Removing stains, managing pet hair, as well as minimizing dirt, odors and eyesores are a daily part of a pet owner’s life. When purchasing or remodeling a home, flooring can become a major decision. Folks often ask themselves, “Should I go with hardwood, tile, laminate — what should I choose?” The answer depends, in part, on the type of pet in your home.
Hardwood floors are extremely popular, are easy to clean and add beautiful style to every home. However, they may not be the best choice for Beethoven. Dog claws can scratch and dent wood floors over time, so this flooring works best in homes with cats. Also, hardwood floors are susceptible to absorbing moisture, so bathroom accidents and spills may require refinishing or even replacement. If you are dying to have hardwood floors with dogs, then skip the high-gloss finish and select a strong urethane coating to protect against nicks and spills.
Protection Tip: Place mats at entrances to the home to avoid increased signs of wear and tear.
Hardwood Alternative: Laminate Floors
Laminate floors can provide an attractive and cost-effective alternative to hardwood floors. This type of flooring works well in high-traffic areas and is available in numerous colors. Laminate is also strong, durable and easy to clean. While laminate floors are moisture resistant, they are not moisture proof. Spills not quickly cleaned up can cause warping that may require floor replacement. Unlike hardwood floors, laminate floors are made from synthetic material and cannot be refinished when dents and scratches appears. Cat nails are retracted when they walk, so laminate floors are less likely to become damaged as they travel around the home.
Comfort Tip: Include area rugs or an extra pet bed so your pet has a comfortable spot to lounge.
Durable and Dependable: Tile Floors
Ceramic, porcelain and stone tiles are a much stronger alternative to laminate and hardwood floors, making them ideal for homes with any animal. Accidents and spills are not likely to damage the floors, nor are dog claws prone to leave a trace. Tile floors are also easily cleaned and maintained. Similar to laminate floors, tile floors can make it difficult for animals to travel throughout the home, so be sure to add a rug or two for comfort.
Preventative Tip: To avoid any stains or grout discoloration, be sure to apply a grout sealer to avoid any eye sores.
Animal and Environmentally Friendly Flooring: Bamboo and Cork
Bamboo flooring is a great option for folks wanting an environmentally friendly option. It is much stronger than hardwood, so it will not show signs of wear and tear as easily. Bamboo is also stain and water-resistance, which is nice so you do not have permanent paw prints throughout your home. Bamboo floors look great and are a low cost option when compared to the repair and replacement prices of hardwood floors. This floor also works well in homes with dogs and cats.
Cork floors are not only environmentally friendly, but cork is also a natural antimicrobial. Who knew floors can actually fight against allergens? Cork is water-resistant, but spills should be cleaned quickly to avoid staining or discoloration. Cork floors are also scratch-resistant so not only will they avoid looking worn, cork floors can add updated flare.
Protection Tip: Be sure to select window treatments or ultraviolet window filters to protect your bamboo and cork floors, as well as your furniture.
If you prefer carpet in your home, you may have an issue with spills, stains, dander and animal odors. Carpet provides comfortable flooring for animals, but it can be very expensive to replace when your cat kneads or your dog has an accident before you arrive home.
Installation Suggestion: Select a carpet that is available in floor tiles, so that you can replace individual squares as needed.
Regularly maintaining your floors will extend the life of the floor and will allow your house to appear in top condition. This maintenance guide below may help you select the right floor that works best for you and your pet’s lifestyle. Good luck!
Flooring Maintenance Guide
Hardwood: Sweep 1-2x /weekly. Clean with wood-friendly cleaner.
Laminate: Sweep 2-3x/weekly. Clean with laminate floor cleaning products.
Ceramic, Porcelain & Stone tiles: Sweep 1x/weekly. Mop with tile friendly cleaners.
Bamboo: Sweep 1-2x /weekly. Clean with bamboo-friendly cleaner.
Cork: Sweep 1-2x/weekly. Clean with cork-friendly cleaner.
Carpet and Carpet Tiles: Vacuum 2-3x/weekly. Follow manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning spots and stains.
Angelo DiGangi is a sales associate at a Home Depot in suburban Chicago. He is regular contributor on DIY flooring projects for the Home Depot website. His interests include providing tips to homeowners on hardwood flooring, doors and windows, paint and tile.