The flooring in our homes comes into contact with many different elements, especially if you come from a busy household. Pets and children only add to the stress of wear and tear, so what exactly is the best flooring for pets and children with heavy domestic use?
The first thing to consider is durability. Everyone wants flooring that is hard wearing and going to last as long as possible without showing wear, especially if your household has high foot or paw traffic!
Let’s start with real wood. Not only does it look beautiful, luxurious and timeless, but exhibits incredible resilience to the trials of everyday life. A well-protected wood floor will stand up to a lot of what is thrown at it, although by no means indestructible, with liquid spillages potentially causing issues if left, and scratches appearing over time, which are both elements that households with children and pets are likely to be exposed to.
Caring for Wood Floors
Fortunately, though, there is a way to combat this, with the potential to sand wood flooring down and refinish it, although this shouldn’t be needed to be done for a good 15 years or so. If you’re in a busy household with kids and pets, where paws, claws feet and even toys could potentially damage the floor, then you’ll want to consider a thicker product.
Wood flooring is available in so many different styles, with the knots and grains in each product, which arise depending on the grade of the wood, adding real charm and character. However, these characteristics can hide dirt and grime, so keep an eye on this!
In terms of upkeep, wood flooring is relatively easy to keep clean- an important factor in busy family homes, where the last thing most parents want to end up doing is to spend hours on end cleaning and clearing up! A regular sweep and semi-regular mopping with specialist wood flooring cleaner will keep your flooring in tip-top condition.
One aspect to bear in mind with that solid wood flooring is that it is not compatible with under-floor heating. If this is something that you are after or already have in your home, then engineered wood is a much better option, as it is able to better cope with the fluctuating temperatures, as a result of how the planks are constructed.
Vinyl and Laminate
However, you may decide that wood flooring isn’t the right option for you. With this in mind, you’ll want to consider vinyl and laminate as alternatives. Both of these are extremely popular with busy households, coming in many different styles and patterns, which perfectly mimic their natural counterparts. They both hold many practical benefits including easy maintenance and hard-wearing properties, and because of this, both will look brand new for years, so you should have no concerns placing it in areas that will come into contact with heavy use.
If you’re looking at laminate, then you’ll want to make a note of its AC rating, which determines just how robust and durable it is. AC ratings very from AC1, which is laminate suitable for moderate traffic in bedrooms or guest rooms, through AC5, which is a product suitable for the highest footfall areas, including the commercial environment.
Vinyl -v- Laminate
The advantage vinyl has over laminate is that it is completely scratch, stain and waterproof, whereas laminate is only resistant to these. Therefore, we’d recommend keeping your pet’s claws trimmed to avoid disappointment and placemats by entrances to remove debris from shoes that may be damaging to your floor.
Overall, laminate and luxury vinyl tiles are ideal if you enjoy the plush look of wood or tile but easier on the wallet and better practicality.
Tile and Stone
Tile and stone offer a beautiful affluent look to your home. Very hard-wearing and waterproof, many homeowners like to lay it in rooms such as the bath and utility room.
However, stone and tiles are cold and hard underfoot unless you have underfloor heating, nippy for your little ones playing on the floor! Tiles have also been known to crack if heavy items are dropped on it from a height, so we’d recommend not laying it in busy rooms!
With all this being said, vinyl is without a doubt the best option in terms of durability against anything your pets and children might throw at it! It will stand the test of time and look strikingly similar to the natural products it impersonates.