There’s no doubt that pets can wonderfully enrich your life and make your family feel more complete, but living with a dog or cat can also take a significant toll on your home environment.
From toenail scuffs and claw scratches to muddy paws, accidental messes, and shedding hair, our beloved four-legged family members can be especially tough on flooring. That’s why, when it comes time to renovate your space, pet-friendly flooring is a must.
Whether you share your house with Fido, Felix, or both, you want your floors to be durable, easy to clean, and resistant to scratches, stains, and moisture. Let’s explore six forgiving and hard-wearing flooring options for homes with pets.
1. Porcelain Tile
An excellent flooring choice for bathrooms, kitchens, mudrooms, and pet-dedicated spaces, porcelain tile is easy to clean and very resistant to scratches. In fact, when it comes to durability, porcelain tile flooring surpasses highly resilient concrete and ceramic tiles.
Because it’s impervious to surface scratches as well as deeper abrasions, porcelain tile is a particularly good choice for homeowners with large, heavy dogs. Glazed porcelain tiles are highly stain-resistant, too; just don’t forget to reseal porous grout lines as recommended.
Like all hard flooring materials, matte porcelain tiles conceal normal wear and tear much better than glossy-finished tiles. If porcelain tile would be too cold underfoot in the winter, consider installing radiant floor heat.
2. Natural Stone Tile
If you like the pet-friendly attributes of porcelain but prefer the look of natural stone over ceramics, you’re in luck — stone tile is virtually as durable and just easy to keep clean as its porcelain counterpart.
With their timeless appeal, stone tiles are a super-resilient flooring material that brings added value to your home. Because polished and honed stone surfaces like marble and granite can be slippery for furry paws, opt for natural clefted products with a rougher texture, such as slate or limestone.
Choosing a speckled or multi-colored stone can help hide pet hair, dirt, and debris between cleanings. Regular sealing as recommended keeps stone tile flooring impervious to water and stains.
3. Cork Tile or Planking
A sought-after alternative to hardwood flooring, cork tiles or planks have a lot to offer in the way of beauty and functionality. As an antimicrobial material, cork is resistant to bacteria and mold growth and easy to keep clean. It’s also more scratch-resistant than most hardwood floors.
Cork is something of a style chameleon in that it can be manufactured to look like hardwood planks or even stone tiles. It’s durable enough to hold up well under everyday wear and tear, but also resilient enough to absorb sound fairly well — you won’t hear your dog’s toenails “click-clack” across a cork floor when they take a midnight stroll to their water bowl.
Cork isn’t totally impervious to scratches, but choosing a lighter shade can help conceal minor marks as time goes by. Cork flooring performs best when it’s re-sealed with a tough sealant like polyurethane every five to seven years.
4. Reclaimed Hardwood
Hardwood floors can really take a beating under the feet of a large dog, an energetic dog, multiple dogs, or all the above. If you love hardwood floors but don’t like the idea of letting yours “go to the dogs,” a hardwood floor made with reclaimed wood may be the solution you’re after.
Reclaimed wood floors are just as susceptible to scratches as brand-new hardwood floors, but because they’re pre-distressed and have already been exposed to wear and weather, their rustic character is only enhanced by additional signs of daily use. When it comes to “handling” dog nail scratches, no other flooring option compares.
Still, as with new hardwood flooring in a pet-friendly home, it’s best to use a matte or low-sheen finish on reclaimed wood to make scratches and wear less visually prominent.
5. Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Far from the old vinyl sheet flooring that your grandparents may have had in their kitchen, luxury vinyl flooring (LVF) is an enhanced form of resilient vinyl that comes in planks and is assembled with a sturdy “click-lock” system.
On top of being stronger and thicker than conventional vinyl flooring, LVF has an improved wear layer that’s far more resistant to scratching. LVF may not add value to your home like expensive hardwood or stone floors, but if you have pets, it’s an economical and highly resilient flooring choice that will wear well and look great for many years.
LVF comes in a wide range of designs and patterns, including styles that can be hard to distinguish from stone, wood, or ceramic. Like cork flooring, LVF has a buffering effect on the “click-clack” sound of dogs’ nails.
6. High-Performance Carpeting
Hard flooring is ideal for many living spaces, but let’s face it — some spaces call for cushy carpet underfoot. While wall-to-wall carpet may not be an ideal flooring choice in a home with pets, high-performance carpeting can help you bridge the divide between comfort and functionality.
As one of the best flooring options for bedrooms in pet-friendly homes, high-performance carpet continues to improve in terms of feel, stain resistance, and wear: today’s top products are just as soft and comfortable underfoot as they are hardwearing and resistant to soiling.
High-performance carpeting also comes in a wider array of styles and textures than ever before, and they often carry warranties that match their promise of durability.