You come home from a long hard day, you open the front door, and find your fur-baby patiently waiting. You scoop them up in your arms, and give them the love they have been waiting for all day. Family pets bring so much joy and happiness, and then you find it, a big mess on your new carpet or wood flooring. You cringe as you imagine the permanent damage these kinds of accidents can cause to your expensive flooring. But do not fret. In this article we are going to review several options for pet friendly floors that will give you peace of mind from your little friends’ accidents.
The types of flooring we are going to discuss include the following: hard surface materials such as stone, tile and concrete; resilient vinyl; soft surface flooring consisting of various types of carpet; and wood based materials such as engineered wood and laminate. All of these products have advantages and disadvantages such as the look, feel, durability, and the cost. We will discuss how well these products are suited to pets, and specifically how well they do resisting wear, stains and moisture.
Hard Surface Floors:
Hard surface floors are inherently the best options for pets. They are very durable, resist staining and are easy to clean. The main disadvantages are the cost and the hard feel which can be very slippery for some pets. Natural stone and cement based grouts are the weak link in these products as they are porous and can stain easily if not treated. Recent chemical advancements have developed nano-particle sealers that can penetrate into porous products like these. They also vastly improve their ability to resist stains and moisture, and can last over 15 years. These premium sealers are available at most tile material supply houses.
Low quality tiles may have a very weak surface and can scratch or crack easily, so avoid these products. Concrete is typically coated with a resin material that may or may not resist staining. Some of these products are extremely durable, while others may be very weak and even peel off the concrete under light use or when in contact with moisture. Do your research on the coating to be applied to your concrete and be sure to use something with high bonding strength as well as the ability to resist staining.
Resilient vinyl flooring has made huge advancements in technology which has made it a very good choice for being pet friendly. The main disadvantages are that the surfaces may be slippery and may be scratched easier than the hard surface materials. One of the greatest advantages of vinyl is it’s resistance to moisture and staining. It’s surface does not allow moisture or stains to penetrate the flooring. When used with a pressure sensitive glue, they will not release when in contact with moisture like the old vinyl would.
Vinyl flooring in the past has also been prone to damage because the surface is soft, thin, and tears easily. Sheet viny,l or peel and stick tiles, have typically looked very cheap. But the new vinyl plank and tile market has smashed the old paradigm of the cheaper vinyl. The look and feel of the large planks can be similar to that of a high quality laminate or wood flooring. The pieces are relatively easy to replace if damaged, and they are installed at a lower cost. The highest quality plank materials have a titanium reinforced top coating that resists scratching making it an ideal product for pets of all sizes.
Carpet has a soft luxurious feel that can be a welcome place for pets to sleep and play. But it has long been a feared floor covering for pet lovers due to the chances of it being ruined by stains, odors, and claws. This has encouraged many homeowners to remove all carpet in place of more durable solutions. However, recent advances in pet friendly carpet technology has created a whole new generation of carpet and padding that resists stains, prevents the absorption of moisture below the carpet, and resists damage from claws. New weave designs also helps the carpet to release pet hair. All major carpet manufacturers have “pet friendly” carpets, so it’s just a matter of finding the right one for you. When choosing a moisture resistant padding be sure to select an installer who knows what they’re doing. A poor installation can dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the padding’s ability to keep out stain causing moisture and stubborn odors that get stuck in typical carpet padding.
Wood based floors include laminate, engineered, and solid styles. High quality laminate can have a very nice look, resist scratches, and resist stains. However, it has typically been very susceptible to moisture damage and just one pet accident can cause irreparable damage to the flooring. However, new advancements in laminate technology have developed materials that resist water damage for up to 24 hours which can typically give enough time to clean up the mess.
Engineered and solid wood materials both have a top layer of real wood that can be damaged, and are all affected by water, although to varying degrees based on their hardness. Hardwoods such as maple, cherry, oak and hickory can be much more resistant to denting and scratches than softer woods such as pine, ash and birch. The coating applied also makes a big difference in how scratch resistant the wood is. Check the manufacturers specs on the coating used, and don’t rely on arbitrary warranty periods. These can give the perception of a long lasting wood floor, but can be very misleading. The hardness of the wood and the strength of the coating are the best indicators of how well your flooring will do with pets.