Forum Friday: Animal lovers in search of pet-proof flooring

Consumer Reports News: April 02, 2010 11:17 AM

One downside to owning a dog, cat, bird, fish, or some other critter is the pet-related cleanup or damage control you might have to deal with. We're well familiar with dog and cat owners inquiring about the best vacuums for pet hair/fur, and the kitchen-remodeling discussion on our forums covers flooring that can stand up to a dog's nails.

Ongoing discussions include tales from commenters who've had their carpeting and wood flooring messed up by dogs as well as opinions on possible solutions like sheet vinyl and engineered-wood flooring.

Two of our tests for flooring are especially relevant to pet owners: the wear test, in which a small abrasion machine travels back and forth over the flooring; and the scratch test, in which a sharp pointed tool is dragged across each floor panel while testers gradually add weight to increase the force. (Watch the video, above.)

"The wear test could be the best at indicating what pet claws would do, with less consideration for the scratch test," says John Galeotafiore, associate director of home improvement in our Technical Division. "The wear test is looking for how quickly a floor's surface will begin to show wear after mild abrasion, and pet claws could be more in line with that kind of repetitive mild abrasion over time. The scratch test is used more to simulate what might happen if you dragged a heavier type of furniture or appliance across the floor."

To find the best flooring for your home, check out our review of flooring materials and ratings of solid-wood, engineered-wood, plastic-laminate, vinyl, and linoleum products (available to subscribers).

Gian Trotta

Essential information: Check out our free buyer's guide to flooring.

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