Fido the dog (and Mittens the cat) here with some important news to share — we care about the floor you pick.
No, seriously — we do.
Do you think we enjoy sliding around on hard-to-grip floors in the middle of an intense game of chase? Do you think we like the feeling of uncomfortable, bristly carpet in between our toes? We don’t.
Let’s face it. We’re on the floor more than you are. We’re using it all day while you’re off at your jobs or out on the town. We care about what’s under our paws. If you pick the right flooring for us, maybe we’ll finally stay off the couch for once.
Why Pet Friendly-Flooring is Worth It
We know you spent a long time decorating our house to make the human members of our family happy and comfortable in every room. But we’re part of the family too — we want a say in the most important part of the house! Sturdy and comfortable flooring is an easy way to make us happy (extra treats do the trick, too).
It’s not always easy for us to tell you what we want. You might not even notice something’s wrong with our legs or hips until we start limping. But if you install flooring that’s easy to walk on, you don’t need to worry as much about us hurting ourselves when we play or as we age. And as an added bonus, the more durable the floor is, the less we’ll scratch it up (It’s not our fault that getting our nails clipped is the worst!)
We’re a little embarrassed to admit it, but sometimes accidents happen. We either get sick or simply can’t hold it anymore. We’re really, really sorry about that. But, if you pick the right floor, you can easily clean up the mess and won’t see (or smell) a trace of it — all of us will be happier that way!
Fido and Mittens’ List of Flooring Questions and Considerations
We may not be in charge, but we know picking out the floor for our home is a big deal. You need to think about a lot of things before you pick out the right floor for all of us. Here are some things we think you should consider on behalf of your furry family members:
- How many pets will walk on the floor? Right now, it may just be the two of us. But are there any other dogs, cats, or small critters that might be joining us in the future? The number of pets might dictate how durable the flooring should be.
- How big are the pets in our home? My friend Mittens is a small cat, but I’m a pretty big (and handsome) dog. If you bring in any other dogs into our home (who I need to approve, of course…), they may be even bigger than me. The bigger the pet, the more damage they may potentially cause to the floor.
- How old are the pets in our home? Mittens and I might be pretty young and spry right now, but walking around on the floor will be harder the older we get. We need something that will be easy for us to age into.
- Will the floor be comfortable for us to walk on? You may get to walk around with slippers on, but we don’t have that luxury. We’d love something that isn’t too rough on our paws!
- What’s your budget? We deserve the best — you know that, and we know that. But we understand that some of the best options might cost too much. Carefully consider what’s the right price for our family to spend on flooring and look for the best options within that price range.
- Is the floor you’re considering stain-resistant? Accidents happen sometimes. We don’t like it any more than you do. If we can’t make it outside or to the litter box, sometimes those accidents will happen on the floor. You’ll want to pick a flooring option that is stain resistant so that picking up messes is easy.
- Does the flooring you’re looking into contain any dangerous chemicals? Did you know that some kinds of floors contain chemicals that are dangerous for pets like Mittens and me to breathe in? We’re really close to the ground, which means that we’d breathe in large amounts of those chemicals.
- How durable is the floor? Between Mittens and me, the floor will see a lot of action. While we can’t explain it, sometimes we get the zoomies, and food, litter, toys, and more may go flying as we run around. We love wrestling with each other, too. You and I both know Mittens loves sneaking up on me as well. Make sure you install a floor that can keep up with all of our crazy antics!
- Does the floor offer traction for us? Having our paws slip around on the floor is no fun. Can you help us out and pick a floor that will give us enough traction to walk around easily? We want to make sure we can run to the door to greet you every day without slipping.
- Is the floor scratch resistant? — We’d never do it deliberately, but we admit that sometimes we’ve scratched up the floor. It’s hard when you can’t clip your own nails! But if you pick out a type of flooring that is scratch-resistant, this will no longer be a problem for any of us. Oh, um, and Mittens does sometimes think about using the carpet as a scratching post. Best to mention that to your flooring experts too so that if you’re getting carpet they can recommend one that is resistant to kitty scratching.
The Best Flooring For Your Pets
We’ve looked long and hard at all the flooring options and have narrowed them down to four choices — hardwood, luxury vinyl, laminate, and carpet. We’ll break down why we like these flooring options, tips for installing them yourself, and how to maintain them over the years.
Hardwood flooring is a great option for us and any other animals you might bring into our home. We love that this flooring option doesn’t trap dust, mold, or anything else that might make us feel allergic. If we have an accident on the floor, we feel confident that you’ll be able to easily clean it up.
Plus, a hardwood floor would look really nice in our home — we know that’s important to you. This option is sturdy, meaning it’ll withstand the weight me and Mittens running around on it for years to come. That’s a win-win for everyone!
What Types of Hardwood Should You Consider?
Make sure to look for flooring with the following features:
- Strong grain — We’ve already suggested picking a harder type of wood for the floor, but a stronger grain is also important since it will hide scratches more easily.
- Oak is hard and durable. It has a prominent grain so that you will notice distinct markings and a wide variation in pattern from piece to piece.
- Hickory is one of the hardest and strongest woods. Hickory has a grain with a prominent contrast of light and dark colors. The grain will be very distinct, especially with a light stain.
- Pre-finished floors — Pick a floor that’s sanded, stained, and sealed before it gets to our house. We learned that finishes tend to be stronger when they’re done before a floor is delivered.
- Go with a low sheen and light color — With nails like ours, some scratching will be inevitable. However, they won’t show up as prominently on a lighter-colored floor with a lower sheen.
- Anchor wharf — This hardwood floor from our friends at Martin’s Flooring is durable, waterproof and easy to care for, and is specifically made to stand up to wear and tear from pets. This makes it one of the best kinds of pet-friendly hardwood flooring available.
Tips for Installing Hardwood Flooring Yourself
Laying down your own flooring looks hard to us. We don’t have thumbs, so we can’t imagine what an undertaking it probably is. But if you decide to go the DIY route, there are three traditional methods to installing a hardwood floor. Here are some tips to help you out:
- The nail-down method — This tends to be the preferred method by flooring professionals when there’s already a wood subfloor in the house. Make sure you’re precise when measuring the planks and pick the right length nail for the thickness of the wood.
- The click-lock method — This method refers to the process of attaching wood floorboards together without using screws, glue, or staples. These planks have grooves along their edges which fit together and interlock the floor. Just go slow enough to make sure you hear the click with each plank — we don’t want to trip over uneven floors!
- The glue-down method — We think this method is pretty self-explanatory. If you choose the glue-down method, you’re gluing wood planks down to the subfloor. Just make sure you take extra time to prep the subfloor and purchase a very high-quality adhesive for your project.
How to Maintain Your Hardwood Floor
A good hardwood floor is kind of like Mittens and me — you need to give it love and attention to keep it looking great! Hardwood floor can last a really long time if you give it the love it needs. Here are some tips to consider:
- Keep our nails short — We don’t love getting our nails clipped, but we’re willing to compromise for some extra snuggles. When we run around, we put a lot of weight on our nails. If they’re long, they’ll dig into the floor and potentially damage it. Keep our nails short to stop this from happening.
- Lay down some rugs — We know you want to show off the new floor, but it wouldn’t hurt to put down an area rug or two, with a non-skid mat underneath. Consider doing this in high-traffic areas in our house. This will protect that portion of the floor and make the room look even better.
- Clean up our accidents quickly — While our accidents in the house are rare, it’s best to clean up the mess quickly. The longer it seeps into the floor, the worse the damage and lingering smell will be (sorry!).
- Be strategic with litter box and water bowl placements — Water and litter can splash around a lot when we’re drinking or doing our business. Place mats under both of these items and place them in a corner to ensure they do as little damage as possible to the floor.
- Regularly clean floors with the right solutions — Some cleaning solutions can cause damage to hardwood floors. Do your research before you clean up.
Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Don’t think hardwood is a good fit for our home? We hear luxury vinyl flooring could be a good alternative. Here are some reasons to consider this type of floor:
- Scratch-resistant — Some floors may look great, but can be victim to the occasional scratch or ding — but not luxury vinyl. If you go with this flooring, Mittens and I can run free without worrying about leaving any scratch marks in our tracks.
- Waterproof — After a good round of chase, we need to hydrate. But sometimes we have to move fast, meaning water dribbles on the floor. That could damage certain kinds of flooring — but not this one. It’s waterproof, so we don’t need to worry about that.
- Easy maintenance — Since this floor is waterproof, it’s easy to maintain. Just remember that you should still clean up any mess quickly, and you’ll be left with a beautiful and stain-free floor.
- Long lifespan — Some types of flooring only last about 3-5 years. You might not even make it that long with Mittens and me running around on the floor. But don’t worry — luxury vinyl can last up to 10 years.
- Easy to DIY — As a self-appointed guard dog, I’m very particular about who I allow into our home. But since luxury vinyl flooring is easy to install by yourself, we don’t have to worry about letting any strange flooring installers into our house.
Tips for Installing Luxury Vinyl Flooring Yourself
Convinced that luxury vinyl flooring is the option for us? We don’t blame you! It can have the look of hardwood and doesn’t cost nearly as much — what’s not to love? If you want to install it yourself, here are a few tips to do so:
- Let the luxury vinyl acclimate — Bring your luxury vinyl planks or tiles into the installation room and let it acclimate for 48 hours.
- Prepare the space — Remove baseboards, level the subfloor, and prepare any unmovable objects.
- Lay down tiles — Tip the end of your next tile in at an angle so it aligns with the previous one. Then, angle the long side of the tile into the groove of your previous tile.
- Lock tiles into place — Once your current tile fits into the previous one, tap it with your mallet to lock the tiles together.
Continue to lay flooring and stagger the joints wherever the manufacturer suggests. Avoid installing any obvious pattern repeats next to each other so the flooring looks natural. Handle your planks or tiles with care.
If you decide that installing it yourself isn’t the right move, we get it. We trust you to pick the right installer for our home, but you know we recommend our friends at Martin’s Flooring. They have some great selections available. The Alvaro Lane luxury vinyl floor is one of our favorites. It looks like wood, is very durable, and has a lot of color choices to choose from.
How to Maintain Luxury Vinyl Flooring
This kind of flooring may be easy to maintain, but there are still specific considerations to keep in mind when it comes to cleaning and caring for it. There are three basic things every luxury vinyl floor owner needs to know. First, sweep or vacuum as often as is needed to get rid of the dirt that Mittens or I might bring in from outside.
Wipe up spills as soon as possible. Never use highly abrasive scrubbing tools.
Wash your floor regularly with the appropriate brand vinyl cleaner available at Martin’s Flooring.
Vinyl floors, like other types of smooth floors, can become slippery when wet. Allow time for your floor to dry after washing.
DO NOT use detergents, abrasive cleaners, or “mop and shine” products. These products may leave a dull film on your floor.
DO NOT use vacuums with beater bars; they can visibly damage your floors.
Use floor protectors on furniture to reduce indentation. As a general rule of thumb, the heavier the item, the wider the floor protector needed. Make sure rolling casters have a minimum ¾” flat surface, and are not rough or damaged in any way as this can cause damage to your floor.
Place a walk-off mat at outside entrances to reduce the amount of dirt brought into your home. We strongly recommend mats WITHOUT a latex or rubber backing since these backings can cause permanent discoloration.
Close curtains or blinds where extreme sunlight hits the floor. A combination of heat and sunlight can cause fading or discoloring, or in the case of vinyl tiles, expansion/contraction on the joints.
Another similar option to consider for our home is laminate flooring. Like vinyl, this flooring is water-resistant — just don’t let any liquids sit too long. You don’t want water from our bowls or any of our accidents to cause the floor to absorb liquid and swell. The good news is it’s super easy to clean up any stain on this type of flooring.
Thanks to its transparent protective layer, it will be hard for our nails to damage laminate flooring. But at the same time, this option has a soft feel underfoot, making it comfortable for us to walk on. The only downfall is that certain kinds of laminate can be a little slippery. But you can solve that problem by picking an option with a textured surface.
How to Install Laminate Flooring
All in all, we think this is a great option for our home. If you’d like to install it yourself, we did some research for you and found these tips to follow:
- Ready the door jambs — Take a plank and a section of underlayment. Lay the finished side down next to the door’s molding. Trace a guideline along the surface of the molding and then cut it.
- Prepare the first and last rows — Measure the longest wall and divide the distance by the width of the planks. Leave a 3/8-inch gap along both walls. Cut with the finished side up and use duct tape to mark the plank more easily and reduce splintering.
- Lay down underlayment — Roll out the underlayment and trim it to size while making sure the pieces overlap. However, if your laminate planks come with underlayment, skip this step and start installing.
- Work the first row — Place the planks with the tongue facing the wall. Install the second plank by aligning the tongue into the groove from the first one and snap it in place. When you come to the end of the row, cut the length of plank needed to complete it.
- Install the remaining planks — Start the second row immediately where you left off. Stagger the seams so the flooring is stable and has a natural look to it. Make sure there are no gaps between the seams. Finish the job by removing the spacers.
But as we’ve said before, a better approach may be to reach out to a top-notch flooring installer like Martin’s Flooring to do the job. We love the Enchanted Lake laminate flooring. Each plank of this floor is embossed to capture the true grain and texture appeal of genuine oak — how cool is that?
How to Maintain Laminate Flooring
Is laminate sounding as good to you as it is to us? The key to maintaining it is keeping it clean and shiny enough that Mittens and I can see our reflections when we walk on it. Here are some tips for keeping that floor looking spiffy:
- Read the cleaning instructions provided by your flooring installer — No one knows our floor like the people who installed it. Take a look at any instructions the company provided when installing the flooring. If you want even more detail, you can hop online to see if they have any product guides about our floor on their website.
- Don’t use any abrasive cleaners — Laminate can scratch, so avoid using anything rough on it, such as steel wool. The same rule applies to vacuuming. Avoid using any rough brushes or attachments when cleaning the floor.
- Mop every two months — Mopping the floor at this interval will help to keep it looking fresh. Just make sure you don’t use too much water. We don’t want to see that liquid seep into the seams of the floor and cause swelling, staining, or fading.
- Use furniture pads — Is this floor going in our kitchen? Avoid damage from constantly moving chairs by adding furniture pads where appropriate.
- Lay down mats and rugs in high-traffic areas — When too much dirt or grime gets on laminate flooring, it can start to dull. Avoid that problem by throwing down rugs where you expect a lot of feet and paws.
We love the idea of something soft and cushy underneath our paws. So we wouldn’t be mad if you went with carpet instead of a hard floor for our home. Not only does carpet feel good, but it’s safe for us too. All those hardwood options we mentioned have the potential to be a little slippery for our paws. No matter how careful we are, there’s a risk of us slipping or falling. That’s not the case for carpet though. If Mittens and I fall during a game of chase, we’ll have a nice cushion to land on.
Carpet is a really durable option for our floors too. As long as Mittens doesn’t use the floor as her scratching post, our claws aren’t getting through it. No one downstairs will be able to hear any ticky-tacky noises when we walk, because carpet has the unique advantage of muffling noise for those below.
Pet-Friendly Carpets to Consider
Not all carpets are made equally — but here are some options that we like:
- Wool naturally repels moisture and resists stains. It’s a long-lasting option, but can’t be treated with stain-resistant products.
- Nylon is a durable carpet that isn’t likely to fade. It handles stains and odors from pets like Mittens and me well, along with defying snags from the occasional kitty scratch.
- Triexta is a cool new fiber that was designed to resist stains. It resembles nylon but is dense and has a softer underfoot. We do like soft things.
- Polyester is known for having a soft, dense, and deep pile. It’s more affordable than nylon, but it’s a little less durable.
- Olefin is usually designated for outdoor rugs but can be used for high-traffic areas inside. It’s budget-friendly, hard to stain, easy to clean, and does not fade.
- Advantageous Anew from Martin’s Flooring is exceptionally soft, but still a great option for houses with adorable pets like us.
10 Steps for Installing Carpet Yourself
You might be surprised to learn that carpet is actually pretty easy to install yourself (although we say this realizing that we won’t be any help). After doing some extensive online research, we’ve identified ten steps below that outline what you need to do to give us the cushy and comfy floor of our dreams.
- Measure the room and add 10-20 percent to your total square footage.
- Remove old carpet, doors, and baseboard molding.
- Remove any glue, nails, or paint from the floor and smooth the surface out.
- Install tack strips around the perimeter of the room to hold your carpet in place.
- Pad the entire room.
- Cut the carpet to size.
- Roll out the carpet so that it makes tight seams, but still completely covers the tack strips and the floor.
- Use tape seams to join multiple sections of carpet.
- Stretch and tack the carpet.
- Trim excess carpet with a utility knife.
How to Maintain Carpet Floors
Stains are a fact of life — even if they’re not from Mittens and me. But luckily, our friends at Martin’s Flooring have us covered with a few quick tips for keeping our new carpet in great shape:
- Dampen a clean, plain white paper towel with the cleaning solution of your choice. Moisten the carpet with that solution, but don’t get it too wet.
- Blot excess liquid from the stain by pressing straight down with a clean and dry paper towel. If necessary, place a half-inch thick pad of paper towels on the stain overnight.
- Gently scrape the stained area of the carpet with the blunt edge of the spoon. Scrape from the outside and work your way toward the center.
No matter which method you go with, the most important thing to remember is to be patient. It may take a few attempts to remove a stain from a carpet. But odds are that one of these methods will help.
And, no matter how often you vacuum, your carpet will still need regularly scheduled professional cleaning. Professional cleaning is required to maintain most warranties. Hot water extraction is the cleaning method most often recommended by the manufacturers. A trained professional from Martin’s Floor Cleaning Division should perform this service every 1 to 2 years to refresh the texture and rejuvenate the fibers in your carpet. Refer to your warranty information guide for specifics on what your manufacturer suggests. Save your receipts for proof of maintenance service should a warranty claim arise.
Martin’s Flooring offers EverGuard Stain Protection on carpet installations. Most food and beverage stains may be covered by the primary warranty provided with the carpet – while tough stains like grease, paint, ink, mustard, blood, and pet stains are covered by the EverGuard Stain Protection Plan. Ask our Flooring Experts about this stain protection plan.
TL;DR — Pets Care About Your Floor, Too
Now you know — cats and dogs like us (and other small critters) care about the floor you select. You can’t go wrong with carpet, hardwood, laminate, or luxury vinyl. Just remember to review our considerations and understand how to maintain your floor before making a final decision.
Once you’re ready to have something installed, get in touch with Martin’s Flooring. They let you shop for flooring treatments from the comfort of your own home (we hear they bring some good treats, too).