Kids, being unusual creatures, require things that are different from what us humans have--oddities as pacifiers, sippy cups, baby gates and outlet covers. In some cases, it makes sense to floor their rooms different from the rest of the house.
Yes, Room-Specific Flooring Is OK
Should your home be remodeled for the comfort and safety of your child? Yes, I think it can be. Houses are not static creations; they are flexible, adapting to the needs of the occupants.
Kids' floors can be different from what you have in the rest of the house. Just as bathroom floors are hardscaped with waterproof materials, so too can children's rooms be floored with different needs in mind.
Ages and Criteria
We are concerned with children from the crawling stage (at about 6 to 9 months) to the end of their floor-dwelling years (8 to 10 years). Criteria are:
- Comfort (Warmth and Softness) Often, it's the parents' comfort, more than the kids' comfort. Parents who play with their children on the floor aren't great fans of hard, cold stone floors. Yet kids tend to be impervious to floor discomforts.
- Cleanability: Kids mean messes. Betting on children not to make a mess on your expensive flooring is a sucker's bet.
- Durability: Scratches, gouges, dents--the same concerns as if you had a dog.
- Sound: Sound transmits between floors. If an important room is located below the child's room, soundproofing matters a great deal, and you will want to lean towards soft flooring such as carpet.
Cork flooring straddles both worlds: soft/comfortable yet easy to clean. Stains will eventually settle into cork, but if you get to them quickly enough, you'll never know they were there.
Cork is no longer a novelty or a gimmick floor; it has very real, substantial properties that homeowners appreciate enough to fork over between $2.50 and $4.00 (Lumber Liquidators) per square foot.
And no, your child's room will not look like a gigantic wine bottle cork. Cork flooring today comes in an array of finishes, from wood-look and solid colors to stone-look and (yes) cork-look.
Wall To Wall Carpet
High on the comfort level, low on cleanability, wall to wall carpeting has long been the classic choice for homes with children. If you're the type of loves to play on the floor with children, you may just want to throw all caution to the wind and install good, padded wall to wall carpeting. Your knees will thank for for it.
Look for nylon, polyester, and polypropylene carpeting for greater durability and color-fastness. Avoid wool or uncut pile carpets, which can snag.
Wood or Laminate Flooring With Area Rug
Any hard flooring can be paired up with an area rug to create the perfect combination. Provided you are not using a fine Oriental or Persian rug for your child's room, you can spot-clean it when it gets stained and then switch it out for another one with little guilt or outlay of money.
Radiant Heating Topped With Hard Flooring
Think backwards: start by thinking of a radiant heating system. Then, sorting out the list of floor coverings that are acceptable for radiant heat, choose the one you like best.
The best pairings are engineered wood flooring, laminate flooring, vinyl, and some solid wood floors. In terms of comfort, these pairs have got the comfort-and-warmth factor down cold.
Laminate's foam underlayment ensures a certain softness or bounce that other hard floors don't have. As a test, try dropping a glass on ceramic tile vs. laminate. Laminate will often absorb the shock; ceramic will always cause breakage.
This underlayment, combined with laminate's particleboard base, make for a relatively warm floor.