Pets are an important part of the family and a big factor in choosing new floors. As adorable as they may be, those cute nails on dogs and cats (as well as those unfortunate pet accidents!) can scratch and damage kitchen, living room, mud room, and even bathroom floors.
From the moment pets enter our homes (with muddy paws) until the last bedtime run around the house, dogs and cats play a large part in the wear and tear of floors. For that reason, pet-friendly floors have to be incredibly durable and scratch-resistant. In a busy household, these floors also need to be easy-to-clean and require very little maintenance.
There are a few types of pet-friendly floors made with the features needed for a home with pets. These floors are listed, along with the features that make them ideal and the worries that homeowners need to be careful about when dealing with these floors and pets. Floor ownership doesn’t end on the day of installation (much like pet ownership!), so there are also pet stain cleaning tips listed that keep pet-friendly floors looking new.
With a multi-layer construction and a top layer of wood, these floors are very tough and built for high-traffic areas. Some laminate floors are waterproof so the risk of damage from pet accidents is minimal. Laminate floors are available in almost any color that fits with décor and closely resembles tile and wood. Many laminate floors look like wood so closely that guests can’t tell. For do-it-yourselfers, laminate floors are easy to install as a floating floor (this step-by-step guide makes the laminate floor installations go smoothly). These floors are low-maintenance and only require a regular sweep and dry mop.
Features: Durable, easy-to-install, easy-to-clean, attractive
Worries: Can be scratched, Risk of water damage from sitting puddles (ask about waterproof styles for homes with pets)
Luxury Vinyl Planks
Luxury vinyl plank floors (LVPs) are a new product that pet owners and pets can appreciate. These floors are durable and stylish. This new flooring option comes in a variety of colors and styles. LVP floors are made to resemble tile and wood, making them an attractive option for homes with dogs and cats. These floors are also water-resistant, which is helpful for those occasional pet accidents. LVP floors are synonymous with easy maintenance, requiring only a regular sweep and dry mop.
Features: Durable, easy-to-install, easy-to-clean, attractive
Worries: Can be scratched, may have issues in rooms with extreme temps and sunlight
Hardwood floors are a timeless classic, known for durability and beauty. Wood floors are available in a variety of colors and wood grains, any of which can fit with the existing décor. In addition to a stunning statement, hardwood floors can be repeatedly refinished. For basements where moisture is an issue, engineered hardwood floors can be installed (as a do-it-yourself project with these engineered hardwood installation steps, if needed). Just as the flooring name suggests, the hardness of the floors protect against scratches (ask for wood floors made from harder woods for best results). Unfortunately, hardwoods are prone to water damage and stains from standing puddles.
Features: Durable, can be refinished, attractive, resistant to scratches, easy-to-clean
Worries: Prone to water damage and stains from wet paws and pet accidents
Carpet is a soft flooring that feels great under feet and paws. This soft flooring comes in a variety of colors and styles. Many carpets come with features ideal for homes with pets. Shaw LifeGuard® Spill-proof Backing™ keeps pet accidents from soaking through into the pad and subfloor. Certain Mohawk carpets are stain-resistant and built tough enough for high foot and paw traffic. The main concern for pet owners with carpet is damage from pet nails and chewing. Carpets with high-piles can be prone to carpet loop damage when they get caught in pet nails. To minimize carpet damage, keep dog and cat nails trimmed and clipped. Carpets don’t require much effort to keep them clean; vacuum carpets regularly and schedule an annual carpet cleaning that remove grits and odors from pet stains.
Features: Durable, stain-resistant, attractive, soft
Worries: Prone to stains from muddy paws and pet accidents, can be damaged by pet claws
Tile is incredibly hard, which protects it against scratches from pet nails. These floors are extremely durable, attractive, and moisture-resistant. Because it can withstand water (and puddles), tiles are perfect for bathrooms, laundry rooms, sun rooms, and any room pets frequent. The main concern with tile floors is they feel hard and cold underfoot. The latter concern can be address by installing radiant heating under the tile. Tiles can be easily cleaned with a regular sweep and dry mop.
Features: Durable, stain- and moisture-resistant, attractive
Worries: Hard and cold underfoot
Pet Stain Cleaning Tips
Sop up as much of the liquid as possible. Remove any solids with a utensil that you can clean or dispose of (i.e. dust pan, plastic spoon, etc.) and sop up as much of the liquid as possible (paper towels and gloves are ideal). Don’t be afraid to apply pressure; the goal is to get out as much of the liquid as possible. If there is a lot, use a wet and dry vac to remove the urine or vomit. A professional carpet cleaner can also clean up the liquid and remove the pet stain.
Test the carpet cleaner before using it. Perform the test on a small area of carpet that is not usually visible (such as a closet or a corner) before applying it to the pet stain. An untested cleaner can fade or permanently discolor carpet—even natural or household cleaners can do damage. With new carpet, using an unapproved cleaner can void the warranty (to get a list of manufacturer-approved cleaners, visit the local carpet experts).
Don’t use a steam cleaner. A steam cleaner can actually lock in the stain and smell. Remove the liquid, apply the cleaner (after testing!), and blot at the carpet fibers. Don’t scrub too hard; too much elbow grease can damage carpet fibers.
Neutralize the odor. A household mixture of vinegar and water may do the trick; for a more intense odor-lifting product, ask the local carpet pros for a professional carpet odor neutralizer crafted specifically for the job.