• Hannah Skidmore, MBA

Interior Finishes for Your Animal Care Facility

Updated: Oct 25

Make sure to chose the best finishes for your building


Did you know that improper interior finishes can lead to mold and rot? They can even affect animals and staff through the spread of disease and odor. Often folks neglect the critical role that interior finishes play in a safe facility - for both humans and animals! Interior finishes, such as flooring and wall coverings, are not just aesthetically pleasing - but also critical to the animal care facility’s longevity and functionality.


When working with vet clinic renovation projects or animal shelter updates, the DLI experts often find that the original interior finishes were inappropriate for the building's use. In general, animal facilities are usually very wet and loud environments. They are wet environments due to the regular cleanings and constant animal traffic and loud because of the animals and activity in the facility. There are specific interior finish recommendations that the DLI uses when renovating an existing vet clinic and certainly when specifying finishes for a new building project. The DLI building experts advise clients on appropriate interior finishes to meet the specific needs of their building.


Two of the most crucial interior finishes in an animal care facility, animal shelter, humane society, or vet clinic are flooring and wall covering finishes.


Flooring is the workhorse of the facility


When it comes to interior finishes, flooring is the workhorse of the facility. There is constant foot traffic - from humans and animals! Think about the flooring in your facility - animals urinate on it, harsh chemicals are used to clean it, and water is constantly on it. Because of this, a standard floor that you may see in an office or warehouse is not adequate for the animal care application.


  • Resinous Epoxy: The DLI experts often recommend that the best option for flooring in an animal care facility is resinous epoxy, specified to cove up the walls at least 6 inches. Our experts select this type of flooring in almost all of our projects. The resinous epoxy stands up to the daily wear and tear of the facility - and, as a bonus, there is very little maintenance involved. In animal holding areas (particularly for dogs), resinous epoxy flooring provides a strong protective layer to the floor that is easily cleanable and seamless.

  • Porcelain Tile: Another good flooring option in animal care buildings is porcelain tile with epoxy grout. One of the benefits of porcelain tile is that it is more aesthetically pleasing. Our clients often select this type of flooring in the public areas of the animal facility (think of the lobby).


Regardless of selecting the resinous epoxy or the porcelain tile, both finishes protect the floor from the harsh cleaning chemicals and animal urine that are daily realities in animal shelters and vet clinics.


Clients frequently ask about sealed concrete and rolled vinyl as flooring options for their buildings.

  • Sealed Concrete: DLI does not recommend using sealed concrete in animal care buildings for a couple of reasons. First, sealed concrete requires more maintenance than our recommended finishes. Second, urine can still get into any cracks in that type of flooring.

  • Rolled Vinyl: DLI does not recommend the use of rolled vinyl in animal care buildings either. With humidity in the facilities and the cleaning chemicals used, rolled vinyl flooring has a high likelihood of warping and allowing water below into the substrate and into the walls.


Walls weather the interior storm


Walls are almost as important as floors in animal facilities. Let’s think about the experience of the walls in an animal care facility

  • Dogs may try to pee on walls

  • Cats and dogs may scratch at walls; dogs can cause dents in walls

  • Caging and equipment can bang on the wall

  • Water and cleaning chemicals can get on walls


There is a lot of activity in an animal care facility, and the walls must be able to weather that interior storm.


  • Resinous Epoxy: The DLI building experts typically recommend using resinous epoxy on walls, particularly for dog holding areas. This allows the same material used on the floors to cover the wall with excellent seamless protection.

  • FRP: Another option the DLI animal care experts recommend is FRP, a durable fiberglass material. These panels would begin where the epoxy floor base ends.


The resinous epoxy and FRP allow holding rooms and high-traffic areas to remain durable and waterproof. For the remaining wall space that requires paint a room or space - we highly recommend epoxy paint above the resinous epoxy and FRP. The epoxy paint is far more durable than regular paint and can withstand water and scratching better.


Along with these recommendations of what to use for your wall finishes, the DLI team does not recommend using standard gypsum wallboard in any animal holding areas as the wall construction.

  • Cement Board or CMU: Cement board or CMU is our recommended wall construction for any building areas that may get wet. The epoxy resin applies and sticks much better to the cement board than to the gypsum wallboard (risk of peeling and mold when applying to gypsum wallboard).


Want to discuss flooring and wall finishes for your animal shelter or vet clinic?


Finishes can be one of the main determining factors in the durability, safety, and health within an animal care facility. There are a lot of products on the market, but very few can address all of the special needs of an animal shelter or vet clinic. Schedule a virtual consultation with the Design Learned team to discuss your project specifics.



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