Having pets comes with many joys. It also comes with certain responsibilities. Taking care of your pets includes taking
care of the floors they walk and sleep on. At the same
time, you want floors that look good despite exposure to animal claws, pet dander, and general wear and tear. In other words,
if you have an animal for an indoor friend, you need
floors that are pet friendly and owner friendly.
Pets, Floors & Allergies
One of the most common household allergens is pet dander. Pet dander
can consist of skin flakes, feathers, feces, saliva and urine – all of which can collect on floor
surfaces and circulate through the air. While pet dander can be wiped up from many hard surfaces, more porous and softer
floor types (stone, carpet, even concrete) can hold onto
pet dander for a long time – even when cleaned regularly.
If you have carpet, use a vacuum that has a High Efficiency Particular Air (HEPA) filter. HEPA filters are designed to
absorb 99.97% of all airborne pollutants while you're
vacuuming. You can also minimize the amount of pet dander put back into the air by choosing a vacuum with a tightly packed
Routine cleaning can help keep allergies at bay as well as help maintain your floor's look and performance. Even the most
durable floor types will suffer damage if not properly
cared for. Whatever pet–friendly floor you end up choosing for your home, plan to clean it as often as possible.
Safe Cleaning Products
Most pets spend the majority of their life on the floor and eat pretty much anything they find. Protect the quality of
your pet's life by caring for your floors with
non–toxic chemicals and products.
Studies have shown that household bleach, laundry detergent and all–purpose cleaners are more harmful to animals
than wax or paint. In fact, the simple inhalation of
toxic cleaners can be deadly or lead to illness and long–term health issues in most animal species.
cleaners made from natural ingredients are generally non–toxic and can keep your floors just as clean as the more
commonly used products.
Non–toxic cleaners can be found in stores where other household cleaners are sold. Always read the label of your
cleaners before purchase to ensure that you're getting
something that will not only maintain your floors, but the health of your pets as well.
How to Reduce Pet Damage
All floor types need to be installed properly and cared for on a regular basis to ensure longevity. In addition to
cleaning your floors every so often, you should also keep
pets' nails trimmed and wipe up any accidents immediately.
Concrete, for example, while very durable, can be damaged and stained by pet accidents and nails when improperly sealed.
However, even when finished and sealed, exposure to
acidic substances, such as urine, can dull and damage a concrete floor's finish.
It's always recommended that you properly seal and finish floor surfaces as recommended by the manufacturer. This can help
reduce pet damage and increase the life of your
floors. The stronger your floors are, the better they'll be able to hold up against spills and claws, which means less
maintenance for you.
Ask the Right Questions to Get the Right Floor
Do your research prior to purchase. Weigh the pros and cons of each floor type as they apply to your situation. When
consulting a flooring professional, ask questions such
- How well does the floor stand up to scratching?
- Is the floor water resistant?
- Can the floor hold up well to pet traffic from a medium to large–sized dog?
- Will acidic substances damage the floor?
Choosing a floor that can handle the wear and tear of your pet can help lessen the cleaning battle. Taking your time when
shopping and knowing what questions to ask will help
ensure you end up with the best flooring for you and your pet.
Pet Friendly Floors
Most floor types offer a more durable alternative that can handle higher levels of traffic. If you have heavy pets that
run through the house on a daily basis, investigate the
higher–quality, more durable flooring options.
Laminate flooring ranges in strength and durability. While weaker types, such as direct pressure laminate (DPL) can be
dented, tougher laminate floors such as
high–pressure laminate (HPL) are designed to handle heavier wear.
Laminate floors with an Abrasion Class (AC) Rating* of AC4 or AC5 are manufactured specifically for commercial use, such
as in department stores, government buildings, and
hospitals. Minimize pet damage and the time and money spent replacing flooring by choosing a higher–strength laminate.
Learn more specific tips on laminate cleaning in our Laminate Care section.
Tile and most stone can withstand most pet traffic and scratching without being damaged. Unfortunately, these floor
surfaces may be uncomfortable for your pet to walk on, and
can be extremely slippery when wet. When cleaning, make sure that you sop up excess water to prevent your pets from slipping
Some hardwood and bamboo floors (such as engineered hardwood and strand woven bamboo) are very durable and can withstand
heavy pet wear and tear. Nonetheless, floors that are
made from wood products can still expand and contract when exposed to moisture and standing water. Reduce the chance of this
happening to your wood floors by wiping up spills as
soon as they occur.
To make sure that your floors are properly cared for, ask your manufacturer for a cleaning and repair kit specific to your
*Abrasion Class (AC) Rating is a rating used to determine the strength of a particular laminate floor
type. There are 5 AC ratings (AC1, AC2, AC3, AC4 and
AC5). AC1 and AC2 are made for light to moderate residential foot traffic, while AC3, AC4 and AC5 are designed for heavy
residential to commercial traffic.