It’s a question many consumers ask. The answers you may find on the web will range across the full spectrum of flooring options. When considering what the best flooring options are with pets, you have to consider both scratches and moisture (because of pet accidents and spills). There are several good options to consider if you have indoor pets, including large dogs.
In my opinion, the best overall choices for floors if you have pets are luxury vinyl tiles or planks. The newer products available really do a good job of simulating the natural look of tile and wood. With registered embossing (you can both see and feel the wood grains and characteristics of slate, stone, tile etc) these look great. These have several advantages over other flooring types. One advantage is the durability. It is extremely hard to scratch or scuff luxury vinyl tiles and planks. They compare very well to laminate and real tile when it comes to scratches. These are also inherently water proof so pet urine doesn’t cause any issues with the construction of the products material. Also, they will not absorb the smells left behind from pet odors and accidents. When it comes to floors for pets, luxury vinyl meets all the criteria needed for a perfect floor. Some major manufacturers of luxury vinyl tiles and planks are Karndean, Nafco, Earthwerks, and Konnecto.
Another solid choice is natural tile. Whether it is ceramic, slate, stone or marble, these natural tiles are very hard to scratch. Ceramic and other naturals can be very hard to stain if the sealant is properly applied and in good condition. If the sealing is not up to par, you can get some staining and odors could be absorbed into the tile however. Minor water bowl spills shouldn’t affect natural tile flooring at all. Not only does natural tile hold up well overall, it looks great and adds value to your home. These reasons make it another good option for flooring if you have pets.
A third choice would be traditional, resilient vinyl flooring. It holds up adequately for scratches if you go with a higher end product. The lower end vinyl ranges may show scratches over time however. Most roll good vinyl materials will do well with most stains. The drawback to traditional vinyl is the look itself. Many consumers just don’t like the look. Functionally it should be fine, but it is your kitchen, bathroom, living room etc so you better like the look of the floor.
Laminate floors have been long promoted as a good option if you have large pets, such as dogs. When it comes to a pet’s feet and nails, laminate will do great for scratches. Laminate is pretty tough stuff on the surface. The slight drawback on laminate is any moisture or water left standing on it can creep into the joints and cause major issues. Laminate floors hate water period. Even if you buy the high end products, water is a killer. A few months of Fido peeing on the floor will more than likely cause buckling issues at the joints.
When it comes to hardwood floors, I really encourage consumers to stay away if you have large pets. It really doesn’t matter if the floor is a factory prefinished or custom in home finished (unfinished). Even the superior factory finishes with aluminum oxide can scratch over time. Sure you can have the floors refinished every few years, but that is a major expense and hassle to boot. Unless you’re willing to go through the pain and money to have floors refinished every so often I would stay away from hardwood floors if you have large dogs or other pets.
Carpet is in a similar category as hardwood but for a different reason. As long as you don’t have a loop product like a Berber (nails can hang on the loops and cause damage to the carpet), the carpet itself will hold up to the traffic. Unfortunately, carpet is easily stained and will hold odors, even with professional cleaning. Carpet and pet accidents are a combination that doesn’t have a positive outcome.