Protecting hardwood from dogs nails

Q: We’d like to have our floors professionally stained and finished in a dark [ebony] stain. However, we have a golden retriever and a collie/spaniel cross.

Is there a recommended finish that can protect themĀ Do you think this is a good idea? I don’t seem to see any damage to the current oak from the dogs nails but am concerned if we go darker. We are in the Ottawa area if you can also recommend a local contractor?

A: I think any polyurethane, with several coats applied, buffed between coats will give good protection. There isn’t a finish I know of that would prevent impressions into the wood itself. However, if the floor has been finished well, this will not compromise the finish itself for more than a year. You can always do a light buff with maintenance coats down the road. As an alternate, you could go with a tung oil finish, such as Waterlox, This won’t stop nail impressions in the wood, but it won’t scratch off either. While it may take periodic maintenance, especially in high traffic areas, it is easier to fix without showing. You can also add stain to the oil if need be.

I am a member of a forum, XXXXXXXXXXXX, and one fellow whom I have spoken with on the phone, Jim, is a member on there. He sounds like he cares what he is doing. I will have to contact him via the forum and try to link you up. He is in Cornwall, I believe.