Cork flooring is good for pets, people and the environment -- It's a naturally occurring and renewable resource, and it's relatively inexpensive compared with wood or tile flooring. You can install it yourself easily if you enjoy a little do-it-yourselfing. The weaknesses of natural cork flooring in comparison with other flooring materials are susceptibility to moisture issues and tendency to discolor in direct sunlight.
Cork functions just the opposite of wood and tile -- they resist pressure and scratches because they're hard, while cork does the same because it's soft. Under the pressure of a dog's nails, cork gives, then bounces back. Your dogs' nails can gouge cork flooring, though, particularly a big, active one. So keep such a dog's nails trimmed short. The higher the quality of the cork flooring you invest in, the more durable it will be.
Cork is warmer and more resilient than hardwood flooring and much warmer than tile. Old and heavy dogs will find it more comfortable to walk and lie on than the less forgiving types of flooring. Cork flooring is also sound-absorbing, so nails don't click and barking doesn't sound as loud as it does in a room with a hard-surface floor.
Cork has a smooth surface and cannot accumulate dust, dander and other allergens the way carpet does. Fleas, ticks and mites can't live and multiply in it. It's also naturally resistant to mold and mildew and bacteria, so the whole family -- human and canine -- should be healthier.
As long as you wipe up spills promptly and sweep (or vacuum) and damp-mop it regularly, cork flooring should stay in good condition for a long time. You can repair dents and gouges, and replace ares worn by heavy foot traffic. If the whole floor does become dulled from wear, you can resurface it. Leaving heavy objects in one place too long can cause dents and color changes, so use area rugs and rearrange the furniture occasionally.
- cork tree image by Sorbotrol from Fotolia.com