Are you one of the 65% of homes in America with a pet? And do you struggle keeping your floor clean and undamaged by your beloved dog or cat? If so---it may be time for a new floor!
Our "Dog Days of Summer" Sale is all about floors that are designed with pets in mind. Here is everything you need to know to find your next floor:
Not Your Grandmother's Vinyl
If you have pets, you really must consider luxury vinyl. Also called LVT, LVP, and WPC, luxury vinyl is smaller individual pieces of vinyl material available in wood looks (3" to 7" wide planks) and tile and stone visuals. The tiles can sometimes be grouted if desired, and are available in a variety of sizes, including popular 16" x 16" and 12" x 24" sizes. The technology being utilized creates extremely realistic patterns and textures.
Luxury vinyl is an extremely moisture resistant floor. There are a variety of installation techniques for luxury vinyl, including fully adhered (glued) to the subfloor, click (floating), and grip (loose lay) methods. Luxury vinyl is very durable, stain resistant, and most are rated for commercial use.
Be sure to take a look at Armstrong Flooring's Vivero Luxury Vinyl (WPC), available in dozens of wood and tile looks. Vivero features an exclusive finish made with Diamond 10™ technology. This flooring is 100% waterproof and resists scratches, stains, and scuffs like no other Armstrong floor. With Diamond 10 technology, Vivero flooring endures kids, pets, and today's most active homes. This floor is designed for real life!
Laminate Floors and Pets
Go together like coffee and cream or French fries and ketchup. You can't have one without the other! In fact, Pergo, the company that invented laminate floors and introduced them in the U.S. in the early 1990's, uses a Great Dane in their advertising. (NOTE: Pergo is one of the best known of the many brands of laminate floors. Pergo has become a generic name for laminate flooring, like "Kleenex" tissues and "Xerox" copies. Pergo does not make all laminates, and all laminates are not Pergo.)
Homeowners who want the look of popular high-end flooring (exotic species, white washed looks, oil rubbed finish) but not the costs, are finding that laminate flooring can be a great option. But if you are among the skeptics who hear the word "laminate" and immediately think of hollow-sounding, imitation flooring that is easily discernible from the real thing, you may be surprised. Today's high-end laminates include authentic-looking textures, beautiful design options, and impressive realism that can make these durable floors hard to tell from the real thing. Laminates can even be manufactured to replicate distressing techniques such as wire-brushing and handscraping.
What are laminate floors and why are they so great for pets? Laminate floors mimic wood, tile and stone. The visual is actually a computer-generated picture. A laminate floor is comprised of several thin layers of different materials. Most laminates have a plastic backing, a wood based core, and a heavy finish consisting of multiple layers of melamine (a hard plastic coating) with aluminum oxide added for better wear and scratch resistance. One of the advantages of laminate is that it is very easy to maintain. Laminates are very scratch and indentation resistant and are perfect for busy, active households, especially homes with pets.
Laminate flooring is typically available in planks that range from 7 millimeters to 12 millimeters in thicknesses. Impact resistance, or the ability of a laminate floor to withstand the impact of a falling object, is related to plank thickness. In general, the thicker the plank, the more resistant the floor becomes to fracture from a dropped object. Thicker laminate products can also help reduce noise and sound. Naturally, the thicker the plank, the more it costs.
The European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF) developed the Abrasion Ration System. They rate every laminate based on a series of tests, including Tabor Abrasion Test, impact resistance, stain resistance, burn resistance and swelling resistance. Each product is assigned an AC number. Most of the laminate floors that we carry are AC3 and AC4. AC3 is Heavy Residential & Moderate Commercial, suitable for all residential applications, plus light commercial use, including hotel rooms and small offices. AC4 is General Commercial, suitable for all residential plus general commercial applications, including offices, boutiques and cafes. You want at least an AC3 for your home.
A laminate floor can be used in almost any room, including kitchens, basements and any heavy use areas of your home. If there is a downside to laminate, it is that it can be sensitive to excessive moisture and cannot tolerate standing pools of water for long periods of time (we call it the 30-minute rule!) However, let's be clear that neither solid hardwood nor engineered wood can tolerate standing water, either. For heavy moisture, you need a very impervious surface like vinyl or tile. And NEVER use a steam mop on your laminate floor!
One final note--- maintenance on a laminate floor could not be any easier--just sweep, dust mop, or damp mop with the manufacturer's recommended cleaner. Laminates are super durable, extremely stain and scratch resistant, and very pet forgiving.
Tile May Be the Best Choice of All
If you have pets in your home---tile is stain proof, almost impossible to scratch, wears well for decades, cool in the hot summer for your dog or cat to sleep on, plus there are now stain resistant grouts available. Or use a rectified (very squarely cut) and/or large format (24" x 24" or bigger) tile for minimal grout joints. There are wood-look tiles that have great realism if you don't want a traditional tile look. If you want a very light colored floor, tile is the way to go for ease of maintenance.
Ceramic tiles are a popular choice of flooring due to their aesthetic appeal, as well as their durability and easy care. A properly installed tile floor will outperform and outlast any other floor covering product created for the same application. Glazed ceramic tile resists stains, odors and dirt and can be cleaned with a damp mop or common household cleaners. Additional benefits of ceramic tile include:
- Cleanliness: Environmentally friendly, ceramic tile is manufactured using natural materials and does not retain odors, allergens or bacteria.
- Versatility: Modern ceramic manufacturing technology has created a virtually limitless number of colors, sizes, styles, shapes and textures that can add rich beauty and character to any room in your home.
- Water Resistance: Most glazed ceramic tile has a dense body that permits little or no moisture accumulation.
- Fire Resistance: Ceramic tile doesn't burn or emit toxic fumes. Even hot kitchen pans or skillets can't scorch or melt the surface of glazed ceramic tile!
NOTE: Don't get hung up on porcelain vs. ceramic tile. They are essentially the same, with only a few slight differences, primarily that porcelain has 0.5% or less water absorption rate. In heavy traffic installations (like a shopping mall) a porcelain will outlast a ceramic, but in a home, you will not see a difference between a good quality (PEI 3 or higher) ceramic and a porcelain. Some porcelains are through-body (the color goes all the way through the body of the tile, making chips far less noticeable) but not all are. You will pay much more money for a through-body porcelain.
There are a few negatives to tile: cost, hardness, cold in the winter (get a rug!) and expensive to remove if you tire of the color or it was poorly installed. Also look for a tile with texture and slip resistance, both for humans and your dog. But when it comes to the most common problems with pets---accidents, scratches, stains, cleanability---tile is a clear winner.