Choosing the right floor for your home isn’t always an easy endeavor. Add pets to the equation and it gets even harder. Mix in the harsh seasons(and predisposition to flooding in some areas) here in the St. Louis area and you have a headache. Hampton Flooring gets a lot of questions from customers about their furry friends and, having a small zoo myself, I’ve done a lot of research on the subject. So we put together this list of the best flooring options for your location.
Why Does Location Matter?
If you live in the Midwest, you know what I mean when I say “It isn’t the heat. It’s the humidity.” or “If you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes…it’ll change”. This perfectly describes our weather in St. Louis. Something most people don’t think about when selecting a floor is what that weather can do to them. For example, if you have your heart set on hardwood, expect to baby it a little more than other options, like vinyl. Even in places that don’t have to worry about flooding, the humidity levels get incredibly high and can cause water related issues. If you like to have your windows open whenever possible or tend to set the A/C to a high temp when you vacation like I do, this can cause a problem with your floors buckling. Or, as some of you may have already found out the hard way, damp carpet. Whatever flooring you choose, make sure you understand what maintenance is needed in your area to keep your floors looking their best!
Bamboo flooring made it’s debut in the 90’s and has quickly became a popular flooring choice. That’s not too surprising when you consider how many thousands of years bamboo has been used for everything from paper to building materials. The reasons for this is its strength, durability, and sustainability. These are the same values that make bamboo and excellent flooring choice. The strand woven bamboo planks are water resistant, making Fido’s messes easier to clean and less likely to damage your floor. Anyone who has a dog knows just how hard those nails are on your floors. Bamboo is harder than most hardwoods so it is more likely to hold up, but as always make sure you keep your dog’s nails trimmed to keep him comfortable and to help protect against scratches. The durability of bamboo makes it a great option for high traffic areas, such as the living room. If scratches do occur, the variety of unique looks of the planks hides them well, especially if you choose a lighter color. Bamboo is generally inexpensive, but pay attention to the quality of the product and where it is sourced to be confident this is the perfect eco-friendly choice for you.
Cork is another great eco-friendly choice for a home with pets. I first heard of it last year when I was looking for a floor for my daughter’s room. My friend, and flooring expert, John Hampton assured me the great reviews were true. Cork is water resistant, maybe even more so than bamboo, which is what also makes it good for plugging wine bottles. By nature it is antimicrobial and hypoallergenic. It is softer than bamboo, making it more prone to scratches, but with its unique look it also hides them well. Cork is also resealable so if you forget to do Dolly’s nails this week and she digs in, you can sand and reseal it and you’ll never know it happened. Cork provides insulation to your home, which means it tames the tap of you pups nails while helping maintain the temperature, reportedly decreasing your utility costs. This also makes it soft and warm under your feet, as opposed to bamboo or tile. The cost is close to the same as bamboo, making it an equally good flooring choice.
Vinyl has come a long way since we were kids. Today we have luxury planks and tiles that closely mimic the look of wood or stone. Vinyl is waterproof and durable, so if you can’t get to that puddle right away it isn’t going to cause the damage it would with most other floors. Modern vinyl flooring is also scratch and dent resistant(great for when Buddy decides your flower pot looks better on the floor than in the windowsill), but soft enough to feel warm and comfortable under your feet. As with the other options I’ve listed, vinyl is easy to clean…which is a must for a home with pets. Luxury Vinyl is the perfect alternative for a budget minded family who lives in a humid environment and has pets, but wants the stylish look of stone or hardwood. While it is a very affordable option, pay attention to the quality of the flooring as not all vinyl is created equal. The flooring professionals at Hampton Flooring can help you choose the perfect vinyl to fit your family’s needs.
Author’s Honorable Mention
Laminate flooring can’t quite compete with bamboo, cork, or vinyl but I feel it is worth mentioning. When I was shopping for my daughter’s new bedroom floor I ultimately decided on laminate, but my circumstances make it a reasonable choice whereas it may not be in your case. We were only installing it in an older child’s room, not the whole house or a high traffic area. Our dogs are also young, healthy, and are housebroken(and are rarely allowed in our little diva’s domain anyway). Now, I didn’t go into the shopping experience looking for laminate flooring because a lot of reviews say it is a bad choice with pets, but I fell in love with a product and decided to give it a try. It has worked wonderfully for us, and as long as you get a good quality plank, it is water resistant and easy to maintain as well.