Whether you live with babies just learning to crawl, toddlers throwing their toys, or young kids running in muddy shoes, your floors will need to put up with a lot of punishment. If these scenes are all too familiar, or if you foresee them in the future, you may want to look into the best types of flooring for kids. You’ll want floors that not only are safe for your kids but also can stand up to their spills and boisterous play. If you’re looking for the best flooring solutions for a home with kids, keep reading for more information about the best options.
Carpet is a great option if you’re looking for flooring that’s soft under the feet. Carpet is also a natural insulator, so it helps absorb sound, can prevent slips, and provides some extra cushioning for any accidental falls. These are all important considerations to keep in mind if you have kids running about.
Carpets come in a variety of styles and colors that can match any room. Dark carpets can make your room feel warmer, while lighter carpets can make your room feel more open. Just remember that lighter carpets also show stains and dirt more easily than darker carpets do. If orange juice stains or even crayon marks are a concern, consider a darker color. If you want to preserve your carpet, it’s best not to provide a large blank canvas for your child’s early attempts at painting.
When you’re looking for carpet types, you have three main choices: cut pile, loop pile, and cut-and-loop pile. With cut pile carpets, the loop tips are cut evenly across the top, creating a soft surface for your child’s toes. Since these carpets are so plush, they tend to show vacuum marks and footprints.
With loop pile carpeting, the tips loop back and attach to the backing. Since there are no tips exposed, they wear better than other carpeting types. Although they aren’t as soft as cut pile carpets, they’re very durable, so they’re ideal for high-traffic areas or areas where kids are playing all day.
Cut-and-loop pile carpets combine features of both cut pile and loop pile carpets. This variation in texture creates a surface pattern that helps hide dirt and wear, making cut-and-loop pile carpet a good option for hallways or entryways where your kids could drag in dirt and debris. A difference in pile height also creates visual appeal and interesting patterns. While cut-and-loop pile carpet doesn’t hold up quite as well as loop pile carpet, it is softer.
Carpet harbors dust and allergens that are easier to sweep up on a hard surface. Carpet can also contain higher levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These can lead to detrimental health effects, especially for children who have asthma or allergies or who are more sensitive to airborne allergens. In these cases, it’s a good idea to look for carpeting that has lower VOC emissions. You need to vacuum your carpet at least once a week (or more depending on the activities your children enjoy) to clean up the dust and dirt, and you should give it a deep cleaning every 12–18 months.
One of the biggest advantages that hardwood has over carpeting is that it’s easier to clean. Hardwood can also withstand years of abuse from young children and simply requires sanding to repair any marks or scratches. Additionally, hardwood doesn’t collect animal dander, mold, pollen, or dust like carpet does, so it’s good for children who suffer from allergies. When you’re looking for the ideal type of wood for your home, there are many to consider.
Oak is one of the most popular choices for hardwood flooring, and the most common varieties are red oak and white oak. While both are hard and durable, red oak has a stronger grain, so it hides dents and scratches better than white oak does.
Australian cypress is even harder than oak. It has a wavy grain and tends to have knots. While the wood can sometimes chip or split around these knots, the lively grain can help hide nicks and scratches your child might accidentally make. Another wood harder than oak is Brazilian cherry. This wood also withstands moisture very well, so it’s good in kitchens where sippy cups might tip over.
When you’re picking out hardwood flooring, keep in mind that lighter colors can help hide dents and scratches better than darker colors. You can also pick out distressed flooring that has stylized or natural lines and imperfections that can help hide any dents or scratches your children might make. Finally, immediately wipe up any spills so your hardwood doesn’t warp or stain.
One type of flooring that’s kid-friendly, and growing in popularity, is bamboo. While technically a grass and not a wood, bamboo is often grouped with other species as hardwood flooring. One reason for this is that bamboo is one of the most durable and hardest floor choices available. It’s also stain-resistant, so it’s a good choice in areas where children might have accidental spills.
Plus, since it grows so quickly and is easy to re-establish, it’s a very environmentally friendly product. Like other flooring options, there are differences in the types of bamboo floors available. Strand-woven bamboo is the strongest variety, while caramelized bamboo is weaker.
For those who like the look of hardwood but don’t have the budget for it, laminate floors are a good option. Laminate floors are compressed pieces of veneer that have the image of a wood species pressed on top. Along with being less expensive than hardwood, laminate also doesn’t require waxing or polishing to keep it looking nice. A vacuum cleaner, broom, and damp mop are all you need to keep laminate floors clean.
Just like with hardwood floors, laminate flooring is good for children who may suffer from allergies, because dirt, dust, pollen, dander, and animal hair can’t penetrate the tight seal. Plus, if there are any accidental spills on laminate, you simply have to wipe it up right away to keep your floor looking its best. Keep in mind that laminate is very slippery when it gets wet, so you might want to think twice about installing it in rooms like the kitchen, where water can get on the floor and cause accidental falls.
Like carpet, cork is naturally soft beneath your feet even though it has the look of hardwood. One of the main advantages that cork has over carpet is that it’s antimicrobial. It also naturally repels mold growth. When cork is sealed properly, it’s nearly impossible to stain. Cork is antistatic, so dirt and dust won’t stick to it like they do carpet. This makes cork very easy to clean and helps kids who suffer from allergies enjoy a cleaner room. To keep cork clean, you simply need to vacuum or sweep periodically.
While cork flooring has the look of hardwood, it’s very soft, so it’s easy to damage or scratch. The hard edges of toys can cause gouges, tears, and rips in the material. However, if you use cork tiles for your flooring, you can simply replace individual pieces as they become damaged.
Vinyl is a popular flooring material for homes with kids because it’s unaffected by water, resistant to stains, easy to take care of, inexpensive, and very durable. It’s very difficult to rip, tear, or damage vinyl flooring. In most cases, vinyl flooring can stand up to daily life with children. However, vinyl is not a natural product, and creating it is hard on the environment. The manufacturing process releases toxins into the atmosphere, and some low-quality floors have VOCs trapped in them that seep out for days or weeks after installation.
Step into nearly any daycare and chances are good you’ll see rubber flooring. Rubber is very strong and can stand up to a variety of conditions. When properly cared for, rubber flooring can last 20 years or longer. It’s also very easy to take care of and clean. Typically, you just need warm, clean water and a mop to keep a rubber floor clean. Synthetic rubber flooring is usually more stain-resistant than natural rubber flooring. Plus, thick tiles can reduce noise by up to 18 decibels, and they provide extra cushioning for accidental falls.
Rubber can have a noticeable odor. Since rubber is a natural material, the odor isn’t harmful. However, some children find it irritating. If you’re considering rubber for a bedroom or playroom, you may want to test how your children react to the odor before you make your purchase.
Kids’ Floor Mats
If you have carpet or hardwood already installed and you’re considering a temporary floor covering to help protect them while your children are young, consider carpet or rubber floor tiles. This idea is one of the best flooring solutions for kids because it provides a soft place for children to play while protecting the floor underneath. Floor mats for kids’ rooms are also easy to clean, and if one happens to get damaged, you can simply swap it out for a new one.
Want to know more about the best flooring for your kids? Post your questions and comments below!