Whether you’re a cat or dog person, carpets make a suitable flooring option amongst pet/homeowners: they absorb sound, provide traction and are soft and comfortable. Unfortunately, whether your furry friend is big or small, the wear and tear they inflict upon our floors is more evident in carpets compared to other flooring choices. As a pet owner, cleaning and maintaining our floors can be taxing and tiring, but it doesn't have to be if factors such as material, durability, stain resistance and pile height are considered when choosing a new carpet.
Carpet is fashioned from either wool, nylon, triexta, polyester or olefin each yielding their own advantages. Wool is at the top of the budget but repels moisture and resists stains and is long-lasting in light to medium traffic. Nylon is the most durable at handling snags from paws and claws, so it’s optimal for energetic and active pets. It resists moisture and is treated with stain-blocking technology, so it handles pet stains and odors and thus lasts for a long time, up to 15-20 years. Triexta is soft, dense and low maintenance, resembles nylon and is even manufactured to resist stains by not absorbing water. However, it requires thorough vacuuming and is not as durable. Polyester, while fade and stain resistant, soft and dense with a deep pile, is more easily deteriorated given that it’s created from recycled materials. Olefin, also known as polypropylene, is naturally stain and fade resistant. It makes a suitable preference for high traffic areas because it resists pilling and has a short dense pile, low loops and rough feel. Although it attracts and absorbs oil, so it appears dingier faster, it’s easy to clean and care for.
To withstand pet damage, the loops of fiber in your carpet, known as the pile, should be low for added durability. While long pile carpet is plush and luxurious, it is more susceptible to snags and tears from nails and claws. A low pile carpet has shorter carpet fibers which reduces the chance for snags and that hair, fleas, dirt and grime get trapped. Furthermore, the loops of fiber should be closed so there are no exposed loose ends, and the carpet will not become flat or matted as quickly. For dogs or cats, cut pile styles and tight weaves are the most durable because the fibers are more densely packed together and brave and conceal wear better.
Maybe your pet isn’t potty trained, has a big, wagging tail, or is prone to clumsiness, but it’s inevitable: accidents are going to happen. Depending on your schedule, you also may not be able to guarantee that you’ll be able to clean up a mess immediately or have time to dedicate to a daily cleaning regimen. Stain-resistant carpets alleviate some of that burden and further protect the carpet. A stainmaster carpet will offer the ultimate stain and soil resistance since they resist absorbing spills. As an added measure, a carpet pad with a vapor barrier will preserve the pad and subfloor and prevent the pad from absorbing moisture. Limiting stains from settling in the carpet is pivotal in warding off a lingering odor in the future.
Beyond durability, it’s worth checking for volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), which are human made chemicals found in flooring that can lead to adverse health conditions like cancer, skin reactions and irritations in pets. Carpets made from natural or synthetic fibers or with certified low VOC’s, are pet friendly as well as antibacterial and hypoallergenic carpets.
To ease carpet maintenance, choose multicolored or patterned carpet with variations; or a darker neutral color if you prefer a solid color, to camouflage stains and wear. Or, if you have a pet that sheds frequently, a color that closely resembles your pet's fur.
With these considerations, your carpet’s life will span 10-15 years and your four-legged friend will be able to live their life comfortably, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing your carpet is more protected.