Our furry best friends may bring us joy, but they’re not always our home’s best friend, particularly when it comes to maintaining your flooring. The wear and tear of coming in and out of the house, the shedding, and those inevitable accidents can have a lasting impact on your home unless you choose your flooring wisely.
There are a number of good options for creating pet-friendly, durable floors for your dwelling, but first it’s important to know what to look for as you make your choice.
- Scratch resistance: Dogs and cats have claws and nails, which can inevitably damage flooring. You’ll want to find flooring that resists scratches, particularly if you have larger or more rambunctious pets.
- Water resistance: Yes, accidents happen, and they don’t have to be of the “couldn’t hold it” kind. Animals sometimes knock over water bowls, track water in from outside, or escape their baths. Choosing flooring that is water resistant will help prevent unsightly stains, harmful mold, and those mildew smells.
- Comfort and traction: Dogs can slide on harder, slick surfaces, which can actually cause hip and joint problems or make existing ones worse. Some animals are spooked by slipping on surfaces and may avoid crossing these areas. You will also want to consider whether your pet will be comfortable lying on a floor that is hard or cold.
- Maintenance: Because your pet may track in moisture or mud and can shed, you’ll want to choose a surface that is easily cleaned.
- Cost: Decide on your budget and choose a flooring option that offers you the features you want most within your price range.
The Best Pet Friendly Floors
Once you’ve come up with a budget and considered your aesthetic, you can start to choose a material that offers the best pet protection for your price range. One option you’ll want to be aware of is Janka test ratings, which evaluate the hardness of the surface (and thus its scratch resistance). You’ll often see this rating with woods and a strong rating is 1,000 or higher. You may also see an Abrasion Class (AC) rating, particularly with laminate floors. A solid AC rating is 3 or above. Now let’s get to some flooring:
- Bamboo: For those seeking a wood look, bamboo is a great choice. Good scratch resistant bamboo can be purchased for around $4-$7 per square foot and provides a durable, pet-friendly surface. It is slightly more likely to stain with moisture but if cleaned promptly should stand up well.
- Cork: Cork flooring is another wonderful option that provides comfort for your pet with the added benefit of dampening the sound of larger animals. It provides excellent durability and is hypoallergenic as well as antimicrobial. It does, however, stain more easily if not cleaned immediately. Cork costs between $2 and $7 a square foot.
- Laminate: Laminate flooring is an excellent choice for those who seek the hardwood look. Its scratch resistance and easy clean up make it a pet wise flooring option. It is, however, slightly more slick and doesn’t insulate as well. Quality laminate flooring can be purchased for between $3 and $7 a foot.
- Luxury vinyl: This flooring can mimic wood and stone finishes while providing a durable surface that is more friendly to your pet. It is strong, water resistant, easily cleaned, and easy on your budget. Quality vinyl can be purchased for $3-$7 per square foot.
- Tile: While tile flooring is by far the most scratch resistant, water resistant, and easily cleanable surface, it is also unforgiving. It thus ranks highly for damage resistance but not pet friendliness. It can be hard and cold, which means you may need to purchase rugs where your pet can comfortably lie down. Tile is also the most costly and can run up to $30 a foot.
- Engineered hardwood: Hardwood is never the best choice for pets, but if your heart is set on the look, go with engineered hardwoods, such as white oak, that have a high Janka rating and that have thicker veneer surfaces in case you need to refinish. For quality engineered hardwood, you will pay around $7-$12 a square foot.
For more information on flooring for your new home, the team at Oberer Homes can help you find the perfect flooring to fit your (and your pets!) lifestyle.
This is a guest post, contributed by Ivan Young. Ivan is a writer in partnership with pet mobility specialists, Walkin’ Pets.
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