Dear Home Ec 101,
When I bought my house 20 months ago it had ugly beige builders carpet through the living / dining room, hallway, and master bedroom. Inexplicably, the two spare bedrooms have hardwood floors. My plan when I moved in was to replace the carpet in the living & dining rooms with hardwood and leave the carpet everywhere else. I even went and worked overseas for four months to save up the money but I still can’t afford the wood.
Meanwhile the carpet is now stained and smelly from both general wear and tear and also my greyhound becoming incontinent and having accidents everywhere, especially in the hallway. So I need to do something. I really don’t want to replace with carpet, and I refuse to use laminate so it is down to wood-look linoleum or hardwood. What is the best/most durable/easiest to clean & maintain flooring choice?
PS. I have a slab home.
Every flooring choice has its pros and cons and I would consider trying to wait until the incontinence issue has been resolved. The current situation may be ugly, but it isn’t permanent and any new flooring may be damaged soon after installation. This doesn’t mean you have to live with pee soaked carpet.
If cleaning the carpet doesn’t resolve odor issues, it can be removed long before new flooring is installed. Back in 2007 we had a mold problem develop in the carpeting in our master bedroom, we got rid of the carpet, yanked the tackboard, pulled up all the staples, and lived with the sub-flooring for several months while we finished saving for the new flooring. Optimal? No, but infinitely better than living in a mold farm.
The faux wood floors you mention are laminate; linoleum is actually a flooring similar to vinyl, but made from linseed oil. There are also engineered wood flooring options that install like floating hardwood floors with a significantly lower price tag.
Although sealed hardwood is pretty easy to clean up, it is not impervious to damage by pet urine. If a pet urinates on hardwood and it isn’t cleaned up quickly, it can seep into the wood causing an expensive problem. The same is true for faux wood, urine can seep between the tiles / strips and cause permanent damage.
There are two options you haven’t mentioned. Home owners who live in slab homes have the option of painting or polishing and sealing their concrete flooring. If the incontinent dog is going to be around for several more years, this may be an attractive and easy-to-clean option.
Just like tile or hardwood, some people find concrete uncomfortable to stand on for extended periods. Throw rugs, with non-skid backing, or a rubber mat can make a world of difference. In my restaurant days, when pulling double shifts we would sometimes break down cardboard boxes and use the corrugated cardboard as extra cushioning under the rubber mats. I don’t recommend this technique in your kitchen, though.
All hard flooring does little to dampen sound within a room. Sound bounces off the hard surfaces, creating an echo effect. A large area rug can help immensely -I say this, as the sound of Hot Wheels, Tie Fighters, and princess shoes clatter around my living area as I’m trying to type. We need to quit waffling and purchase an area rug before my sanity frays any further.
Good luck, flooring is a major purchase and I commend you for doing research before making your decision.
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