Nobody wants to see scratches on their beautiful new flooring. The best way to avoid scratches is to get scratch-resistant flooring in the first place. Scratch-resistant flooring is even more critical if you have pets and kids living in the house.
Scratch-resistant flooring refers to floorings that are not prone to scratches. Typically, these floorings have a rigid surface that can tolerate pressure well. Scratch-resistant floorings are ideal for high foot traffic areas and households with pets and kids.
Here is our list of the eight best scratch-resistant flooring materials and why you need them.
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Why You Need Scratch Resistant Flooring
Regarding flooring, you have a myriad of choices in the market. You have a lot of different factors to take into consideration before choosing a flooring material for your home — and scratch resistance is one of them. Although you can use scratch-resistant flooring materials regardless of whether you need scratch resistance or not, there are some cases where it’s a safer and smarter choice.
Three reasons you need scratch-resistant flooring are –
You have kids
Parenting is already challenging, and you don’t need to make it any more challenging by worrying about scratching the floor. Kids spend a lot of time on the floor. They can ride toy cars inside the house or drag their toys on the floor. You also got kids running and jumping around, which can take a toll on your floor.
Click here to learn more about the best flooring options for kids’ rooms.
You have pets
Suppose you have pets, whether a dog, a cat or even a fluffy bunny, there is a risk of scratching your beautiful flooring. However, your cats and dogs walking around the house will not scratch the flooring. Instead, it’s the zoomies and jumping around that do the damage. Also, if your pet has long nails, it can easily scratch up the flooring surface.
Click here to learn more about how to dog-proof hardwood floors.
You have high foot traffic areas
You should opt for scratch-resistant flooring in high foot traffic areas such as doorways and hallways, kitchen, and even bathrooms. If you wear shoes indoors, the friction between gravel and dust at the bottom of the shoe and your flooring can scuff up the floor. Also, scrubbing bathroom and kitchen floors can damage the flooring surface.
Best Scratch Resistance Flooring Materials
Tiles are the ultimate scratch-resistant flooring with a tough surface that can tolerate abrasion and pressure well. Tiles are versatile, affordable, and come in different shapes and sizes, perfect for any space and style. You can use them outdoors and in commercial areas as well. Tile flooring is durable and easy to maintain. They can be as cheap as $1 per square foot and go up to $9 per square foot.
Types of tiles
Ceramic tiles are not as durable as porcelain tiles. They are unsuitable for flooring applications as they cannot tolerate foot pressure well. Ceramic tiles are usually smaller and lighter, so they can be installed vertically as they hold against the gravity well.
Porcelain tiles are more durable, heavier, and larger than ceramic tiles since the clay is packed at high pressure and baked at a higher temperature. Porcelain tiles score higher on the PEI scale, depending on their rigidity. They can tolerate abrasion and foot pressure well and are suitable for household applications.
COF and PEI rating
When picking floor tiles for your home, paying attention to the COF and PEI rating is crucial. PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) rating helps you determine the durability of ceramic and porcelain tiles. It makes it easier for consumers to understand and pick the correct tile that suits their requirements. COF rating is another measurement that determines whether a tile will go on the wall or the floor. The coefficient of friction (COF) rating is an objective standard for how slippery an item is.
A tile must score between 3 to 5 on the PEI scale to qualify as a floor tile. In addition, floor tiles must have a COF rating of 0.50 or greater. For exterior paver tile, this rating can go up to 0.60. Floor tiles need to maintain a minimum friction level to be safe to walk on.
Vinyl flooring has been around for a long time and continues to be one of the top flooring choices— for good reasons. Vinyl is affordable, durable, and low maintenance. They are also quite versatile to suit any aesthetics.
Vinyl can mimic the appearance of wood, tiles, and natural stones. There are two main types of vinyl flooring: vinyl sheet and vinyl plank. There is also a new type of vinyl flooring known as Luxury Vinyl that comes in plank (LVP) and tiles (LVT) forms.
What is sheet vinyl?
Vinyl sheets are thin and flexible vinyl cut and rolled into large sheets. Unlike tiles and plank vinyl, these are continuous flooring with no joints. Vinyl sheets are usually cut during installation to cover wall-to-wall completely. They are often referred to as “linoleum” due to their visual similarity.
Vinyl sheets are scratch resistant and waterproof. However, since they are very thin, heavy furniture or sharp objects can dent or break the flooring. Improper installation can also cause moisture to seep under the sheet and cause it to bubble.
What is Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)?
Although first introduced in the market as commercial flooring, luxury vinyl tiles or LVT quickly gained popularity in-home use. Luxury vinyl comes in both tiles and plank forms. The most significant advantages of LVT are it is low-maintenance, affordable, highly durable, and elegantly designed — all at the same time.
Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) and Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) were first developed in the 1970s as a way to improve the realism of sheet vinyl. It gained popularity in the 2000s when the glue-down construction, aka “dryback,” emerged as a low-cost alternative to laminate, hardwood, and carpet. Luxury vinyl is typically made of four main layers of PVC vinyl. The manufacturing process of LVT has been perfected over the years, and various compounds are mixed with the PVC to improve its durability.
Laminate flooring has earned its reputation as a cheaper, easy-to-install, durable alternative to hardwood flooring. It can be eco-friendly depending on the sourcing. Laminate flooring has improved vastly over the last few decades and now offers sharper high-definition imaging, deeper embossing, and better seaming mechanisms. It can create a wooden floor look at a fraction of the cost.
The material is highly durable and can handle your pet’s zoomies or kids dropping objects on the floor. However, one downside of laminate is that it is not waterproof. If you spill liquids on the laminate floor, you must clean it immediately. Otherwise, the base layer might swell if water seeps between the planks.
Laminate flooring cost
Average laminate flooring that you find in big-box home centers costs $1 to $3 per square foot. At this price range, laminate often looks cheaper or even “plastic-y.” If you are looking for a laminate floor with a luxurious finish that looks identical to hardwood, you’d have to go for designer products that can set you back as much as $10 or $12 per square foot.
Laminate floor pricing varies mainly depending on the thickness of the wear layer and the quality of the print layer. However, laminate flooring is also very easy to install. So, you are looking at little to no installation cost. Even the professional installation costs only about $5 per square foot.
Pros and cons of laminate flooring
|Extremely durable, making them a right fit for high-traffic areas||The appearance might somewhat be fake or artificial|
|Easy to install and DIY friendly||Susceptible to liquid damage|
|Resists stains||It cannot be refinished|
|Non-allergenic||Hard and noisy underfoot|
Carpet tiles are great additions to your already existing floors to turn them into scratch-resistant flooring. It’s a temporary solution to protect your floors — especially in high foot traffic areas. They are also an excellent option for kids’ rooms as they will protect the flooring underneath as well as give your kids a soft underfoot and insulation. You can also use them in your basement gyms or garage gyms.
Carpet tiles are quick and easy to install. Installing peel and stick carpet tiles is a one-day job for expert DIYers. They are also colorful, creative, and cheap. You can even put them under heavy furniture to avoid dents and scratches on your flooring.
Are carpet tiles waterproof?
Standard carpet tiles are not waterproof but water resistant to some degree. They can be safely used outdoors or in the doorway where people may walk in with dripping clothes and wet umbrellas. Water and moisture do not damage carpet tiles as long as they are cleaned up promptly. However, keep in mind that you also need to dry out the flooring underneath in case of spills.
You can waterproof any standard carpet tiles from the bottom and the top. Click here to learn how to waterproof rugs and carpets.
Do you need an underlay for carpet tiles?
Typically, carpet tiles come with attached underlays meaning no additional underlay is required. Depending on your needs, you can also go for special underlays such as acoustic underlay or insulating underlay. If your flooring has an existing underlay, this should be removed before installation.
In noisy rooms, an acoustic underlay might benefit you by reducing noise levels. If you have underfloor heating systems, you might need an insulating underlay.
Pros and cons of tile flooring
|Very durable||It is not long-lasting|
|Easy to install||It might impact the resale value of the house|
|Water-resistant in most cases|
|Ideal for high moisture areas|
|Can be installed over the existing floor|
Cork is a biodegradable, sustainably harvested, and wood-derived flooring material that has recently gained popularity as an environmentally friendly and cheaper alternative to hardwood flooring. It comes from the bark of the cork oak tree, which is grouped up and turned into sheets, and later bonded with resin to create the end product as we see it in the household.
However, cork is not as durable as hardwood and is susceptible to damage. It has a soft and cushioned surface and offers good insulation. The material’s surface can tolerate scratches well but might get damaged under heavy pressure. Another big pro of cork is that it is hypoallergenic and antimicrobial.
Pros and cons of cork flooring:
How long does cork flooring last?
Durability is a big concern if you are considering cork flooring. The lifespan of your cork flooring depends heavily on its condition. Typically, it lasts longer than hardwood flooring. It is not usually damaged by water. However, you should clean up standing water as soon as possible to lengthen the cork’s lifespan. Cork is designed to last 25 years before considering replacements.
Are cork floors waterproof?
Cork floors are water and scratch-resistant. It can ward off unwanted attacks from mold, mildew, bacteria, bugs, termites, and insects. These two properties make it a popular alternative to hardwood floors. Even though cork can stand water and moisture, you should still clean up standing water as soon as possible to lengthen its lifespan.
Concrete is one of the cheapest and most durable flooring options out there. Although people are quick to rule it out because of the old dull look, with the latest technologies, concrete now comes in various colors, textures, polishes, and stamps. Moreover, it is like an open canvas that you can play around with to recreate any other flooring, including hardwood. Love the rich color and shine of mahogany? Or a cool tone of oak with a slightly non-slip texture? Concrete can do it all.
Any existing flooring needs to be removed before pouring concrete. Concrete flooring is typically poured over the concrete subfloor. The shine and strength of the surface come from a coat of sealer that needs to be reapplied annually.
Concrete flooring price
The price of concrete floors varies greatly depending on the texture and finish. Since the material used in concrete flooring is six to eight times cheaper than hardwood flooring, the finished product is significantly more affordable.
A polished concrete floor will generally cost you $3.50 to $5 per square foot, depending on slab size and level of gloss. Stained concrete floors have a similar price point as polished floors.
Pros and cons of concrete flooring
|Low maintenance||Hard and somewhat uncomfortable underfoot|
|Eco-friendly||May develop cracks over time|
|Good insulator||Some finishes may be slippery|
|Durable and long-lasting|
|Lots of variety to choose from|
Bamboo is one of the most durable and rigid scratch-resistant flooring materials. It offers the closest look to hardwood flooring while being much cheaper, sturdier, and low maintenance. Another big pro of bamboo flooring is it’s organic and environment friendly. They are easy to clean, pet-friendly, and work in any room. Bamboo offers a variety of colors on top of its natural blond look.
High-quality strand woven bamboo flooring surpasses most other floorings in strength and durability. It’s 2-3 times more dent and scratch resistant than traditional hardwoods, vinyl, or laminate. Bamboo can be made from horizontal and vertical planks. However, the strongest options — strand-woven bamboo- are made of shredded bamboo fibers mixed with a rigid resin.
Pros and cons of bamboo flooring:
Can you mop bamboo flooring?
A big pro of bamboo is that it is low maintenance and easy to clean. You can clean bamboo flooring using a mop. Good quality bamboo flooring can stand water for up to 24 hours. However, ensure the mop is thoroughly wrung out and slightly damp to clean the bamboo flooring to avoid any water damage.
Natural stones are known for their classic beauty, unmatched durability, and lasting value. Stone flooring works well in every area of the house, including hallways, kitchens, bathrooms, foyers, living areas, and paved outdoor areas. Natural stones are scratch resistant and completely waterproof.
Another advantage of stone flooring is that most materials are naturally resistant to stains. You get plenty of choices to play around with to either make your floor stick out or to stay on the neutral side of the spectrum. However, one downside of natural stone is it lacks a comfortable underfoot. It is also not a cheap flooring option as the material sourcing and processing are complex and expensive.
Which natural stone is best for flooring?
You get a bunch of options to choose from with stone flooring. The price and the finish vary greatly depending on the type of stone you select. Here are the six most popular natural stones for flooring –
Pros and cons of stone flooring
|Long-lasting and durable||Some stone materials can be expensive|
|Ideal for both outdoor and indoor areas||Can be slippery|
|Improves indoor energy efficiency||Requires special tools and skills to install|
|Keeps away dust and allergens||Some natural stones are prone to water damage|
|Some stone floors are water and stain resistant|
|Lots of variety to choose from|
For those in the market for scratch-resistant flooring, you truly have plenty of options for your floors. Do you have any questions about scratch-resistant flooring? Comment below and let us know!