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 options for flooring 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.
Finding the Purrfect Flooring for Pets
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. If the stains are 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 and spills. Quickly dry any spill after it happens. 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 hardwood is coated with a high quality urethane, it will be more scratch and stain resistant.
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 it is not a great flooring for pets. Rugs are recommended throughout the home to help the pet if you choose lamiate.
Bamboo is an excellent flooring for 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. This makes it a good choice for those who are trying to be green. Bamboo is stain resistant, so people don’t have to worry about accidents or spills. Bamboo’s hardness will help save money when compared flooring that will require repairs from scratches. For those who are trying to decide between using wood and vinyl flooring, choosing bamboo floors is a great compromise.
Cork is a green flooring choice good for the environment and the health of the occupants, pets included. It’s an antimicrobial type of flooring that will reduce the growth of mold and other allergens. It is scratch resistant, though you should sweep it regularly to prevent scratching from particles of dirt left on the floor. Cork is also an excellent sound absorption option. As pets walk across the floor it will not be as loud as wood. While the flooring is water resistant, it is a natural product, so spills should be cleaned up promptly. Discoloration will happen over time when exposed to sunlight.
Stone Tile Flooring
Stone is an amazing flooring for pets 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 how it will impact 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. However, you can use radiant heat to make it warmer. 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.
Porcelain or Ceramic Tile
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.
While many people wouldn’t think of vinyl flooring for pets, the new luxury vinyl flooring is an excellent choice. It’s great for small children, too! The flooring is scratch and stain resistant, low in allergens, easy to clean and maintain. It’s even quiet to walk on.
When it comes to flooring for pets, carpet is likely the worst choice one can make. This is 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.