Pets can be rough on floors. From nail scratches to accidents, stains, odors and shedding, having pets in the home can result in a lot of wear and tear on your flooring. So, unless you plan on banishing your best friend to the backyard, choosing the right flooring for pets could be a great investment or a big mistake.
The good news is: we are a nation of animal lovers, which means there are plenty of pet-friendly flooring options on the market that will keep your pet comfortable and make your life a little easier. And we are here to help you find a flooring option that you love and that can stand up to the wear and tear inflicted on it by your pets.
When you are looking for pet-friendly flooring, the two most important things to look for are:
Waterproof (or at least water-resistant)
With pets come accidents. But accidents aren’t the only way that pets bring water into the home. Food and water spills, muddy paws, rain, baths and let’s not forget that some dogs drool, a lot. Some floors can be permanently damaged by even a small amount of water if it is not cleaned up immediately. Waterproof, or highly water-resistant floors are necessary for any pet-home.
Unlike our nails, dogs and cats’ nails make contact with the ground when they walk. This alone can cause scratches on fragile floors as their nails are much harder than our own. There is no such thing as scratch proof, but there are many floors that are scratch-resistant. This generally means hard floors with a strong protective layer on top, so they can be refinished. Also, it can be a good idea to go for designs where scratches will blend in rather than stand out.
Tile and Stone Flooring
Water-resistant, stain-resistant, and easy to clean, tile and stone flooring can hold up to whatever your pets dish out. It is one of the best options when it comes to pet-friendly flooring.
Whether you’re potty-training a new puppy, or you have an older dog who has trouble controlling its bladder, tile is very forgiving and works well for pets of all ages. Bonus: if you forget to trim your pet’s nails, you don’t have to worry about them scratching or damaging your floors.
The downside is that while tile and stone are convenient for you, they aren’t the most comfortable option for your pet. These floors are hard and cold. Since San Diego is known for its mild winters, you probably won’t need to worry about a radiant underfloor heating system. The cold floors may instead be a great spot for pets to cool down in the hot summer months. But while cats can easily find a comfy couch or chair to rest in, if you have dogs, be sure to also provide a soft place for them to lie down.
Cork flooring is a great choice for pet owners. Not only is it attractive, but it’s also microbial. Microbial flooring is less likely to develop bacterial growth, mold, or other harmful allergens. So while you still want to clean up accidents quickly, if you don’t discover the accident right away, it is less likely to leave behind harmful bacteria and allergens.
Another benefit of cork is that it absorbs sound. This makes cork a great option for people who live on an upper floor or who might have a sleeping baby in the house.
While cork is scratch-resistant, this doesn’t mean it won’t scratch. Keeping your pet’s nails trimmed is still a good idea. Choose a lighter shade of cork flooring to minimize the appearance of scratch marks and make sure to seal your floors with a tough, scratch-resistant finish.
While cork flooring is not entirely “pet-proof”, it is a great option that provides a natural warmth similar to hardwood flooring, yet it is more resistant to many pet-related flooring challenges.
Like cork, bamboo flooring is another great option if you want a natural, wood-look with pets. It is extremely durable and both stain- and scratch-resistant. So, you can feel at ease as you watch your pet run across your brand-new floors.
But not all bamboo is created equal. Make sure to choose one that has a high rating for hardness according to the Janka test. Strand woven bamboo floors hold up better than other types.
Bamboo flooring is also easy to maintain. So, whatever your pet drags into the house from the outside is easy to clean up. Food and water spills or pet accidents won’t damage these floors either if cleaned up properly.
Plus, choosing bamboo allows you to do something good for the environment since it is very sustainable. Overall, bamboo flooring is an excellent choice at a great price point for a home with pets, as long as you choose one that is hard and durable.
Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Luxury vinyl flooring is a great choice for homes with pets. It can mimic the look of natural stone, tile, or hardwood, but it is much easier on your pets and your budget!
Luxury vinyl comes as either luxury vinyl planks (LVP) or luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and both options work well with pets for many reasons.
First, luxury vinyl is very durable. If you choose a good quality product and it is installed correctly, it can withstand many of the challenges that come along with pets.
It won’t scratch or tear and it holds up well against accidents and food or water bowl spills. Not only is it very durable, but most luxury vinyl is also water-resistant—some products are even waterproof! This makes it easy to clean and maintain.
It is also softer underfoot than other hard surfaces so you and your pets will be more comfortable while walking and resting.
If you are looking for budget-friendly flooring that you and your pets will enjoy, luxury vinyl is an excellent choice. You can find quality luxury vinyl flooring with realistic wood or stone looks for less than real hardwood or tile.
While any type of hardwood flooring is not recommended for pets, if you must have hardwood, then go with engineered hardwood.
Be sure to choose one that rates high on the Janka Scale—such as Brazilian cherry or white oak—with a tough, scratch-resistant finish.
Go with planks that have a thick veneer just in case your pet does manage to scratch through the finish. If you choose a thicker top layer, you can sand it down and refinish it a few times.
A great way to hide inevitable scratch marks is to choose flooring that already has a “rustic” or distressed look. Styles that are designed to already look worn will allow those scratch marks will naturally blend in.
Also, remember to clean up any accidents or spills immediately to prevent damage to your floors.
While not as water- or scratch-resistant as other options, engineered wood is more water-resistant than traditional hardwood floors. Not to mention it is more desirable when considering resale value. If you don’t mind spending a little more money (and energy) on high-quality engineered hardwood, it is possible for pets and hardwood floors to coexist in your home.