Flooring Advice for Pet Owners
For many of us, pets are a part of the family. While some pets love the great outdoors, they often prefer to be inside the home with us. Having a dog, cat, bird, rabbit, guinea pig, or any other animal living side-by-side with you can be very rewarding but is often accompanied by a sense of anxiety about the wear and tear they might cause to your home. If your fur-baby is a house-dweller, it’s essential to choose your flooring carefully and take steps to protect your floors.
When selecting your new flooring and considering any potential damage from pets, it’s important to consider what kind of pet you have, what sort of damage they may cause, and what rooms they will frequent. In this article, we explore the key considerations for selecting pet friendly flooring and ways to protect and prolong the life of your flooring.
Selecting a pet-friendly flooring option
Selecting a solid flooring option such as timber, engineered timber, hybrid, vinyl, or laminate is the best choice for a home with pets. There are three main factors that pet owners need to consider when building or renovating:
- Choose a flooring that is waterproof or water-resistant. Some flooring options are inherently water-resistant and others come with a water-resistant coating. The most water-resistant flooring will be those designed for wet rooms in the home. Check the description if you are looking through our flooring range online or ask a team member in-store.
- Opt for a hard floor that is scratch-resistant. Many of our flooring options have a strong surface, check the product description of each flooring type to find out more. Flooring that is described as for commercial spaces, as well as residential, is usually the most resistant to scratches and damage. If you visit one of our showrooms, one of our team members will be able to recommend a floor that’s not going to scratch easily.
- Select a flooring type that is easy to clean. Pets can shed hair, spill food, bring in mud, and mark their territory (pee on the floor). To ensure the safety of your pets and family, a clean floor is essential. If you don’t want to spend lots of time and money cleaning your floors (and who does?) choose non-porous flooring. The flooring options at Back to Timber are much easier to clean than carpet, but ask our knowledgeable team which flooring options will suit your lifestyle best.
If you have decided on timber floors for your home, selecting the right species and type of board can be a great first line of defence against potential damage to your floors. Below are a few things to consider when choosing your new timber floors.
- If you expect heavy usage, from people or pets, we recommend choosing solid timber rather than a timber veneer board. This allows the floor to be refinished years down the track should it be scratched or dented.
- Timber type plays a significant role in limiting scratches; for heavy traffic homes, we recommend selecting a hardwood species of timber over softer timbers such as pine which may be more prone to scratching and denting. For more information on understanding timber hardness, check out our post on Timber Flooring Hardness here.
- Your timber flooring finish is critical; we recommend a low gloss floor finish as scratches are less noticeable than if you were to select a high gloss finish.
Talk to the experts at Back to Timber about what flooring is best for you and your pets. One of our team members can recommend a hard-wearing, water-resistant, pet-friendly flooring option that’s suitable for your home.
Allergies & floors & pets, oh my!
If you or anyone in your home is suspectable to allergies or hay fever, living with pets can be a challenge. In this case, selecting a solid flooring option is the best choice. Carpet tends to trap and accumulate pet hair, dust, and pollens and it can be hard to clean thoroughly. With solid flooring, cleaning is quick and easy and can reduce allergy symptoms as there are fewer areas for the allergens to become trapped or accumulate. In addition, you can see when your solid floor needs a sweep (or vacuum), with carpet, knowing when it has become dirty and perhaps even unhealthy can be trickier. For a detailed look at sanitising and cleaning your floors, check out our blog post on Cleaning Timber Floors here.
Liquid on floors (life’s little accidents)
Liquids, whether it be from a water bowl, urine, or muddy paws, can have a detrimental effect on most floors if not cleaned promptly, with the exception of some vinyls and prefinished boards that may feature a near waterproof surface. Unlike carpet, which may require the use of professional liquid extraction vacuums to clean spills and pet ‘accidents’, hard surface floors can be easily cleaned with paper towel. Unlike soft flooring, you will be able to see if the floor is dry or not. If you have gaps, knots, or bevelled edges in your floor, make sure to dry in all the cracks as best you can. The key with any liquid spills is cleaning them as quickly as possible.
If there is pet urine on the floor, follow up with a cleaning solution suitable for your flooring, due to the alkalinity of pet urine, which may lead to discolouration of the flooring if left for a prolonged period. You may also want to disinfect the area if anything other than water spilled on the floor. Use a minimal amount so as not to add to the dampness on the floor.
Protecting your floors from scratches & claws
The possibility of floors getting scratched is a common worry when considering new floors. When it comes to pets scratching floors, there are a few simple ways to reduce the chances of deep noticeable scratches.
- For hardwood floors, it’s vital to select a hard-wearing finish that will be more resistant to scratches. After years in the flooring business, we have tested a wide variety of floor finishes and can recommend a finish that suits your individual needs and aesthetic preference.
- Keeping your pet’s nails trimmed is another great way to reduce the chance of your flooring getting scratched. After cutting or grinding, ensure there are no sharp edges on the claw. A quick buff with a nail file can help with this. Don’t forget to pick up the nail clippings (if trimming inside,) as these can get rubbed against the floor as people walk and cause scratches.
- We love hardwood floors because unlike other prefinished floorboards, hardwood floors can be re-sanded and coated if deep scratching has occurred. Clients are often surprised at the incredible results we can achieve by sanding and refinishing hardwood floors, giving a new lease of life to existing floors.
If you love living with your fur-baby but don’t like the mess, hard flooring is the best solution. Use the tips in this article to help reduce the wear on your flooring from your pets. If you have any further questions or would like to discuss your new or existing flooring, contact us or visit one of our showrooms.