by: Dave Montagliani

Choosing the right flooring should be a family affair, especially if you're designing with kids in mind.  After all, the floor is where your little ones tend to play, do their homework, and fall asleep while watching movies. Luckily, just because you're aiming for kid-friendly, it doesn't mean you have to compromise looks, style or affordability in your hunt for the perfect flooring. There are plenty of good looking, durable flooring choices that are ideal for families. Here's what you need to know before choosing the perfect family-friendly flooring.


 

Kid-Friendly Flooring is:

  • Comfortable - First things first: comfort. Your little ones have no shame in curling up with a book or an iPad on the bare floor, so you want to make sure they have a place to play and relax that's not too cold, hard, or unforgiving. This rules out ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone floors, at least in bedrooms and living areas.

  • Stain-Resistant - Kids are messy. It's a fact. All floors in kid-friendly households are bound to get dirty and worn out over time and some floors are better at handling beatings than others. Avoid any single-piece flooring - i.e., broadloom carpet or sheet vinyl - or anything that's hard to keep clean.

  • Easier to Clean - If you've got kids, there's a very small chance that you have oodles of free time to sweep, mop, and polish. Thus, you need to look for a floor that's fairly easy-care and doesn't require a ton of deep cleaning.

  • Durable - From toddlers to tweens, the destruction factor doesn't start to slow down until the teenage years. Accidents are inevitable, so you need a floor that can handle dropped juice, crashed tricycles, paint spills, and all sorts of finish-compromising spills, scratches, and dents.

Kid-Friendly Floors to Consider:

You might be asking yourself: are there attractive flooring options out there that meet the above criteria? Indeed, there are! The following flooring types are all kid-friendly, no matter how many children and pets you've got.

  1. Luxury Vinyl - An excellent and economical alternative to hardwood, luxury vinyl floors bring an authentic wood look with additional water-resistance and surface durability. Your luxury vinyl planks or tiles can stay in excellent shape when placed at the center of a bustling home, as they're two of the most spill-, stain-, and dent-resistant flooring types out there. Vinyl is also generally easy to clean and can be beautifully spiffed up as part of your weekly cleaning routine or whenever accidents happen. Vinyl floors come in an endless array of styles, colors, and patterns for any home.

  2. Cork - Supremely comfortable but often overlooked, cork flooring is exceptionally soft, and durable. The fact that it offers natural antimicrobial properties and is a supreme sound-dampener makes this type of floor an excellent choice for the kids' bedrooms or playroom. Cork has millions of air cells per inch, meaning a good chunk of its makeup is air. As a result, the material is often used to insulate and dampen noise in recording studios, libraries, theater rooms, and anywhere the kids are free to use their outside voices. it also contains a naturally occuring substance called suberin, which acts as an insect repellant and helps make cork naturally fire resistant. Finally, cork floors are hypoallergenic, so they're great for the snifflers in the family.

  3. Carpet Tiles - It may be harder to clean, but carpet shouldn't be discounted. Since kids tend to lounge sleep, and play on the floor, carpet makes a great option for the living room, bedroom, or playroom. However wall-to-wall broadloom carpeting probably isn't the best pick for your family, especially if messes are regular occurrences. Instead, try carpet tiles. Commonly used in finished basements and playrooms, carpet tiles bring the comfort of carpeting with the versatility of tiles, so you can easily replace small sections in the event of an accident.

  4. Hardwood + Area Rugs - If you think hardwood is too fragile for kids, consider that it's one of the most long-lasting, forgiving types of flooring. Site finished hardwood can be sanded and refinished, so deep scratches and stains don't have to mean permanent damage. Look for light-colored hardwoods with a stronger grain to better hide scratches and dents and opt for high-grade polyurethane finishes for extra protection. In high-traffic areas or areas where the floor is used for playtime, cover and protect the space with area rugs. Site finished hardwood will require more maintenance than many other choices. Engineered Hardwood floors will be less susceptible to scratches, stains and moisture issues. Typically, Engineered Hardwood flooring requires substantially less maintenance then Site Finished Hardwood.

  5. Foam Tiles - If you're looking for cheap kid-friendly flooring for a small playroom, you might want to consider foam tiles. These ultra-comfortable, easy-to-install, tiles offer an exceptionally cushy and soft feel that makes them perfect for long play sessions. Plus, they're typically designed to click together for fast installation and can be easily cut to any size or shape. Foam tiles are great for adults who simply want a comfortbale, kid-friendly, floor-topper in the interim. Kids grow up, so a temporary flooring solution such as this is often a wise choice.

Is a New Floor Necessary?

We all want to make our homes as safe and explorable as possible for our little ones and, usually, that doesn't require big changes. By and large, most floors can be kid-friendly if they're properly cared for, protected, and maintained. Even particularly fragile flooring types can become kid-friendly with the right accessories and cleaning products. Make sure to always use soft furniture leg protectors and glides to prevent scratching, and to place dirt-collecting mats at each entryway to prevent the floors from becoming exposed to particles that could damage the finish.

 


 

 

 

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