Pets can bring lots of joy, but having one means making accommodations at home for both their needs and yours. Choosing appropriate flooring is a big consideration, especially for dogs. You want something durable, attractive and easy to maintain, but your fur baby is looking for comfort. What are the best floors for pets?
Your needs, your pet’s needs
Choosing the best floors for pets means finding options that can withstand scratches from your animal’s nails, help hide pet hair, and resist stains and odors from the inevitable accidents. You also want flooring that is attractive and comfortable. From your pet’s point of view, it’s important that your floors are comfortable and not slippery. The best floors for pets offer toughness, comfort and easy cleaning.
The best floors for pets are vinyl. This flooring is tough, with just enough “give” to be relatively comfortable for your cats and dogs. Cleaning vinyl flooring is a cinch: Pet hair vacuums up easily, and accidents can be wiped away without leaving a trace. This option also offers some traction to minimize slipping and sliding. And vinyl can look like either stone or hardwood. Another plus: Vinyl flooring is affordable. Be sure to invest in quality vinyl, since the least expensive varieties won’t be as durable.
Linoleum is one of the best floors for pets. It shares many of the same characteristics as vinyl, but is a little more expensive. This option has enough give to be comfortable for cat (and dog!) naps. Scratches are relatively hard to spot because linoleum’s decorative pattern goes all the way through the material. As with vinyl, accidents clean up nicely.
Cork is fairly forgiving: Though cork floors scratch more easily than vinyl and linoleum, they can be polished. (Cork, however, cannot be refinished like hardwood.) Cork offers warmth, some resilience, and antimicrobial properties. Be aware that the softer types of cork will not withstand regular traffic from a dog’s nails.
If you love the look of real hardwood floors, go with a tougher-than-nails choice such as bamboo, white oak, hard maple or walnut. Take a look at the Janka Hardness System to evaluate the hardness of the woods you’re considering. Bamboo contains antimicrobial qualities which promote a sanitary surface. A lighter shade of stain on hardwood floors will make pet hair less noticeable. Despite hardwood’s toughness, scratches may still appear, but you can eventually sand and refinish these floors.
Laminate, with its near-bulletproof toughness, is one of the best floors for pets. It offers the look of hardwood or stone tile at a fraction of the cost. Laminates have a clear coating called melamine that withstands tough traffic. Laminate floors will be hard, however, and therefore less comfortable for you to walk on and your pet to lay on.
Stone tile withstands pet and household traffic the best. It will hardly show a scratch, even if your pooch is large, and it cleans up easily. But tile floors are hard and cold, so your pets would probably vote “no” on this option.
We save carpet for last for a reason. Your pet would love its softness, but pet hair clings to carpets. It is difficult if not impossible to remove stains and odors from carpet after pet accidents. If there are areas of your house that must be carpeted, choose a stain- and odor-resistant nylon product with a pile that is cut rather than looped.
Related – Keeping Your Pets and Home Squeaky Clean