If a homeowner has a pet, especially a dog or dogs, then there may be worries about the animal's effect on flooring, especially tile-based floors that are newly installed. Some types of flooring are susceptible to damage by dogs, while other types are more resistant. Dogs can scratch flooring without realising it, and sometimes even scratch as a natural instinct.
One instinct common in dogs deals with bedding and sitting down. Many pet owners are familiar with how dogs circle before they sit down, an instinct still in place that drives them to check the floor and their surroundings for safety. Many dogs also paw at the floor before they sit, another instinct that is derived from scratching a shallow bed in soil or leaves in which to lie down. Both these behaviours can be destructive to floor tiles.
A dog's nails are used primarily for gripping, and they continuously grow. If they grow too long they will extend beyond the pad of the dog's paw and make a click-click sound against the tile. Over time, this clicking action can damage tiles. Even if a dog's nails are cut short, the hair that grows around a dog's paw can cause the pet to slip on the tile so that it digs in with its nails for extra support, causing even more damage.
Ceramic tiles are probably the safest tiles to use with dogs. Their fire-hardened surfaces are very resistant to light scratches of the kind dogs make, and they look much better than vinyl or laminate options. Most ceramic tiles are glazed, and over time this glaze may become worn or scratched, but the tile itself usually stays unharmed.
Wood tiles, such as cork tiles, tend to suffer the most because of scratching dogs. Cork and bamboo are both soft woods and among the few woods that are made into tiles for flooring. It is inadvisable to choose wood tiles with a dog because of the ease with which they are scratched, even when sealants and protective layers are used.
Stone tiles are usually granite or marble, and are naturally very hard. This does not mean they are immune to scratches by dog nails. Stone tiles can be very absorbent, even when sealed, and if they accidently absorb some type of food the smell can stay in the stone for a long time, attracting a pet's attention. This may also be a cause of scratching damage around absorbent grout.