Pet Friendly

If you have pets then pet friendliness is an important consideration when selecting flooring, as pets can cause damage and wear to certain types of flooring.

Pet friendliness is defined by a flooring’s ability to withstand scratches, stains, and moisture, as well as its ease of cleaning and maintenance.

Your home flooring needs to be of up-notch quality in order to sustain the pitter patter of pets running across them all day long. They need to be waterproof, stain resistant, and durable to even the sharpest of claws. Vinyl, cork, and laminate flooring will do the trick.

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Pets vs. Flooring

Over 60% of all homes in Canada and the US have pets. If you’re a pet parent, your four-legged friend is part of the family. If you had to choose between having your pet or having a nice floor, you’d never ditch the dog or kick your cat to the curb. Thanks to advancements in flooring technology, you can have both.

Some of the challenges pets place on flooring include:

  • Shedding
  • Scratches from paws and claws
  • Urine & Poop
  • Water spills (and slobber)
  • Dirt, dander, and mud
  • Extra wear and tear

While it is possible to maintain most any type of flooring, the best plan is to have one that is so suited for a pet that little to no extra maintenance is required.

The Qualities Of A Pet Friendly Floor

A pet-friendly floor type should have several qualities to make it durable and easy to clean.

Firstly, it should be scratch-resistant, as pets can easily scratch the surface with their nails. Therefore, a hard surface such as laminate would be ideal.

Secondly, the floor should be waterproof or water-resistant, as pets can have accidents or spill their water bowls. Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) or porcelain tile would be good choices as they are water-resistant and easy to clean.

Thirdly, the floor should be slip-resistant, to prevent pets from slipping and injuring themselves. Tile with a matte finish or a textured surface would be good options.

Fourthly, the floor should be easy to clean, as pets can track in dirt, mud, and other debris. Floors that can be easily swept, vacuumed or mopped, such as hardwood, LVT or tile, would be good choices.

Lastly, the floor should be able to withstand the wear and tear of pet traffic. This means that the flooring should be durable, resistant to stains, and have a long lifespan. Hardwood, tile, and LVT are all good options for durability.

Pet Friendly Flooring Options

#1 Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring meets all the qualities of a great flooring option for families with pets. It’s durable and scratch resistant to sharp claws, quiet under the pitter patter of small paws, and waterproof to fluids and stains. Vinyl flooring will keep you and your pets happy!

  • Stain and scratch resistant 
  • Quiet underfoot
  • At Chestnut Flooring, waterproof options are available

How Vinyl Holds Up Against Pets

Vinyl flooring is more durable than many of the other flooring options when it comes to pets. While carpet typically lasts three to five years (not taking into consideration the damage a pet might do), vinyl typically has a lifespan of ten years or longer. Hardwood is tough, but only certain types of woods and finishes are fit for furry friends.

Especially if you choose tile or planks, if one or two get damaged from your pet, they can be replaced easily and cheaply. Furthermore, vinyl is water repellant and can also be found in completely water-proof varieties as well, so you don’t have to worry if your pet has an accident or water overflows from his bowl.

Vinyl flooring does cost more than linoleum. It’s going to last longer and hold up better though. It is less expensive than wood or natural materials and costs less than most of them but looks amazingly similar. Plus, if your pet does cause irreparable damage, the price of replacing vinyl is nothing like the cost of replacing solid wood.

Today’s vinyl flooring is much different than it was just a few decades ago, especially with luxury vinyl flooring on the scene. Vinyl is made from PVC, a synthetic material, that is mixed with other ingredients (like resin and plasticizers) that are sandwiched together in layers.

The higher the quality of the vinyl, the more layers there are and the higher the price is as well. Some of the best vinyl flooring has nine layers.

The bottom layer is the comfort layer that adds underfoot and underpaw cushioning. Of course you want your pet to be in the lap of luxury and cradled in comfort when he walks. But most importantly, vinyl flooring practically eliminates those obnoxious claw clicking noises. For some pet parents, that alone is reason enough to go with vinyl.

The middle layers are where foam is found for additional comfort and flexibility. You don’t want to skimp on these layers.

Then there’s the photographic, or visual, layer that mimics the look and feel of solid wood, slate, marble, stone, or whatever pattern and design you opt for. Today’s vinyl flooring is made to look so much like natural materials, they can almost fool the homeowner. You can choose from a large array of textures and finishes, many of which are ideal for households with pets.

The final top layers of vinyl flooring are the clear protective layer that keeps it free of scratches from claws and paws and the translucent clear antimicrobial layer that protects all the layers beneath and promotes a germ-free environment for both you and your furry friend.

Vinyl flooring is so suited for dogs and cats, you’d think they were invented with them in mind. And, who knows…maybe they were.

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#2: Cork Flooring

Cork flooring is another great pet-friendly flooring option because it comesfrom the “bark” of trees. Seriously! It’s made from the bark of cork oak trees and is a renewable resource that’s naturally occurring. Unlike some floorings, cork flooring is healthy for your pet because it contains no chemicals.

Cork flooring is hypoallergenic – meaning, it doesn’t trap dirt, dust, or hair, leaving your floors as healthy as possible.

It’s an excellent option for households with pets because it’s:

  • Natural
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Budget friendly
  • Easy to install
  • Durable

Let’s look at each of the “pawsitive” characteristics…

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Better For Your Pet’s Health

About 10% of all dogs have allergies and cats can have them too. Dust, pollen, and chemicals are among the many allergens that can be lurking in the air and…on your flooring. Cork flooring is smooth so germs can’t multiply on it, making it safer for you and your pet.

Carpet and synthetic vinyl can also be laden in chemicals which may irritate your pets. Cork flooring is chemical-free and hypoallergenic as well.
Cork flooring is resistant to mold and mildew – a huge plus for pets and pet parents.

Cost Effective

Cork flooring is relatively inexpensive when compared to other options such as solid wood, stone, or granite. It’s easy to install yourself so you can save money by doing it yourself. If the flooring is damaged by your dog or cat, the tiles can be repaired without replacing the floor of the entire room.

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Comfortable Padding for Paws

Cork Flooring has a comfortable cushion underfoot and underpaw so it is softer to walk on which is great for older and heavier dogs and cats. It doesn’t make noise when claws and paws walk across it like hard surfaces do. It actually absorbs noises so your dog’s barking won’t seem so loud.

Low Maintenance

Cork flooring is easy to tend to so you’ll have more time to pamper your pet rather than clean up after him. It’s a breeze to clean as well. A little cork-approved cleaning solution and a damp mop and your floor will be as good as new. Since cork flooring typically comes in tiles, if you need to replace a space…no problem. Furthermore, the surface is smooth so fur and hairballs don’t stick to it like many other types of flooring.

Pet Challenges

Cork flooring isn’t perfect for pets. It is susceptible to moisture problems so if your pets tend to wet on the floor, cork may not be the ideal way to go. It can also fade or discolor if exposed to direct sunlight so take that into account as well if your pet loves basking in the sun.

#3: Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is hard, durable, and solid, and resembles more expensive flooring materials but at a cheaper price. It is a great economical choice for pet owners on a budget.

Laminate flooring is a synthetic product of multi layers consisting of linseed oil, resin, and fiber board materials that is all fused together in a lamination process. It was invented in 1977 but since then, scores of improvements have been made.

The flooring simulates wood through the photographic applique layer which sits under a clear protective layer. Top-notch laminates look and feel very close to wood or whatever natural materials they are mimicking.

Laminate isn’t as high quality as luxury vinyl is. Neither does it cost as much. It is installed in the floating floor method and is available in sheet rolls, tiles, and planks.

Pros:

  • Hard and durable
  • Stain resistant 
  • Easy to clean and maintain

Pros:

  • Moisture can swell the laminate floor base
  • Chips easily
  • Not suitable for bathrooms or laundry rooms

Why Laminate is Good for Households with Pets

There is a myriad of reasons laminate vinyl flooring is a wise choice for pet owners including:

  • Health and Well-Being: Although laminate flooring isn’t as luxurious as vinyl, it is made of natural materials rather than PVC.
  • Paw and claw resistant: Pet parents know that claws and paws can rip up flooring in no time. Laminate is scratch-resistant though, making it ideal for furry friends.
  • Durability: If you want a floor that you don’t have to panic every time your cat scratches at it or your dog digs on it a bit, laminate is for you. It holds up well, maybe not as long as other more expensive floors but it is tough.
  • Price: You can’t beat the price of laminate. Some pup parents even line doghouse floors with it for outside pooches.
  • Water Pervious: Water and pee wipe right up.

Tips for Living with Laminate…and Pets

Here are some tail-wagging tips that will help make life easier when combining pets and laminate flooring:

  • If your dog (or cat) goes outside a lot and comes back muddy, dark laminate flooring may be best suited for your home.
  • If you have an elderly pet, opt for the thickest laminate possible because it will be softer.
  • Lighter laminates can camouflage in general better than dark ones.
  • Clean water spills and pee up immediately.
  • High Resistant Laminate (HLP) is more durable and may be more practical if you have a rowdy pet or if you have more than one pet in your home whereas Direct Pressure Laminate (DLP) boasts a more realistic appearance when mimicking wood or natural materials.
  • Light laminate will show less shedding.
  • Avoid laminate with high gloss finish since it tends to be slick and will interfere with your pet’s traction.
  • Stay from finishes that are ridged so your pet’s fur doesn’t get stuck in the crevasses. But adding a little texture to the mix helps conceal imperfections your pet may impose on the flooring.
  • Use area rugs and dog and cat beds when possible to protect your floor the best you can.
  • Having a pattern of some type in the laminate or obvious grain in the wood look will help paw prints not show as much.
  • Laminate flooring comes in ratings. Be sure to get a 3 or higher to hold up to your pet.
  • Gray and neutral colors are trending and are perfect choices for your new laminate flooring since they will blend in with fur and fur balls and also won’t show dirt from pawprints and dust as much as dark colors.

Laminate Flooring Drawbacks

There are a few characteristics about laminate flooring that makes it not so great of a choice for homes with pets such as:

Chips: Laminate does tend to chip. Pets can be rough on floors and therefore chipping may occur more often or prematurely.

Durability: Even though laminate flooring is durable for the low cost, it won’t hold up to pets as long as luxury vinyl flooring or wood. But, for the price, it’s more practical to replace it more often than other floor types.

Swelling: Although laminate resists water, if it gets too wet or moisture stays on it tool long, it can swell and even curl on the sides.

How About Hardwood?

Hardwood is one of the most desired flooring materials in general, so it’s understandable that it’s one that is often considered by those who have pets.

When it comes to pets, hardwood flooring has both pros and cons. On the one hand, hardwood can be a durable and long-lasting option for pet owners, especially if the wood is harder and more scratch-resistant. Additionally, hardwood is relatively easy to clean, which is important for pet owners dealing with pet hair, dander, and accidents.

However, the downside of hardwood is that it is susceptible to scratches and damage from pets, especially larger or more active pets. Additionally, pet urine can seep into the wood and cause damage or staining if not cleaned up promptly. Hardwood floors can also be slippery for pets, which can lead to injuries if pets slip and fall.

To mitigate these risks, pet owners may want to consider certain types of hardwood floors, such as those with a harder wood species or a more durable finish. They may also want to consider using area rugs or pet-friendly mats to provide traction for pets and protect the floors from scratches and accidents. Regular cleaning and maintenance is also important to keep the floors in good condition.

Overall, hardwood generally isn’t the most recommended for those who have pets at home, however, if following some of the guidelines mentioned above, it can certainly be one that can be considered.

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