We love our furry friends, but it’s hard to love their scratches, fur and messes (accidental and purposeful) all over our floors. You might think you need to sacrifice or compromise your personal style for your pet’s sake, but there are solid floors that offer the best of both worlds. All flooring options below can mimic other flooring options and come in a variety of other patterns, finishes and stains- it’s recommended to choose a pattern, finish or stain that matches your pet’s hair color so that when they shed it won’t be as visible.
If you’re willing to spend a little extra, then opt for tile. Not only does it last for 10-20 years, but it surpasses all other flooring options in terms of water/scratch resistance and upkeep as it is less sensitive to moisture, so (porcelain) tile is ideal for pets still potty training. Bigger, active pets will appreciate tile’s superb traction, too. Avoid this floor for older and calmer pets who might lounge around on the floor a considerable amount given that it has a cold, hard feel that may be less comfortable.
Luxury vinyl and laminate are the two-most cost-effective flooring options for those who are more price conscious. While both are known for their durability and longevity, luxury vinyl tile is more water resistant (fitting for pets still potty training); yet laminate is more scratch resistant due to its hard-wearing material so it’s well-suited for energetic pets, big or small. However, be weary that smoother laminate finishes provide less traction and insulation. Overall, both are easy to clean and maintain and are built for the daily wear and tear of pets.
While solid hardwood is beautiful, most types won’t last long in a home with pets. Engineered hardwood, however, gives you the look of solid hardwood and is much more cost-effective and comfortable for your pets. Made with a thin layer of natural hardwood on the top, it has an added scratch resistance and durability. Whether solid or engineered, it’s best to go with the hardest wood to increase scratch resistance, along with a scratch-resistant finish- they can be refinished multiple times if necessary, boosting their longevity. Engineered hardwood handles surface moisture better than traditional hardwood, but excessive moisture will lead to warping and staining, so it’s not optimal for pets that tend to be accident prone, like pets with long tails, for example.
Bamboo floors are a dependable substitute for traditional hardwood floors as well because their natural hardness imitates the look and feel of natural hardwood, yet they are extensively more scratch resistant, perfect for active pets. Although bamboo is durable and strong, they have a low threshold for moisture, but with their easy care and maintenance, it’s unlikely they will suffer damage or staining.
In terms of comfort, cork has a natural softness and cushion that is unmatched for older and calmer pets. Due to its cushioning, it also absorbs sound well; but it also makes it more susceptible to dents or punctures- although it is durable and fairly scratch resistant. As a hypoallergenic and antibacterial floor, it’s resistant to mold and mildew and can handle a generous amount of moisture, but permanent damage can be sustained if not cleaned promptly.
Even the most water/scratch resistant, durable floors will still need TLC and extra precautions to ensure their longevity. Reduce any potential for stains, damage or warping by cleaning any spills or accidents as soon as they happen. Whether you have low or high scratch resistance, trim your pets’ nails regularly to avoid damage. Utilize place mats under your pet’s food and water area so that your floors don’t take the brunt. Most importantly, implement a quick daily cleaning routine to minimize daily build-up of dirt and pet hair. By vacuuming, mopping and sweeping daily you will decrease the amount of effort into maintaining your floors in the future and increase their luster and shine.