet stainsIt is more challenging when when you have older pine floors.  It is still fixable, but it requires finding/matching the type of pine you have (and pine is often more expensive and harder to find since it’s used less often since it’s a softer wood) and often the pine is made in different widths nowadays vs. how it was made a long time ago.  Hence, often you have to get pine that is slightly wider than the your width and the installer need to mill it down to the correct size.  This often means a bit more waste and more labor (and sometimes longer lead times and special deliveries to  obtain the wood and more labor).  And, it is also more complicated if you don’t have a plywood subfloor underneath the wood.  If you don’t have a plywood subfloor, longer pieces of wood are required as these need to be nailed into the joists.  Again, it’s still doable, but should be done by a professional, so that you don’t have a “handyman special.”


Option 2:  Chose a dark stain to cover up the pet stains.

Ebony stained hardwood to hide pet stainsAlternatively, another option is to sand and stain the floors a dark color – one that is dark enough to cover up the stains.   Usually, darker hardwood stain colors such as ebony, jacobean, dark walnut or royal mahogany will do the trick. Thankfully, these colors are very stylish so for many homeowners, this is a great option.  If you prefer a lighter or mid toned color floor, I would suggest that you try option 1 (replace the damaged sections of wood) or cover the stains with area rugs or furniture.


Other useful articles:

color consultation for paint and stain colorsIf you live in Westchester County NY, I offer color consultations to advise customers on paint colors and stain choices. My designer discount at the paint stores usually more than offsets the cost for the hour consultation. Read more here.  Due to popular demand, I’m now offering phone consultations as well.

Complementary products that will prolong the life of your hardwood floors

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