The flooring in your child’s room has to be versatile: safe, easy to clean, and hopefully durable enough to withstand all the jumping, scraping, and playing that is bound to happen. Luckily, there’s a wealth of choice available—all you need to do is pick the one best suited to you and your child’s needs. Some of the pros and cons to consider:
Crawling toddlers and active kids will appreciate the soft surface. Easy on knees and elbows, carpet also helps cushion falls. Children with allergies may want to stay away as carpet can breed mold and mildew if, for example, a drink is spilled and left there for too long (as is prone to happen in kids’ rooms). While carpets are vulnerable to stains, certain types are available that are stain-resistant.
Hardwood can be made to be scratch-resistant and more durable with protective coatings, or by choosing particularly hard species on the Janka scale. However, the downside is that it can also be less comfortable to play and take tumbles on. Thicker boards allow for several refinishings, which can minimize marks of wear and tear. However, boards may swell if exposed to excessive moisture. Solid hardwood flooring requires more environmentally-controlled conditions for these reasons. However, engineered hardwood floors can compensate in areas where higher moisture levels are more common.
Eco-friendly and high-replenishing bamboo offers a trendy floor that is easily refinished if scratched or marked. Unfortunately, the softer, carbonized bamboo floors are more susceptible to scratches. The harder ‘blonde’ or ‘natural’ bamboo may be your best bet. Natural anti-bacterial qualities make it a good choice for kids sensitive to irritants.
Spills won’t leave a trace and are easy to clean up. The slippery surface can be a concern for small ones learning to walk or kids running in socks, although zoning a kids room with brightly colored area-rugs can help to minimize slippage. Individual boards can be replaced, with laminate offering the look of wood but requiring less surface maintenance.
A good option for kids with allergies or sensitive to irritants, cork is hypoallergenic and resistant to bacterial growth. This antistatic surface is a plus for playtime, while the softness is a good shock-absorber for clumsy toddlers. Heat-retaining floors make it comfortable for kids to sit and play on. Unfortunately, the softness also means the floor can be more easily gouged or scratched than a choice like hardwood might be. However, Cork absorbs noise more than a laminate or hardwood floor, keeping parents happy as well.
As with any flooring decision, there are trade-offs that need to be made. Harder floors are typically easier to clean, but are not as comfortable for playing or falling on. Soft floors are comfortable, but are also more easily dented or scratched up. Ultimately, your flooring choice will be decided by the needs of your child, such as their age, allergies, and level of activity.
Alexandra Wong is a writer for BuildDirect, leading online supplier of wood flooring and other quality building materials.