Best Pet-Friendly Flooring
Best Flooring Choices for Fido and Fluffy
Utility, style and value are not mutually exclusive when it comes to what goes under your and your pets’ feet.
By Stacy Mantle
These days, we have more flooring choices than ever. More than 60 percent of families in the U.S. share their homes with pets, so it’s no surprise the flooring industry is getting creative with options that are durable, inexpensive and stylish. Here is a look at some of the best pet-friendly flooring options on the market today.
Cool, Natural and Affordable Solutions
Those in warm southern climates can benefit from the cool, natural flooring options that are so often associated with showcase homes.
Stone: Naturally beautiful, scratch-resistant and easy to clean, stone is probably one of the best options for a pet-friendly household. Since it’s not as slick as tile, you won’t have pets falling throughout the house or causing injury to their hips, and if you’re in the Southwest, it can keep you cool all summer long. The drawback is stone can be uncomfortable for pets to sleep on throughout the day, so it’s very important you provide them with plenty of options for bedding, particularly senior pets.
Tip: Look for stone that doesn’t need to be sealed.
Tile: Easily one of the most popular flooring options for pet owners with allergies, tile is cool, easy to maintain, inexpensive to install and very pet-friendly. Be sure to incorporate some stylish, nonslip rugs into the design. Rugs help ensure young animals don’t slide into walls while playing and create a soft area for senior animals to rest their arthritic bones.
Tip: Stock up on extra tiles at time of purchase to keep color consistent during repairs.
Concrete: Decorative concrete is the new “in” design across the country. Whether you choose to stain, stamp or paint, there is a look you can mimic using the highly versatile concrete. There are an unlimited number of ways you can make concrete look as expensive as marble. Rated as the best alternative for people with pets, concrete can make a beautiful and inexpensive option for your pet-friendly floor.
Tip: Incorporate radiant heating into design to lower winter heating costs.
Warm, Inviting and Durable Solutions
If you live in an “all-weather” region, you might likely be on the hunt for warm, durable solutions. These include vinyl, laminate and carpet-tile options. While wood is beautiful flooring, it’s one of the least durable options for homes with pets—sharp claws can make short work of the floor. Instead, look for chic, aesthetically pleasing options that are easy to maintain.
Vinyl: Vinyl flooring is very durable and resistant to moisture, which makes it a favorite in the rainy areas. Simple to maintain, it has the added bonus of muffling the sounds your pets nails make as they click across the floor. Vinyl flooring comes in a large variety of colors and designs so you never have to sacrifice style for comfort.
Tip: Inlaid vinyl is thicker and has richer colors.
Laminate: If you’re looking for the aristocratic feel of wood floors without all the maintenance; laminate flooring is a durable solution that can hold up to the hard nails of your pet without scratching. While it’s not quite as durable as vinyl, laminate is affordable, easy to maintain and lasts much longer than wood.
Tip: Check the warranty—they range from 10 years to a lifetime.
Carpet Tiles: This is an excellent alternative to heavy floor rugs or to cover up and preserve wood floors. Simple to assemble, these can be used as an entire floor or as a way to preserve a high-use area. Cleaning is as simple as removing the carpet tile that is soiled by running it under water or tossing it in the washer. A vacuum can clean up any larger areas. Use as a runner for areas your pets like to charge through and eliminate any problems of getting toenails caught in shag. The pattern variety enables custom design and you can also make it the perfect option for concrete floors.
Tip: Visit Flor.com for clever ideas to create unique, affordable designs.
Green, Natural and Renewable Solutions
Flooring made from long-lasting, renewable resources is in vogue, which makes cork and bamboo two of my favorite flooring options.
Cork is a natural antimicrobial that reduce smold and other allergens—making it a perfect flooring solution for homes with pets. It also absorbs sound nicely (an excellent selling point if you dogs bark a lot). However, cork floors can fade and discolor if they see too much sunlight, making it a bad option for sunny regions. Consider coating it with a high-quality urethane to reduce wear and tear.
Tip: Avoid cork-vinyl composites. If using sealer, select a low-VOC product.
Bamboo is also an excellent option as it’s the hardest of hardwood—making it very durable and long-lasting. Cleaning is a breeze but remember, while cork and bamboo floors are naturally water-resistant, you need to get stains cleaned up quickly as they will eventually cause discoloration.
Tip: Look for FSC-certified products that have had no formaldehyde added.
Whatever new flooring you select, focus on easily maintained, durable and mildew-resistant designs. Any of the above options can last a long time and add value to your home. Pet-friendly (and pet-resistant) flooring also ensures you won’t grow frustrated with damage caused by your four-legged family members. These days, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort and durability for style.
About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at www.StacyMantle.com