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What If My Hardwood Floor Has Pet Stains?

It can be quite disappointing when you move into a new home and eagerly tear up the carpet to see the beautiful hardwood underneath, only to find that past owners have allowed their pets to urinate all over the floor. Does this mean the floor is ruined? Can it be repaired? What will this cost? Hopefully, this blog will answer some of those questions.

Pet stains in hardwood floor

How can you tell it’s a pet stain and not water damage from a plant or spill? The easiest (but most unpleasant) way to tell is the smell. Pet stains leave a distinct odor that you are better off not knowing if you are unfamiliar with. Unless the stains are very old or not deep into the wood, they will likely stink when you pull up the carpet.

Unlike water stains, pet stains leave a blackish green color.

Another way to tell if your hardwood floor has pet damage is by the color of the stain. Typical water damage leaves a grayish stain, but pet stains leave a distinct blackish green color. If the urine stains are real heavy, this color will really stand out.

Finally, worst-case scenario, you will be able to tell if the stain is still wet. Pet stains take a long time to dry out under carpet, so if the last owners of the home are the culprit, there is a good chance the pet stains will be fresh and wet… lucky you!

Pet stains in wood floors

The good news is this can be dealt with, and your floors can be salvaged. You will likely have a few options. The one that is right for you will depend on your budget, color preference for the floor, and the extent of the stains.

It is common for pet stains to penetrate deep into the wood. This is because pets like to urinate in the same area repeatedly. If past owners of the house had the habit of not letting their pets outside, they likely went in the same places many times.

Your 3 options:

You have three options to remove pet stains from your hardwood floors. They are...

  1. Replace the stained boards with new wood.
  2. Stain the floor a dark color
  3. Leave it and call it character, or cover it with furniture or a rug
Option 1: Replace the stained boards with new wood

This is usually the best option because you are removing the stain completely. This will allow you to choose any color for the floor and completely remove the smell. However, this is often the more expensive option if there are many pet-stained areas. If there are only a few areas, repairing can be less expensive than Option 2.

Replacing pet stained boards
Your best option is to remove and replace the damaged boards

Replacing damaged boards is usually the best option because you are removing the stain completely

For a 1 1/2″ strip floor, repairing a 2’x3′ area would be around $200 -$350, depending on whether it's a double weave (weave both ends of the repair into the existing floor) or single weave in (weave one side into the existing because the other side is a wall). If the floor is 2 1/4″ width, the cost will be lower. And, if there are several areas, the cost will be lower per stained area.

If you want to know more about repairing, you can check out our Gallery for Repairs.

Option 2: Stain the floor a dark color

This can be a less expensive solution if the floor has pet stains throughout. Unfortunately, for some reason, pet stains don’t “cover” as well as water damage, so if you choose this option, you will need to stain the floor relatively dark. DuraSeal Jacobean, Ebony, and True Black are three stain colors that often do the trick.

Pet stain before staining
The next best option is to cover the damaged areas with a dark stain
Pet stains after staining
Here's the floor above after sanding and staining

Staining the floor adds about $1.15/sq ft to the project, so you will have to weigh the cost of staining vs repairing to know if this is the right choice. If you don’t want to have a dark floor, you will need to choose from the other two options.

Option 3: Leave it and call it character, or cover it with furniture or a rug

This is our least favorite option because we want our work to look spectacular when finished, and leaving stains can create a very noticeable eyesore on the floor. However, we understand that this option is the most budget-friendly, and if the pet stain is light or in an inconspicuous area, this can be a successful solution.

Pet stain character
Your third choice is to sand it out as much as possible and leave it

Hopefully, one of these options to remove pet stains from your hardwood floor will be the perfect solution for you. If you would like a quote to see how much it will cost, click the Request a Quote button below and we'll be in touch.

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