Muddy paw prints, bathroom accidents, scratchy nails—when you have an animal companion (or two or three!), you need a flooring option that will hold up to all that life with your furry friends brings. What are the best flooring choices for pet owners?
Our top three picks for pet-friendly flooring are porcelain, ceramic, and luxury vinyl tile. As with all flooring materials, they have their advantages and disadvantages, so let’s dig in deeper.
Porcelain and Ceramic Flooring
Two of the most popular flooring options suitable for pets are ceramic and porcelain tiles because they are strong and low maintenance. Perfect for high-traffic areas, tile can withstand the spills, scratches, and wet clean-ups that inevitably occur with pets, whether you have a cat, dog, rabbit, or other common house pet.
+ Super easy clean-up: When you choose porcelain or ceramic, pet accidents stay on the surface without discoloring or damaging the smooth tile. Simply wipe up, disinfect and you’re done.
+ Water-resistant: Liquids stay on the tile’s surface, which is less porous than other flooring options making it easy to wipe clean. It will be like your pet never had an accident—and, crucially, no smell will linger, either.
+ Scratch-resistant: Most porcelain tile is between 7 and 9 (out of 10) on the MOHS hardness scale. Dogs and cats’ claws would be hard-pressed to scratch it at all due to its durability.
+ Visual appeal: Porcelain and ceramic tiles come in a wide variety of colors, sometimes with a realistic resemblance to natural stone. Some tiles also have textured surfaces that can add depth and dimension.
+ Resale value: Ceramic and porcelain are high-quality, long-lasting, sought-after materials, which translates into a higher home resale value than other flooring choices. Most tiles will last up to two decades, another real estate plus.
– Cost: Although ceramic and porcelain are long-lasting flooring choices with great resale value, they do cost more upfront than other options.
-Hard: Porcelain and ceramic are indeed hard and durable, but that also means not soft. You may want to use area rugs to provide a comfy area for your pooch to lie down.
It’s essential to have the tile properly installed in order to maximize its best qualities. Well-installed tile is extremely difficult to damage or stain. Pay attention to the grout, however. Pet owners who go with tiling may benefit from selecting a stain-resistant grout or the addition of sealing on top of the grout, to further protect the flooring.
Luxury Vinyl Tile
Water-resistant, stain-resistant, and easy to clean, luxury vinyl tile (LVT) can hold up to dogs and cats in the house. Installed as a glue-down or tongue and groove click-together product, it has a water-resistant top wear layer. LVT mimics the look of natural stone, tile, or hardwood, with many options to choose from. Installed correctly, LVT can withstand many pet challenges.
+ Cheaper: Vinyl is budget-friendly, costing less than other pet-friendly options like ceramic or porcelain.
+ Water-resistant: Some LVT products are even waterproof!
+ Stain-resistant: Pets mean stains. With luxury vinyl you can rest easy knowing any accidents are unlikely to leave a mark forever on your floor.
+ Easy to clean: Durable and resistant to water and stains, luxury vinyl tile is easy to clean—a must for all animal lovers.
+ Soft: Vinyl flooring’s relative softness underfoot makes it a go-to product for dog and cat owners, as the softness can make the flooring more comfortable for your pet.
– Can dull over time: A downside of vinyl is that it can dull over time. To delay dulling, select vinyl with a thicker wear layer. This protective top surface is measured in mils ranging from 6 to 20. The higher the mil of your wear layer, the more durable and long lasting the vinyl.
– Scratches: Vinyl flooring is less scratch-resistant than ceramic and porcelain.
– Moisture sensitivity: Vinyl is more sensitive to moisture than porcelain.
What Not to Pick
We suggest cat and dog owners avoid natural stone for flooring, as soft stones such as limestone and marble can easily scratch and stain. All natural stone flooring, including slate, granite, and travertine, requires more attention, maintenance, and upkeep compared to tile and porcelain. If you do go for it, you should clean up pet spills and messes as soon as possible to prevent staining, even when your floor is sealed. You’ll also need to seal natural stone every year or two with pets on the loose.
Whatever you do, don’t select carpet! It traps moisture; it keeps smells; and it stains easily.
Pets are part of the family. Be sure to choose the right flooring for your life—and your peace of mind.