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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 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.

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Finding the Purrfect Flooring for Pets

Laminate Flooring

 Lamton Laminate - 12mm Narrow Board Collection
Flooring that will stand the test of time. Featuring Lamton Laminate – 12mm Narrow Board Collection in American Cherry SKU: 10074931

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 laminate.

Bamboo Flooring

Yanchi Varuna Waterproof Engineered Bamboo Collection
When only the natural beauty and warmth of real bamboo will do. Yanchi Varuna Waterproof Engineered Bamboo Collection
Chateau SKU: 15273475

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 to 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. If you choose bamboo snap lock flooring, the installation will be easy too.

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 about 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.

 Kesir Marble Tile - Polished
Suitable to a wide variety of spaces, and applications. Featuring Kesir Marble Tile – Polished in Turkish Carrara White SKU: 10086381

Granite is the hardest of 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 Flooring

 Cabot Porcelain Tile - Redwood Series in Natural
Porcelain tile that looks like a wood surface. Featuring Cabot Porcelain Tile – Redwood Series in Natural SKU: 10083319

Similar to stone, porcelain or ceramic tile floors are 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

Durable, yet with a luxurious look. Featuring Vesdura Vinyl Planks – 2mm PVC Peel & Stick – Sterling Collection Birchwood SKU: 15136005

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.

Carpet

Sonora Carpet Tiles - 12" x 12" - Nexus Collection
Pet-friendly carpeting. Featuring Sonora Carpet Tiles – 12″ x 12″ – Nexus Collection in
Smoke SKU: 15203799

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.

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(87) Comments

  1. I have two cats (1 male/1 female). My husband’s son moved in with us a year ago, and he owns goats (they are at a local farm and he visits them daily to care for them) and he also hunts, traps, and skins animals. My male cat (I think) has taken to marking a leather couch in our basement where my step-son sits to watch tv, and also marks his clothes and towels left on the floor in his bathroom. The bathroom cleans up pretty well as there is porcelain tile that was sealed. However, the staining on the leather furniture dripped on the burbur (sp?) carpet. My carpet cleaner was able to remove the stain and odor last December, but the cat has remarked. We are considering replacing the flooring with something that won’t absorb the cat urine and odors.

    Are the expensive tiles the best way to go, making sure they are sealed? Also, do you know if it will be possible to remove the odor from the leather furniture?

    Does it make sense that the cat resents the smell of other animals? Also, my step-son is very loud, slams doors, never speaks to the cats or pets them. I’m sure they don’t like him and are doing this on purpose. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    Suellen

  2. Thank you for the great information here! We’re looking to replace reclaimed oak hardwood floors that have been damaged from poor installation and 7 years of animal accidents. Our 3 dogs while well trained do have overnight accidents so that means 6 to 10 hours before someone gets up and removes the moisture. This is an on slab install and we are wondering if tile is our only option for complete resitability to damage? I have had several slip and falls from puddles on our currently tiled areas and this idea really scares me. Yesterday I saw a carpet product from Mohawk called SmartStrand that advertises that even pet urine won’t stain it and comes out with just hot water. But it’s carpet and I really want to consider not only wear and tear but resale value down the line. What is your opinion on SmartStrand and what is your overall recommendation?

    • Hi Tawnya,

      While we are unable to provide an informed opinion on SmartStrand (as it is not our product), I will advise on several options for your situation. It is true that accidents cannot be prevented, and regular care and maintenance is required. When you see a wet spot, make sure you clean it right away. Regular sweeping and the use of a lightly damp cloth (wet with a little bit of water) is the most effective method. You do not want to use any special cleaning product, vinegar, etc., as repeated use can have a negative affect on the appearance of the flooring.

      You can go with regular solid hardwood for resale value. If going over concrete, you can also go with engineered hardwood, which has the look of solid hardwood but with its multi-plank core birch ply, allows for greater dimensional stability. Alternatively, you can do laminate as well. It’s a completely synthetic product made out of high density fibre but very durable. And as you mentioned, tile would be a safe choice too. You have several options here. Feel free to call 1-877-631-2845 and we can discuss your alternatives for you.

      Rodney

  3. Hi Joe,

    When it comes to carpet and pets probably not the best combination. Although for your application I don’t think you have to many other options. If its softness you’re looking for than cork would be the next softest option, but I wouldn’t recommend that with the amount of pets that are going to be in the home. If I had to put carpet down I would lean towards the carpet tile, I say this because with carpet tile it’s a peal and stick installation, meaning once the piece of tile has seen its share of damage it can easily be replaced.

    When it comes to the sub-floor, if its ply-wood you’re dealing with I would say replacing it would be your best bet, I don’t think there’s any kind of treatment that will get rid of that odor.

    Hope that helped.

    Fil

  4. My elderly mother is being looked after by my sister and brother-in-law. They have two dogs and four cats and from time to time they almost all have “accidents”. This is not ideal for cleanliness or appearance, but it’s important to have carpeting in the living room and bedroom to provide at least some cushioning should Mom fall. What would be the best carpeting and padding for these conditions?

    Also the old carpet and pad need to be removed. I’m guessing that some stains have soaked through to the sub-floor. This is a century-old farmhouse so I’m not sure if the sub-floor consists of the planks visible from the basement or if a plywood or other layer was laid on top. In any case does the subfloor need to, and can it be, treated to remove lingering odors so the floor is “fresh”, especially to animal noses sniffing about to mark their territory? I’m not a flooring or pet expert so don’t know if these questions are germane.

  5. You suggest bamboo several times in your article, citing that it is “harder than the hardest hardwoods”. This is not true. The standard scale for wood hardness is the Janka Scale. Bamboo only rates a measly 1650 (pounds force) on the Janka Scale, whereas there are many, many hardwoods that are more than 200% harder than bamboo. For example, Brazilian Walnut (Ipe) is a whopping 3684, and Brazilian Teak (Cumaru) scores a 3540. Even the very popular Brazilian Cherry (Jatoba) is harder than bamboo (2350 on Janka). Remember, Bamboo is a species of grass. It is not a hardwood, and to engineer it to be harder, it is stripped and glued to form many layers thick. It is the plastics in the glue that gives it it’s increased hardness, not the natural material. In summary, going with one of the South American hardwoods is going to give you a far more resilient, scratch/dent resistant, beautiful floor. They are also harvested sustainably, for those who are eco-friendly. That said, there is no such thing as scratch-proof when pets are concerned. All I know is that my 70 lb. Lab cannot generate 3684 lbs. of force, even at a run–the Brazilian Walnut is safe from him. He can scratch the heck out of bamboo though.

  6. I am looking at a house with travertine flooring in all the living areas except the bedrooms which are carpeted. I have 4 dogs and as they are aging, they sometimes have accidents (both types) as well as my 12 year old has occasional vomiting. This sometimes occurs at night so I do not find it until morning. I have heard that travertine flooring, even when sealed stains easily and is hard to clean the stains unless you clean up almost immediately and that the MOHs is only 3 making it more susceptible to scrathing. Of course the sellers agent is saying how her son has travertine with 2 dogs and has not problems. I am looking for an unbiased opinion! Thanks

    • Hello Trina,

      Like a lot of flooring related applications your mileage may vary. For some pet owners, they never have any issues with their flooring perhaps because they are lucky that their pets don’t have any accidents.

      Personally, I would look at those cases as exceptions to the rule and proceed with caution. So what you have heard about Travertine is absolutely true and even if you do seal it there’s still a chance of staining the tile. So my suggestion would be to stick with porcelain tile and not have to worry about such a situation unless you have a lot of confidence in your pets(and are absolutely in love with a particular travertine) and realize you are taking a chance.

      I hope that helps!

      Jas

  7. Hi,
    We are redoing our basement. We have a work out area with a weight machine, treadmill and bike. Guy at flooring place said we could take laminant in there also. Have some concerns about wear and denting. Found a vinyl plank floor that looks wood. Would that be a better product to use?

    • Hi Ginny,

      For your basement, both styles will work in this application. Vinyl would probably be a slightly better choice because of its durability but having said that, if you go with an AC3 laminate flooring (great for high residential use) then you will be fine just as well. Note that for your basement, you will need to put a moisture barrier down.

      In addition, I would recommend that you use padding under the equipment (weight machine, treadmill, bike, etc.) to prevent scratching.

      Rodney

  8. I am wanting to replace carpet in my home due to doggie accidents and just living in the country that tracks in a lot of dirt. I already have tile in part of my home, but want to put down some type of wood look down. We have see vinyl planks what do think? Or just was kind of floor would last with country living and animals without breaking the bank/?

    • Hey Melissa,
      Vinyl can be a good option for an affordable and durable product that will still give you that “wood look”. For a wider variety of styles another product you should probably consider is laminate, which once again has the appearance of a wood floor with that same durability and affordability you are looking for.

  9. We are considering bamboo flooring in our kitchen. We have a small older dog that does have accidents. We are sometimes gone for extended periods and are worried if she has an accident on the bamboo flooring how it will hold up if not cleaned up immediatly. I have searched several sights and all that say is that it is very durable for pet scratches.

  10. Pingback: Best flooring for dogs? Choosing a floor for a golden retriever. | Meet My Ugly Baby

  11. I have slate flooring and when I am gone for extended periods of time, I place my little dog into the bathroom with puppy pads. Sometimes he misses the pads and it gets on the slate. Will I have odor issues? How can I avoid odor issues?

    • Hi Lou,
      Which specific style of Bamboo were you looking at? Strand Woven for example, is an incredibly dense and hard material due to the way it is made, and as such will hold up better to pets. Whereas if is traditional carbonized bamboo, the material may be a bit softer and more susceptible to scratches. If you can respond, with the style you are looking at I can better address the issue.

  12. I have stone floors (travertine) I sealed them upon installation 1 yr. ago. I have a new puppy who has made mistakes as well as my cats. I ‘ve used a neutralizer after cleanup. With or without using the neutrilizer it leaves a very dull finish. Best tile suggested i reseal it again and it “may Help” but it changes little. This stone and installation was very expensive. Is there any finish I can use to prevent my stone being damaged. Any HELP w/b greatly appreciated….

    • Hi Sharon,

      Unfortunately, you don’t have many choices once a stain has set in and it is difficult to resolve. It is true that resealing it “may” help, but the only other alternative I see is to replace the entire tile(s) if it is only isolated to one or two tiles. Hope that helps!

  13. I have 3 dogs, 2 of which are small and which I have not been able to house train. I need to replace all the flooring on both the main floor and in the family room downstairs. It seems to me that my only option is a good quality vinyl. Am I correct in this assumption?

    • Hi Carla,

      Vinyl will probably be the best option. But laminate is a good alternative as well (look for ones that are AC3/AC4 rated) and they will hold up. Just note that with laminate, or any natural product repeated exposure to moisture, especially in the same spot will result in issues.

      Rodney Noriega

  14. Put you animals outside where they belong and you
    Won’t have to worry! Its kind of.. no its plain disgusting to
    Not only have pet hair all over but urine?! And around kids?!
    One word.. yummy!

  15. I just had a prefinished floor installed, and have noticed that some of the abutments are not tight. I can actually run my fingernail between the spaces. Should their be these spaces?

  16. Hi, I am reflooring my stairs and hallway upstairs, as well as the 4 bedrooms. I want to put laminate flooring down, (there is wall to wall now), but I have 2 small dogs that do have accidents frequently, ruining the carpet in hallway and stairs.. I am thinking of the vinyl plank in the hallway, with laminate in bedrooms, and carpet on stairs. Is it possible to lay vinyle planks on stairs that have the bullnose (i think thats what its called) look to them? (They only have plywood under wall to wall now). Also, are vinyl planks the better option for me with the pets?

    • Hi Karen,

      We do not carry bull noses for vinyl. While you can definitely install vinyl planks on your stairs, it will not come with a rounded out look that you are going for.

      Vinyl is comparable to an AC4 laminate, which is very durable in regards to scratch resiliency and is more resilient to moisture than laminate as well. It is a great option for pets, but laminate is good as well (AC3/AC4).

      Cheers,
      Rodney

  17. We have a 3 season room with alot of glass. We also have several cats who may or may not use the litter box. What flooring should we use to 1) prevent stains, 2) easy clean up, 3) avoid sun fading, 4) possible consider using with radiant heating. I am thinking porcelain tile, but am worried it may be too hot for the summer. Radiant heating is not a must but would be nice to make it a more 4 season room. My husband uses this room alot. I also considered bamboo rather than cork (due to cat accidents and fading), but not sure I can put radiant heating under it.

  18. I would not recommend laminate floors for pets unless you opt for a waterproof product. Flooring that is built from wood fibers will swell if a pool of liquid sits on them for more than an hour or two and this can be a significant problem if you have a pet that has frequent accidents. All it takes is for you to not notice one accident right away, or have one occur in the middle of the night, and you have permanent floor damage.

  19. Hi
    We are having a new home built and will install travertine flooring. We also have an eight year old Maltese who has frequent “accidents” in the house. Will that destroy the floors?

    Thanks!

  20. Hi,

    I have slate floors and my dog pees frequently upon getting excited. Yesterday when he did this, after wiping it off of the slate, we noticed the floor in the places where he peed were slippery like wax and looked dull compared to the finished slate tiles that did not get peed on. I was wondering if dog urine can damage the finish on a slate floor? Or was it more likely a cleaning product that was on the towel used to clean the mess up that did it? Or some other unlikely culprit all together?

    If you have heard of anything like this happening to a slate finished floor before let me know… he pees on other areas of the slate and it has never happened before?

    • Sabrina,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Was the material sealed after install? If not, then the dog urine will definately effect the floor. Slate Tile is porous and the acid in the dog urine can have an effect on the finish.

      Once the slate is stained it can be extremely difficult to remove (it soaks into the material itself).

      I have heard of slate staining but not due to this specific occurance.

  21. I was surprised to not see concrete flooring listed as an option here for pet-friendly floor surfaces. Concrete is extremely pet friendly…won’t harbor fleas, doesn’t collect pet dander, won’t scratch, resists stains and urine, slip-resistant…and at the same time concrete can be aesthetically pleasing with coloring agents. For your readers who want to know more about concrete as a flooring surface: //www.concretenetwork.com/concrete/interiorfloors/

  22. I have a dog who pees on the floor (he is 7). I also have a cat and 2 kids. I currently have laminate flooring which is destroyed from the dog. water damage from my sink. What would be the best flooring to put down, that would hold up to my household and that is easy to maintain and keep clean. I am lookng for quality but yet affordable.

    • Hi Karyn,
      Laminate flooring may still be a way to go, depending on a number of factors like AC rating and thickness being very important. Kids, pets, and laminate flooring can live together in harmony, but only if the conditions are right. Housetraining for your dog may be on your radar already, but that’s a good place to start no matter what kind of floor you have. Taking off footwear while inside, and immediate attention to things like spills (as immediate as you can as a busy parent that is) are all simple, but effective ways to preserve the look of your floor.

      But, this depends on the room as well. If there’s a water source where excessive moisture is an issue, you may wish to find a porcelain tile to lay down. There are some stylish tile varieties out there that many people turn to for places like bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry areas. In addition to a fairly wide selection, porcelain tile is impervious to any kind of moisture, so it’s also very practical in these kinds of areas.

      I hope that helps, and let us know if we can help you narrow it down any further.

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