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What is the Best Type of Flooring for Pets?

When building a new home or remodeling an existing home, flooring choices are everything. With pets in the home, this becomes even more important, because pets are just as hard, if not harder, than people on flooring surfaces. What are the best flooring choices for pets in the home? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of several types of flooring to help in the decision making process.

Choosing the right floor will make both you and your furry friend happy.

Choosing the right floor will make both you and your furry friend happy.

Hardwood Flooring

Though this is one of the most desired types of flooring in a home, it is not the best choice for homes with pets. Pet urine can stain the hardwood, leaving a terrible smell and a dark spot in the wood. Even if urine accidents are cleaned up quickly after the fact, the urine may still seep into the wood, causing damage. To remove these stains, you may have to go so far as to strip, sand, and refinish the floor. If the stains are contained to one small area, this is hassle enough, but if the stains all over the place, the entire floor may need to be redone. At times, the odor and stain may reappear because of salt crystals left behind from the urine that cannot be dissolved. If this happens, completely replacing the wood may be necessary.

Another thing some pet owners forget to factor in when it comes to hardwood is the pet’s water bowl. If possible, place the water bowl on a mat of some sort to help protect the hardwood from moisture when the bowl spills. Quickly dry the spill after it happens, because moisture can soak down into the wood causing it to swell and contract.

Keeping pets nails trimmed or filed will also be necessary to avoid extraneous scratches on the flooring. As pets walk or run across the floor, their claws may damage the surface. While some owners may elect to declaw their pets, it certainly isn’t a possibility for all.

If the flooring is coated with a high quality urethane, it will be more scratch and stain resistant. Sweep the floors clean at least once a week for best maintenance.

Bamboo is harder than the hardest hardwood flooring and is one of the best pet-friendly flooring choices.

Laminate Flooring

Due to the hardness of laminate flooring, pet owners may turn to it instead of traditional hardwood. While this may work to provide the décor people want, it can be difficult for pets, especially dogs, because they will slip and slide as they walk or run through the home. This will cause their hips to move in unnatural ways, which may cause damage to their bodies. This is pronounced in smooth, high gloss laminate floors and can be mitigated somewhat by choosing a laminate floor with an embossed or textured finish. Laminate won’t show scratches as easily as some other surfaces, but because they are slippery and uncomfortable to lie on, rugs are recommended throughout the home to help the pet.

Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo is an excellent choice for homes with pets, for many different reasons. It’s harder than the hardest hardwoods, meaning it will stand up to more traffic. It won’t wear out, and it’s completely renewable, so it makes a good choice for those who are trying to be green. It is stain resistant, so people don’t have to worry about accidents or spills. Due to bamboo’s hardness it will save money compared to repairing other types of flooring. For those who are trying to decide between using hardwood and vinyl flooring, choosing bamboo floors is a great compromise.

Cork Floors

Cork is a green flooring choice good for the environment and the health of the occupants, pets included. Cork is an antimicrobial type of flooring that will reduce the growth of mold and other allergens. Cork is scratch resistant, though it should be swept regularly to prevent scratching from particles of dirt left on the floor. It is an excellent sound absorption option, so as pets walk across the floor, it will not be as loud. While the flooring is water resistant, it is a natural product, so spills should be cleaned up promptly. Discoloration of this flooring will happen over time when exposed to sunlight.

Stone Tile Flooring

This type of flooring is amazing for pet owners because it does not scratch easily, and scratches don’t show as they do in other types of flooring. When pets have accidents on the stone tile floor, there is much less reason to worry over how this will impact the condition of the flooring. With these two factors considered, this is a good choice for pet owners, but the floors are hard and cold so they are not very comfortable to lie on, unless the floor is heated by radiant heat. Consider using area rugs and pet beds to alleviate this problem. Granite is the hardest of the natural stones and is the best choice for scratch resistance. Softer stones such as marble, slate, and travertine may require somewhat more maintenance than granite, especially if they feature a polished finish.

Tile

Much similar to stone, porcelain or ceramic tile is a good choice in terms of wear and tear for pets. It won’t scratch easily. If pets don’t manage to make it outside before relieving themselves, the urine won’t damage the condition of the floor as it would with hardwood. However, much like stone, the surface is hard and uncomfortable for pets to lie on, but rugs will help.

Vinyl Flooring

While many people wouldn’t think vinyl flooring be a very pet friendly flooring choice, the new luxury vinyl flooring is an excellent choice, and it’s great for small children, too. The flooring is scratch and stain resistant, low in allergens, easy to clean and maintain, and even quiet to walk on.

Carpet

When it comes to pets, carpet is likely the worst flooring choice one can make, simply because it is easily damaged by pets. Even normal wear and tear on carpet in a pet-free home happens faster than with other flooring options. If carpet is the only choice because it is the most cost effective option for home flooring, the best thing to do is choose a carpet without loops as pet nails can snag on the loops and cause the carpet to wear faster.

While budget and ease of installation will be factors impacting the flooring decisions of a home, taking time to consider the best flooring options for pets beforehand may save money in repairs and frustration in the long run. Cutting corners on flooring to save money is not a good choice if the flooring needs to be replaced in a few months or even a year due to the wear and tear from the pets.

Are pets a factor in your flooring decision?

(79) Comments

  1. Betty Saenz REALTOR - Reply

    Here in the south, stone, tile and concrete floors are great pet options because we do not worry about the freezing cold here, so the colder flooring feels good to our pets. I always have room size rugs, area rugs and pet beds too so my pets have an option of where to lay down. Of course my cat always loves my laundry basket! Even hickory hardwood floors scratch with dog nails!

  2. I have 2 cats and a dog. We have chosen to do an acid stained concrete. It’s durable, inexpensive, easy to clean and doesn’t absorb urine odors. It is very attractive as well.

  3. I have a large Maine coon cat who between the carpets and tile kitchen floor causes damage. Wish I would have had him declawed but that ship has sailed. Need the very best flooring for my kitchen to stop his scratching it up. Any suggestions?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Richard,

      Thank you for getting in touch! I would definitely suggest looking into vinyl plank flooring or porcelain tile flooring. These are both really durable options that are also water resistant which makes cleaning very easy. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

    • I don’t believe in declawing, although our Maine Coon, who passed recently, came to us declawed. I simply trim the nails of my other two cats. It has made a tremendous difference (they aren’t trying to shred furniture, etc., too).

  4. THE BEST flooring for pets, is CONCRETE flooring. It is extremely durable, withstands scratches and does not absorb wetness and orders!

    I offer free in home estimates for all remodeling projects located in Los Angeles and surrounding cities. 818-633-5462

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  6. penny cleverley - Reply

    please help I have just moved into my new home I have a 10 year old newfoundland dog hee cannot walk on the floor cause he keeps slipping he has a hard time getting up too i’m afraid he is going to break his legs hips he weighs about 200 lbs I need a floor that he can walk on

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Penny,

      Two options I would suggest are cork flooring or vinyl plank flooring. Cork will definitely be the softer of the two options, although you would want to ensure that you are trimming your dog’s nails frequently to prevent scratching. With vinyl plank flooring, it is a one of the more durable types of flooring and should be able to help as it does not have a slippery surface.

      We do send up to 5 samples free of charge, so I would highly recommend ordering a some samples of both vinyl and cork options to see if either of these would work for your desired application!

  7. The very best solution is good quality linoleum. It can be easily cleaned. You can get the kind that has some traction and you can also get a design that looks very much like hardwood flooring.

    If you paint with Kilz BEFORE you put down the linoleum, the animals will be discouraged from using your room as their restroom. Linoleum is also more affordable than carpet or hardwood.

    You have to decide if you’d rather have your animals or a certain floor covering. Linoleum seems to be the best solution for all. Small pieces of carpet or rugs can soften the feeling of the room and they can either be washed or thrown away.

    I wish I had known this several years ago!

    Good luck to all!

  8. We bought bamboo for our floors and have a ten year old boxer and a setter , it is horrible we have such bad scratches every where. We are going to have to replace all the floors I am a groomer so my babies nails are always trimmed . What other ideas are there for flooring for a hyper dog, and a dog that’s older so not to hurt his joints??!

  9. have 2 dogs & wee-wee pads, these 2 guys seem to miss wee-wee pads, need to know the HONEST – best flooring for my 2 – 5yr old yorkie babies. HELP…

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  11. We bought our home last year and it came with bad carpet. We did not bother to change it because we have 6 dogs and it will only mean a huge waste of money. We just had it professionally cleaned and have been doing carpet shampooing ourselves every so often. Carpet condition has deteriorated so bad that all stains and smell dont go away anymore even with powerful pet cleaners/enzymes. Thinking of just finally ripping off the carpet and doing our floors. What is the most pet friendly, water and stain proof, most durable and most economical as we are on a tight budget. Areas would be foyer, formal living, diningroom and stairs. Considering installing new carpet on family room and upstairs bedrooms. Thanks.

  12. SLA, I have the same problem………right now there are 6 small dogs living in my home. Needless to say, my tile floors are a mess. I am in the process of using an enzyme cleaner, however, I am leaving it on for a week at a time. I pour it on. Spread it out. Cover entire area with plastic drop cloths so the enzyme remains wet and has an opportunity to really work. I also put the legs of my diningroom chairs and table in cups containing the enzyme. I’m hoping this works as I wish to put my home on the market. SO……….now I am wondering, when I move, what is the best flooring to put down. I’m almost leaning towards a sheet vinyl for where the dogs will be. I doubt their habits will improve quickly. I use puppy pads, however, one mistake and all the dogs have to claim the new area.

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