Natural stone is considered a pet-friendly flooring option, as it’s easy to maintain and can be sealed for extra protection against stains and damage. Still, it’s important to understand each type of stone has its own level of porosity and sensitivity to acid in pet urine. Don’t assume all stones will hold up the same against pet accidents. Here are a few stone floors that work very well with pets, and some that may not a great match for pet owners.
Granite is not nearly as sensitive to the acid found in pet urine as many other types of natural stone. While pet accidents that aren’t cleaned up promptly can still damage granite, you have a pretty good time frame to spot and clean the mess before you need to worry. Sealing granite floors with a high-quality granite sealer increases the stone’s ability to resist etching. This is because granite usually has a low level of calcium carbonate that reacts chemically with acids like pet urine. Also, sealing forces liquids to bead on the surface, which provides ample time for cleanup. If you leave the stain there, it will wear away at the seal and etch the stone.
Slate is one of the most popular types of stone flooring due to its unique colors and soft yet nonslip texture. Another perk of choosing slate is that it’s not acid sensitive. However, prolonged use of common household cleaners can cause dullness and streaks. When it comes to pet accidents, slate is far more forgiving than other stones. With regular sealing, slate will stand up well to pets.
Like slate, sandstone has very little sensitivity to acid in most cases. This earth-toned stone mimics the look of desert and beach sand with reds, golds, tans, and browns, making it a good choice for matching nearly any décor. The downside of sandstone, especially compared to slate and granite, is that it has a high absorption rate of 1-6 percent. This makes sandstone vulnerable to staining and bacteria growth. If you choose sandstone, staining might be an issue. Sealing sandstone is the best way to guard against pet stains.
While beautiful, marble is not the most pet-friendly flooring option. The same sensitivity to acid that keeps marble out of many kitchens also increases the chances of staining and etching if your pet has an accident. Acidic liquids like urine can etch and stain marble. Etching is physical damage to the stone and may not be able to be repaired. Cleaning up accidents right away can mitigate the damage, especially if the marble is sealed. If the urine is left long enough, which may be as little as one hour, it could still cause etching and stains.
Travertine is considered a soft stone, which means it has a high level of calcium carbonate, a mineral that is very vulnerable to acids like citrus juice, coffee, and pet urine. Travertine can etch very easily when exposed to pet urine, even if it’s cleaned up quickly. Sealing the travertine can reduce the risk of damage, but the most important thing to do is blot up accidents immediately.
If you’ve been reading closely, you’ve surely noticed that sealing natural stone is the best protection against pet stains and other harmful substances. If you’re not sure how to seal granite and other types of natural stone, the process is quite simple. Spray the sealer on the surface of the stone in a 3-foot section, then immediately wipe the sealer into the stone with a lint-free cloth. If you allow the sealer to dry, it will cause hazing. Buff the surface dry with a new lint-free cloth, and repeat the process 2-3 times for maximum protection.
When caring for your stone floors, don’t forget to clean your grout. Ordinary cleaners can harm the surrounding surfaces, so make sure to use a grout cleaner such as Granite Gold Grout Cleaner®, which is safe to use on granite, travertine, slate, and all other types of natural stone. It can also be used on ceramic, porcelain, glass, and colored grout. If you have any questions about our stone-safe products, call Granite Gold® today at 1-800-475-STONE.