If you have pets, you already know that along with all the fun-loving excitement they bring to your life, owning a pet also comes with a few drawbacks. Pets are notoriously messy, and they can wreak havoc on your home’s floors. While vinyl flooring can be a practical and affordable flooring solution to keep you and your four-legged friends happy, it’s important to understand the differences between each vinyl product.
The Benefits of Vinyl
First and foremost, families with pets need flooring that is easy to clean. Vinyl is one of the easiest flooring products to keep looking fresh, even with the messiest of critters. If Fido or Whiskers tracks mud across the floor, a damp mop quickly erases the prints while fur, litter or kibble can be easily swept or vacuumed away.
For those unpleasant “accidents” pets are occasionally prone to make, vinyl can be thoroughly cleaned with warm soapy water. And best of all, vinyl won’t stain or absorb odors, so once cleaned, those accidents can be completely forgotten—and forgiven.
Does your cat like to play in the water bowl? Does your dog slurp and splash when it drinks? Spills and splashes can permanently damage some flooring, but vinyl wipes up quickly and looks none the worse for the wear.
Vinyl is softer underfoot in comparison to many other flooring options, making it more comfortable for pets that spend a great deal of time on the floor. It is also less slippery than ceramic tiles, so pets don’t slide or scamper for traction as often. Your cat sliding down the hall may make for a funny Internet video, but if it had a choice, it would probably opt for a slip-resistant floor. In addition, vinyl stays warmer than most flooring types, keeping your critters (and your toes) cozier in the winter.
How to Shop for Vinyl
Not all vinyl products are created equal though, and generally speaking, you get what you pay for. Vinyl flooring comes in both traditional sheet and planks or tiles that click together, often called luxury vinyl tile (LVT). Vinyl sheet tends to be less expensive, but it also tends to be less durable.
It is most important to look for a vinyl product that is waterproof when shopping for a home with pets. While all vinyl flooring is water resistant, not all is waterproof. Vulnerable at the seams, vinyl flooring may allow liquids to seep through to the subfloor, potentially causing damage and leaving perpetual odors.
However, waterproof vinyl flooring traps liquid on the surface where it can be thoroughly removed, protecting your subfloor and eliminating unwanted odors.
Vinyl can also be vulnerable to scratches and peeling. Vinyl flooring has a protective coating often called the wear layer. The thicker the wear layer, the better the flooring will stand up to daily wear and tear, especially when it comes to your critters’ claws.
Wear layers are also made of different materials, which can handle varying levels of abuse. A vinyl no-wax coating tolerates only light use, while urethane endures normal to heavy use, and enhanced urethane stands up to the heaviest residential use.
Another tip for buying vinyl durable enough to withstand daily life with pets is to look for thicker vinyl. In general, the thicker the vinyl flooring, the longer it will last.
If your furry friend is a dainty Chihuahua or a nine-pound cat with neatly trimmed nails, you may not need to worry about heavy-duty vinyl with a premium wear layer, but if your family includes a 150-pound mastiff, you’ll want to go for the most durable vinyl products available.