If you're thinking about installing flooring but are concerned your family pooch's nails and playtime behaviors might ruin natural hardwood planks, bamboo and laminate are two ideal options to put on your short list. Both floors resemble hardwood and come in a variety of colors, "species" and looks. Both are more durable, scratch-resistant and easier to maintain than your typical hardwood.
Laminate is a top contender for pet owners looking for a hard floor surface that has the beauty of wood. Laminate actually consists of several layers that add to the durability of the finished product. The top layer -- the one you see -- is actually a photograph of real wood that is applied to the planks. Laminate's durability and its resistance to scratches are why the material is a top choice for dog owners. Moisture and wetness is sometimes an issue with laminates, though; moisture can cause damage if liquid seeps between the seams. Some laminates, however, are finished and sealed, and this is not as much of a problem. The outer layer -- or picture layer -- is not easily damaged by liquids.
Bamboo flooring also stands up well to dogs. Its durability and natural beauty, as well as its environmentally friendly origins, are favorite features among homeowners. Because it's a grass, bamboo takes much less time -- only about five years -- to grow and mature than hardwood trees. It's harder than oak, a major plus when a deciding factor is how durable and long-lasting the floor will be in your home. Bamboo is moisture-resistant, which means that if your dog has an occasional accident you aren't in as much "trouble" as you would be if your pet peed on hardwood.
Cons of Each
Both bamboo and laminate are hard, durable, beautiful and competent rivals for hardwood floors, but they also come with a few downsides for pet owners, as well. Laminate's shiny smooth surface can be extremely slippery, and many dogs slip on it, causing their hips and other joints damage and soreness. Bamboo is typically a little bit more expensive than laminate floors, which is really its only negative aspect for pet owners. Some manufacturers use a high-formaldehyde glue when making bamboo planks, so look for manufacturers that comply with E1 Safety and Emission Standards before buying.
Both laminate and bamboo flooring options will stand up to even the most rowdy of pets, although bamboo will stand up longer and better. Both of these flooring options are much more pet-friendly than hardwood. Budget may play a large factor in your decision process; both bamboo and laminate can be very reasonable, but laminate is usually cheaper. Nonetheless, bamboo, overall-but-barely, is the better decision for pet owners due to its hardiness, sustainability and length of floor life.
- Photo Credit bamboo image by cyndi Claessens from Fotolia.com