As pet owners, we adore our pets. For many of us, they just as much part of the family as as our kids and spouses.
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”– Josh Billings
And yet, there are some challenges with pet ownership, too. Like — keeping your floors clean, beautiful, and in one piece.
Have you ever experienced the frustration of dog urine soaked into hardwood floors or carpet? Not a fun time. Or have you had a dog tear up your flooring? It's upsetting, not to mention expensive, when the pet you love tears up the house.
Must-have qualities for the best flooring for pets
Pets make messes. They have claws. They sometimes shed like crazy. These are all important things to consider when choosing what types of flooring to choose for your home.
Look for flooring options that:
- Are waterproof or at least water-resistant.
- Resist scratches (unfortunately, no floor is totally scratch-proof).
- Are easy to clean (for spills, dirt, and fur).
- Have some level of traction to prevent dogs from slipping on the floor.
- Aren’t too cold for your pet to lie down on.
Sadly, it is difficult to get all of these qualities in one floor. But we can give you the pros and cons of the various types of flooring so you can make the best choice for your family and your dog.
And we’ll give you some tips and tricks to help mitigate the disadvantages of some types of flooring.
Our picks for the best flooring for dogs in order
We created this list based on durability, cleanability, livability, and functionality for families and dogs. The most pet-friendly flooring is at the top of the list.
1. Stone, tile, or sealed concrete flooring
These flooring materials are an excellent choice for dog owners. Scratches and stains don’t stand much of a chance. These surfaces are extremely hard, easy to clean, durable, and long-lasting.
Clean-up is a breeze, even if you don’t get to the spill right away. As far as scratches, concrete, stone, or tile flooring are the most scratch-resistant.
For maintenance, dust mop as needed to get rid of the pet hair. Wet or damp mop once per week or so, depending on your dirt level. Because these floors don’t trap pet fur, they are ideal for people with pet or dust allergies, as well.
The downsides of these flooring materials for dogs include they are cold, hard, and potentially slippery. Also, if there are grout lines, the grout may stain if the accident isn’t cleaned up right away, even if the flooring material, itself, doesn’t.
Also, these types of flooring may not add as much to your home’s resale value as hardwoods. But because they are waterproof/water-resistant and pet-friendly, that is a huge plus for most buyers.
How to make it work for you
How to deal with the cold? Consider radiant heating under the floor in colder climates or provide a soft, cozy dog bed so your furry friend doesn’t have to sleep on the cold, hard floor.
Also, if skidding or falling is a concern, especially for larger or older dogs, opt for a bit of texture to make it slip-resistant.
Area rugs for dogs
Another option to help with the cold, hard flooring, invest in machine-washable area rugs, like Ruggable, to give your dog a softer flooring choice.
2. Luxury plank vinyl flooring
This is another great choice functionality-wise. We love the latest vinyl flooring because most are water-resistant and many brands are now waterproof. They aren’t as cold as stone, tile, or concrete.
There is a bit of cushion in the underlayment. And this material isn’t as likely to cause skidding or falling.
The surface has a wear layer, a coat of urethane, that takes some abuse and makes it scratch resistant, stain-resistant, and easy to clean.
Vinyl flooring is beautiful and comes in varieties that look like wood or stone. It is easy on your budget. And it is very hard to tear or scratch.
We also love that vinyl flooring is low maintenance and easy to clean. Dust mopping and damp or wet mopping are simple. No fancy equipment needed.
The downside is that vinyl flooring doesn’t bring in the resale value in luxury markets that hardwoods do. And if vinyl flooring does get scratched, you really can’t fix it.
How to make it work for you
Although the resale value may not be as high as hardwood flooring, vinyl is attractive to many buyers who have allergies or pets or who may like the low maintenance and easy cleaning.
And because you didn’t have to spend as much on the vinyl flooring, maybe you are willing to take a bit of a hit at resale. Especially because this is some of the best flooring for kids and dogs for livability.
3. Wood flooring
Hardwoods are, by far, the most sought-after flooring material and the most valued by buyers. Sadly, wood can't always stand up to the wear and tear that some dogs dish out.
But wood floors have advantages and can be a good choice for pets because they are beautiful, easy-to-clean, low maintenance, and not very cold.
If you find you have small scratches or surface stains, you may be able to sand and refinish the wood floors and make them look new without having to completely replace them.
Cleaning is easy with dust mopping and mopping with spray-on hardwood cleaner. You may need to apply polish now and then or redo a clear coat. And, if the wood gets worn or scratched, you may have to sand and refinish it.
One unfortunate property of wood floors is that they are not waterproof. If liquid stands on the flooring for very long, it can seep through and stain. If the stain goes deep enough, you may not be able to sand it out. So you must try to clean up liquid spills immediately.
Hardwood floors can be expensive especially if you get the best quality. They can also be pretty slippery, which can be a problem for bigger dogs or older dogs. You sure don’t want your pet to break a hip or run into a wall.
Another problem is that wood can scratch or gouge. Small scratches may be able to be refinished. But larger ones may not come out.
How to make it work
If you simply must have hardwood floors, consider engineered wood flooring. It is more water-resistant than solid hardwoods. You can refinish it if needed a few times, if you use up the wear layer. And engineered wood gets good resale value.
Also, consider choosing a textured or distressed type of wood flooring that can hide scratches.
The best hardwood floors for dogs
For solid hardwood, go with the hardest wood flooring like Brazilian walnut, ipe, or hard maple. Choose something with a Janka rating of over 1000. But remember that a heavy or active dog can gouge even these wood floors.
Bamboo is a type of grass flooring, technically, that may experience significantly less water damage from spills than wood floors but has the appearance of wood.
If you choose one with a high-hardness rating on a Janka test, it may be fairly scratch-resistant, too.
Bamboo has more warmth than tile, stone, or concrete. It is affordable and sustainable/environmentally friendly.
Cork is a beautiful, affordable, antimicrobial option. It helps to absorb sounds, much like carpet does. And it’s a natural product, which is great.
It is scratch resistant to a degree naturally, but you’ll need a scratch-resistant finish to help minimize scratching and a lighter color may help to hide scratches.
Cork is pretty easy to clean daily with dry or damp mopping — but it is rather high maintenance. Avoid ammonia-based and harsh chemical cleaners. It requires a pH-balanced cleaning agent diluted in water. Never use large amounts of water to clean the floor.
Cork needs to be sealed to protect it from moisture. Otherwise, it is very absorbent. You don’t want it to absorb liquids and stains. So every 5-7 years polyurethane needs to be reapplied. It can be sanded down and refinished to a degree.
Waxing cork floors can protect it from stains, spills, and scratches. The wax must be reapplied every 6-12 months. Then polyurethane must be applied again right away.
There are a lot of details to caring for cork flooring, so it is not one of our favorite options. But some homeowners love it
The maintenance is a bit overwhelming for some people. And refinishing and sealing can be expensive and time-consuming. Cork can also be affected by humidity.
The resale value is questionable. If the flooring is kept up well, it may help add to the resale value of your home, depending on the buyer’s tastes and your particular market.
How to make it work
There is no way around all of the maintenance, hassle, and expense. If the pros outweigh the cons for you, then you may be a good candidate for a cork floor.
Flooring to Avoid with Dogs
Carpet is soft and has plenty of traction, so dogs love carpet. It’s also pretty economical. A lot of people love walking on carpet with bare feet. It can look beautiful if kept very clean.
Vacuum the carpets as needed for dirt and fur removal. You can shampoo the carpets with a carpet cleaning machine that you rent or buy. But it is almost impossible to get all of the liquid from spills out of the entire carpet and padding down to the subfloor.
There are products to help remove pet stains and mud. But, it can be difficult to clean all stains completely, especially on light-colored carpet.
Carpet traps dust, dander, pet fur, mud, and liquids. It is very difficult to keep clean or to fix a stain after a spill. This is why we don't generally recommend wall-to-wall carpet for pet owners.
Check out this true story:
“Once, we bought an old home to fix up that had been empty for several years. The house had dogs that had a lot of accidents on the carpet. When we pulled up the carpet, the urine was still wet in the pad and on the subfloor.”
For those dealing with allergies, who don't want a lot of pet odor, or who want to be able to keep the home clean, wall-to-wall carpet with pets just isn't a great combination.
How to make it work for you
We only recommend using carpet in rooms where the pet will not enter. That, of course, may be a difficult situation for your pet, and for family members. A better option would be area rugs that are machine washable, like Ruggable, over a more durable, pet-friendly flooring surface.
Laminate is inexpensive. It can look like wood or stone. It’s easy to clean up fur and dry spills and it is not super cold.
Laminate is very low maintenance. You just dust mop and occasionally damp mop with a laminate cleaning spray.
We do not generally recommend laminate flooring for pet owners for luxury homes. Laminate can adversely impact your home's resale value in the luxury home market. It also tends to warp if it gets wet and it can scratch pretty easily, which makes it less-than-ideal for pets.
How to make it work for you
If you are not in a luxury home market, laminate flooring may get some level of resale value. But if it gets wet and you can’t clean it up in time, it will probably have to be replaced. If you understand that and are willing to take that risk, perhaps it is the flooring for you.
Or if you don’t mind replacing it within a short time, it may be an option until you can purchase a more durable floor.
The best laminate flooring for dogs would be a pet-friendly option with slip-resistant texture.
Ready to build a home you and your pet will love in Lexington, SC?
At Blythe Building Company, we build custom homes to make people’s dreams come true. We specialize in the luxury market and focus on the best quality materials and craftsmanship.
To see our work, check out our gallery.
Please contact us today about building your dream home.
We build in areas like Lake Carolina, Chapin, Ballentine, Irmo, Lake Murray, Lexington, Pine Ridge, and downtown Columbia.
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