The type of flooring that you choose for a child’s bedroom is going to have an effect on the entire environment. This means that you have to focus on a variety of characteristics when weighing your options.
The quality of the floor, as well as its look, feel, and texture will all affect how the child is able to interact with the room. You also have to be concerned about the possibility of certain floors causing an odor, or harming the air quality of the space with various emissions.
Carpet is the traditional choice for flooring in a bedroom, and it is especially common in children’s rooms. This is due largely to the fact that it is quite plush, and soft, which allows it to act as a cushion resting beneath the entire environment. This surface provides a tactile comfort to the space, while also helping to prevent injuries by padding trips and falls. Thicker carpet can also be purchased to increase this effect.
Another benefit of carpeting in a kid's room is the fact that it can act as an insulating buffer across the entire floor. This will help to cut down on some of the ambient noise that can be generated by children playing, stomping, and jumping across the room. Having that insulating layer of carpet is especially important when the child’s room is located on the upper levels of the home.
However, there are also some disadvantages. Kids are messy, and the carpet is notoriously difficult to keep clean. It stains easily and retains dirt, which means that lighter, solid colors are a bad idea in these spaces. At the same time, the fibers in carpet tend to attract and retain dirt and dust, which can contribute negatively to the air quality of the area. If spills happen and aren’t dealt with quickly you can also end up with mold issues.
Cork is a fairly unique choice for a children’s room, that can provide many of the qualities of carpet, without most of the drawbacks. When installed, cork is naturally soft and yielding beneath your feet, and it can be made even softer by purchasing thicker tile materials. This is despite the fact that it looks quite a bit like more solid hardwood.
However unlike carpet, cork floors are anti-microbial, and the material will naturally repel the growth of mold and other microorganisms. It is also anti-static and will repel dirt and dust, making a room cleaner and healthier naturally. When installed and sealed properly it can be made nearly impervious to stains, and maintenance is usually just sweeping or vacuuming periodically.
There are also a few drawbacks. Cork is very soft, which means that it can be damaged relatively easily. If you have pets, especially large dogs, their untrimmed nails can scratch and destroy the surface of a cork floor. The pointed edge of hard plastic children's toys can also cause rips, tears, and gouges in the material. This can be offset to some extent by using cork tiles, which can be spot replaced as needed.
Rubber is the flooring that is commonly used in playgrounds because it is a very soft, yielding, cushiony material that is able to pad impacts and falls from even moderate distances.
Rubber floors are also very durable, and can withstand damage from rips, tears, scratches, and gouges much better than it’s soft surface counterparts. This is combined with the fact that it is low maintenance, easy to clean, and hard to stain, making it very popular in children’s rooms.
The one big drawback that almost all children’s room flooring has is the adhesive which is used to secure it to the subfloor. This will often give off a small number of toxic emissions, which can impair the quality of the air. With rubber, you don’t have to use adhesive in most cases. Rather, the natural traction of the material (which also prevents kids from slipping) holds it in place combined with the dense weight of its mass.
However, this is one of the more expensive flooring material choices you can make when compared to vinyl and other resilient covering options. Rubber can also have a very noticeable odor. This isn’t harmful, as the material is natural, but it can be somewhat irritating to some children, so you may want to test their reaction to a rubber flooring installation before actually making a decision.
Vinyl is inexpensive, low maintenance, resistant to stains, resistant to water, and is very hard to damage through ripping or tearing. In many ways, it is the ideal material to stand up to the rigors that children can inflict upon a bedroom floor.
The drawback to vinyl is that it is not natural and it is fairly bad for the environment. Its manufacture creates toxins that are either stored or released into the atmosphere, while at the same time burning fuel and using nonrenewable resources. Some low-quality vinyl floors will also have emissions of volatile organic chemicals for days or weeks after installation, which can lower the interior air quality of the child’s bedroom.