Kids, as we all know, tend to ignore the condition of floor coverings in favor of that more important activity: playing. This means that it's up to the homeowner to adapt the carpeting to the kid—and not the other way around.
That works from the standpoint of practicality, but comfort is seriously lacking. So for kid-friendly carpet, it is a delicate balancing act of durability vs. comfort.
Young children will subject your floors to various abuses: spilled food, abrasion, dyed liquids like fruit punch, blood, and soda. When choosing the best carpet for children, stain resistance, durability, and softness are the key characteristics a carpet should have.
Types of Carpet Fibers to Choose
Fiber type makes a big difference in the performance of the carpet. There are three popular types of fibers to choose from: PET (polyester), nylon, and triexta. All are 100-percent inorganic fibers.
Wool is a popular carpeting fiber, often in the form of Berber carpeting. But wool is not the best option for houses with kids because it is more difficult to clean than synthetic materials.
Budget-friendly, eco-friendly PET carpet is remarkable for its sustainability and inherent stain resistance.
PET is short for polyethylene terephthalate, a type of plastic. PET carpeting is made from PET chips, which can either be virgin or can be made from recycled plastic containers.
PET carpeting is very soft, plus it's environmentally friendly.
Nylon sets the standard for softness, beauty, and long-lasting durability. Nylon dates back to the 1930s and today it's the most popular type of fabric used for carpeting.
Nylon is very strong and durable. It resists abrasion and cleans easily, but only when previously treated. Nylon itself does not clean well, so most nylon carpets receive a stain treatment.
Nylon carpeting should be steam cleaned every 12 to 18 months. While every type of carpeting can benefit from steam cleaning, nylon carpeting, in particular, must be steam cleaned regularly due to the molecular structure of its composition.
Triexta is unique in that it combines both exceptional durability with permanent built-in stain and soil protection. Few other carpet fibers can make this claim.
Triexta carpeting rivals nylon carpeting in terms of strength and resistance to abrasion.
Triexta carpeting tends to be a bit less expensive than nylon carpeting.
Using Modular Carpeting for Kids' Rooms
Modular carpeting is a carpet format and size, not a fiber type. Modular carpet comes in squares that are installed individually.
Modular (tile-type) carpet provides the advantage of allowing you to switch out sections of carpeting as needed. Stains that cannot be cleaned can be thrown out. With a box or two of carpet squares stored in a closet, you can call in a carpet installer or handyman for a quick replacement. If the repair is small enough, you can even do it by yourself.
While modular carpet may be a fit for some homeowners, it is not a common choice made by residential consumers. Commercial modular carpet tiles are commonly used for commercial applications with heavy traffic such as offices, waiting rooms, indoor public areas, and more.
Still, for rooms that are dedicated to kids' use such as bedrooms, nurseries, or playrooms, you may decide to install modular carpeting while the child is small. After the child has matured, you can switch to a more conventional type of carpet or hard flooring.
Treating the Carpeting for Protection
If you've ever had your furniture or carpet cleaned, you've had the expensive option of Scotchgard added as a layer of protection. While you may decline the Scotchgard option for furniture, you may want to consider it for carpeting.
Factory-applied Scotchgard is not the same as the Scotchgard sprayed on your couch, post-cleaning, or added to the initial cleaning fluid.
Scotchgard that is applied in the manufacturing facility surrounds each individual fiber to protect the entire carpet, from fiber tips clear through to the carpet backing, for total stain and soil protection. This stain and soil resistance will never wash off, walk off, or wear off. This soft, durable, and sustainable fiber is an ideal choice for homes with children.