As everyone knows, dogs are the best. Sorry cat people! We love cats too, but there’s only one “Man’s Best Friend”.
Dogs are literally four-legged members of our families, which makes it frustrating when your best pal wreaks havoc on your flooring or uses it for their own personal outhouse. Because dogs are so important to their families, rather than remain frustrated and allow your good doggo to tear up the flooring, selecting the best flooring for your dog (and for you!) can save hours of time and headache.
You wouldn’t select a dog that wasn’t a great fit for your family, and you should adopt the same rules for your floors. But what types of flooring work best for our four-legged, furry family members?
Let’s review the types and top choices for pups and their families!
Vinyl – This ain’t your mom’s sheet roll floor, or the old stick-on tiles you had in your college rental. Today’s vinyl flooring is often found in planks, mimicking the look of “real wood” flooring.
Three popular options for vinyl flooring materials:
- Luxury Vinyl Plank or Tile (LVP/LVT) – installed as a glue-down product, and has a water resistant top wear layer
- Wood Plastic Composite (WPC) – the rigid core is made of a wood and plastic composite, and can come with underlayment padding attached
- Stone Plastic Composite (SPC) – Stone and plastic composite rigid core, and may include attached underlayment padding
WPC and SPC Vinyl options are waterproof and are installed as a “floating floor” – not permanently affixed to the subfloor – so moisture doesn’t penetrate – when your best friend has an accident it won’t ruin the floor!! They’re durable, scuff- and scratch-resistant, and low and moderately priced options are available. Many with “click-lock” installation, if you feel like doing it yourself.
Tile – One of the most durable, timeless and popular options is tile. Offered in a variety of styles, materials, and finishes, tile offers near endless options. Two of the most popular, and best for pets are ceramic and porcelain varieties. Once installed – properly (trust us on this one!) – it’s extremely difficult to damage or stain the tile itself. However, as a pet owner you may consider a stain resistant grout or additional sealing for your grout. It’s worth your investment to save future cleaning and staining from your furry frens.
Laminate – If you want wood floors, but you’re looking to spend less, laminate may be a great option for your pet’s family. Laminate is similar to the vinyl WPC or SPC flooring, as they’re installed “floating”, however laminates are not typically waterproof. Laminate provides the look of real hardwood floors typically achieved with a digital “picture” of wood grain attached to a backer typically made of HDF composite materials. It is top-layer moisture resistant, especially if cleaned immediately following a spill. Moisture or puddles left to sit on most laminates, however, will be absorbed and cause the flooring to swell. So watch when housebreaking your new pup!
Engineered Wood – Another great wood flooring option, Engineered wood, gives you the best of both the laminate and solid wood worlds. Engineered wood floors actually include a thin layer of wood, known as the “wear layer,”on top of a layered wood or poly-composite core. Some engineered floors can actually be sanded and refinished. Engineered wood floors offer a diverse array of options for finishes, qualities, color, patterns and more. Surface moisture or small spills that are cleaned up quickly are ok on Engineered floors, however, excessive moisture can permanently damage the floor. Many engineered wood floors can be scratched just like solid wood floors, but the right protective finish selection will withstand those nails no problem!
Solid Wood – This is the top of wood pile, literally and figuratively! Hardwood floors are typically nailed down and finished on site. While the species of wood determines the grain/pattern, you can choose stain color, which combined with a polyurethane finish forms a durable protective layer that can handle Rex nails. For those who are eco-concious, a water-based polyurethane can be used as opposed to the traditional oil based products. Excessive moisture will warp and ruin the flooring but they are resistant to surface moisture, spills, accidents, etc. As the wood is thicker, the wear layer can be refinished multiple times if necessary, allowing the flooring to last lifetimes. Avoid softer wood species (bamboo, pine, etc) as they aren’t the greatest with your furry family member’s traffic. Wood floors won’t tread lightly on your wallet, however, as they can run mid- to high-end of the price range.
Carpet – Another classic choice! Many carpet products specifically for pets are now available, offering resistance to stains and soil. Buyer beware, however, as moisture and stains can penetrate through the backing of the carpet and often into the subfloor. Cat owners who’ve tried to clean carpet know this struggle well, but it’s not unique to the feline. Make sure you choose a pet specific carpeting that features a moisture backing. Combine this with a moisture proof pad for a more durable and comfortable option for human and pet alike. Pay close attention to weave options as well, as Berber or continuous weave products like it can be unraveled by a playful pup.
Carpet is a warm, traditional flooring option that can last many years with pets, however it does have a wear life and will need to be replaced eventually.
Concrete – Gaining popularity in recent years is finished concrete flooring. Once limited to the industrial and commercial space, concrete is incredibly durable and resistant to stains, spills and messes when finished properly.
Colored stain can be applied to brighten the look of the floor. While typically limited to foundation floors or first floor of timber-frame residences in many parts of the country, high-rise apartment or condominiums are often constructed with a concrete base for the floors. Acid etching, grinding or patching may be required to prepare the concrete for stain and finishing. And a water prevention layer should be applied like on a wood floor to prevent moisture absorption.
Concrete is probably the “coldest” and “hardest” of the flooring options but done properly can be a beautiful addition to your home.
Price – while we’ve tiptoed around it a few times discussing the options individually, let’s talk dollars and cents.
On the scale from lowest cost to highest, here’s the rundown of the categories based on their entry-level options:
- LVP/LVT Vinyl Flooring
- WPC/SPC Waterproof Vinyl
- Engineered Wood
- Solid Wood
Review your options before making any flooring decision to determine which option offers the right combination of style design, durability, warmth, and price for your pets.