Keeping pet damage from ruining your home value

Pets are beneficial for a variety of reasons. They're fun to play with, provide endless entertainment with their goofy antics, can give you a reason to get out of the house and explore, and offer loyal companionship.

At the same time, these animals can also get into plenty of destructive mischief. Most pet owners have a story about how their dog or cat has shredded a paper towel roll, sent a vase crashing to the floor, or otherwise created havoc around the home.

Pet damage can be much more serious as well. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that repairs, cleaning, and preventive measures related to pets' actions can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

If your furry companion has left some noticeable marks around your property, you'll want to fix them in order to preserve your home's resale value. You should also keep your pets in mind when making larger home renovations, pursuing projects that can hold up well under their paws.

Floors

Flooring materials are most likely to take a beating from pets. Dogs and cats can scratch wooden floors when bounding over their surface, and can damage both wood and carpet if they have an accident.

Hardwood floors are usually sealed with polyurethane to protect the surface, but it can only safeguard the homes so much. The home improvement site Porch.com says small scratches can be filled with markers that match the color of the wood, while gouges that reach the wood should be repaired with wood filler, sanded, and re-stained.

Your floors may have suffered numerous scratches if your pets have been particularly active. This Old House says large areas can be repaired by sanding, re-staining any affected boards to match the surrounding wood, and resealing them with polyurethane.

If your pet has an accident, clean it up right away. Urine may soak all the way through to the subfloor, leaving a lingering stench as well as a discolored spot on the hardwood. Light stains can be removed by sanding off the finish, treating the surface with wood bleach, and resealing it. However, you may need to treat deeper damage by replacing the damaged boards.

Pet accidents on carpets should also be cleaned up as soon as possible. Susan Paretts, writing for SFGate, says small stains or tears caused by pets can be repaired by cutting out a section of carpet and replacing it with a matching piece. However, if pet urine has reached the subfloor you'll want to remove the carpet to clean and seal any stains.

Upgrading your flooring may be a wise choice if you have pets. Brittney Gilbert, writing for Realtor.com, says it's best to limit carpets since they'll hold pet dander and odors. Tile offers an easy to clean material, while bamboo flooring limits damage from pet accidents since it doesn't have grooves between boards that allow urine to reach the subfloor. The home improvement site HomeAdvisor says laminate flooring will also resist scratches.

Preventive measures can also be effective in protecting your floors. You might set up gates or simply close doors to keep a dog or cat from entering certain areas. This Old House says you should keep pet claws clipped to prevent them from causing scratches and trim the fur on their paw pads to avoid slips.

Walls and windows

Rambunctious pets may jump up on walls, cabinets, or other surfaces when playing or excited, leaving scratches or gouges. Gilbert says setting up a separate eating area, such as a space in the basement with old cabinets, can help avoid this damage since happy dogs might leap against walls while you prepare their meal.

Repairs to sheetrock should start by sanding the damaged area to get rid of any debris. HomeAdvisor says any holes can then be spackled and repainted.

You may need to change up your window treatments to limit damage. Gilbert says cats can climb drapes that hang low to the ground, so blinds are a better option. Tie up cords to keep cats from playing with them.

Furniture

Both dogs and cats can be guilty of scratching and tearing up furniture, even if you keep your chairs and sofas off limits to them. HomeAdvisor says one option to repair furniture is to use auto body filler to patch any holes or gouges.

This option will only work for certain types of furniture, but it can be quite effective. Once the opening has been closed off, sand it with a wax crayon. You can then mix acrylic paint to match the hue of the furniture and paint over the filler.

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