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Ask Angie: Is luxury vinyl flooring a good choice with pets?

VERSATILE: Around since the 1950s, today’s vinyl flooring is more durable, but as fashionable as ever. Pictured here are Armstrong's luxury vinyl tiles Alterna Premium Tiles Betcha Black and White.
VERSATILE: Around since the 1950s, today’s vinyl flooring is more durable, but as fashionable as ever. Pictured here are Armstrong's luxury vinyl tiles Alterna Premium Tiles Betcha Black and White. Armstrong

Q: We’re considering luxury vinyl flooring for our kitchen. Is this a good option for a house with pets?

Lynn A., New Milford, Connecticut

A: When you live with dogs or cats (or kids), you need a floor that can stand up to scratching, messes and more. While no product is 100 percent scratchproof, luxury vinyl can be a great choice.

Our team took your question to flooring pros who’ve earned top reviews from Angie’s List members. They agree that vinyl is generally durable, affordable, easy to clean and — bonus! — tends to feel warmer underfoot than ceramic or porcelain tiles. That’s partly why vinyl has soared in popularity. The other reason is that luxury vinyl, especially in the form of planks or tiles that mimic wood or stone, offers incredible design versatility.

To be sure your vinyl floor can withstand pet nails or urine, choose a product with a thick top layer. Luxury vinyl flooring features four layers: a vinyl backing, a vinyl color layer, a design layer and a final, protective layer.

You want that top layer — also known as the wear layer or mil layer — to be between 20 mil and 40 mil thick. A mil is one-thousandth of an inch, or about the thickness of a straight human hair. Generally, the thicker the wear layer, the more durable the flooring.

Thickness matters, but so does the specific coating material. The starting point is a simple no-wax vinyl coating. The next level, a urethane finish, provides greater durability and stain resistance. Even better, especially for scratch-resistance, is an enhanced coating such as aluminum oxide.

Expect to pay $2.50 to $7 per square foot for luxury vinyl flooring and installation, possibly more, depending on where you live and which top coating you choose.

To add an extra measure of protection, trim pets’ nails and cover high-traffic areas with rugs.

Also, be sure the carpet pros you hire are appropriately licensed, insured and bonded and have positive reviews on a trusted online site.

Angie Hicks is founder of www.AngiesList.com, provider of consumer reviews and services. Send questions to askangie@angieslist.com.

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