Kids vs. Floor
Anyone who has kids (or is often around kids) knows how rough they are on your home. They draw on the walls, they crash into things, they climb on furniture….but one part that suffers the most abuse is your floors. Crawling, running, stomping, spills, toys – they all create havoc on your beautiful floors. So what do you do when you need new floors but have to worry about the pitter-patter of little feet damaging them? Fear not – there are options!
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One of the biggest advantages that hardwood flooring has over carpeting is that it’s much easier to clean. Hardwood can also withstand years of abuse from young children and simply requires sanding to repair any marks or scratches. Hardwood doesn’t collect animal dander, mold, pollen, or dust like carpet does, so it’s good for children who suffer from allergies. 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. Immediately wipe up any spills so your hardwood doesn’t warp or stain. For a more waterproof option, look into engineered hardwood flooring, which has been enhanced to make it impervious to liquids.
While technically a grass and not a wood, bamboo is often grouped with other species as hardwood flooring. 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 plank flooring is the strongest variety, while caramelized bamboo is weaker.
Laminate floors are a good wood like flooring option that works well for people with young children who don’t have the budget for real hardwood. Along with being less expensive than hardwood, it is also less maintenance- laminate also doesn’t require waxing or polishing to keep it looking nice. A vacuum cleaner, broom, and damp mop will do the trick. It’s also 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 maintenance, lower-cost, 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. If you prefer the warm tones of wood flooring, there are options for vinyl floors that look like wood. 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.