Children bring sparkle into our lives with their expansive imaginations and their zest for discovery. But sometimes, this translates into mud-caked floors, spilled juice, and intricate block-built roads snaking across your beautiful flooring.
That isn’t a bad thing. It’s just that you’ll want a floor that can handle what your kids throw at it. Get the right floors, and you won’t have to be on edge when your kids are steering their cars or spilling food. You can let them be themselves.
What floors live with kids and come out day after day looking great? We compiled a list of flooring materials detailing the pros and cons of some of the top flooring for children.
1. Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Our number-one choice for kid-friendly flooring is luxury vinyl. Waterproof, luxury vinyl is a good selection for bathrooms and kitchens where there is a lot of spilling and splashing. Luxury vinyl comes with a scratch-resistant coating over the wear layer so your kids’ toys won’t ruin your floor. It does not require waxing and polishing.
Luxury vinyl is also stain-resistant. It won’t become discolored or stained by spills or mud. One caveat: Do avoid rubber mats on your luxury vinyl. The chemicals in the mat can cause yellow stains on your floor.
The beautiful thing about luxury vinyl is that it debunks the myth that practicality is not artistic. Luxury vinyl comes in about every woodgrain, stone, and tile style that you can imagine. It’s hard to tell luxury vinyl apart from the materials it’s mimicking.
Luxury vinyl’s multi-layered structure makes it softer to walk on and reduces noise (which you might need if you’ve got high-decibel kids.) Those layers also provide insulation that helps to regulate the floor temperature. Luxury vinyl is much warmer and comfier for kids to play on than sheet vinyl, hardwood, stone, tile, and even some laminates.
And finally, luxury vinyl lasts long. At Eloquin, many of our residential luxury vinyl options come with a lifetime warranty.
- Waterproof properties
- Scratch and stain resistance
- Available in a wide range of wood and tile looks
- Noise dampening
- Higher price point than sheet vinyl
- Not as soft as carpet
2. Tile Flooring
Tile is a durable, water-resistant flooring product. That’s why you see it in a lot of bathrooms. It’s also scratch-resistant and fairly easy to clean, except for the grout which can be a downer. Tile can last for a long time with proper installation and grout maintenance. In addition, a tile floor will not collect allergens.
Tile is very hard and thus painful for children who are just learning to walk and may fall often. Tile will be uncomfortable for children who use the floor as their playground. Depending on what gets dropped on a tile floor, the tile can break. A heating system under your floor is expensive, but without it, a tile floor will be very cold in the wintertime.
- A non-VOC flooring option
- Long-lasting and durable with proper installation and maintenance
- Pricey upfront cost for product and installation
- Hard underfoot
- Cold without any underfloor heating
- Grout issues
3. Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Many folks have long valued the richness and elegance of hardwood flooring. Many hardwood floors can last for decades when properly cared for. But can a hardwood floor survive in a house with kids?
Enter engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood is less prone to moisture damage. Spills and other water catastrophes (if allowed to sit) can still wreak havoc on an engineered wooden floor, but to a much lesser degree.
If your heart is set on an engineered hardwood look, but you’re not sure if it fits your family’s stage, choose a lighter color with more texture and grain. This will hide scratches and other flaws much more quickly than a dark small-grained floor. Johnson Hardwood’s Tuscan-Hickory and Somerset’s Specialty-Maple are two hardwoods that won’t easily show scratches and dirt.
Since the top layer of engineered hardwood flooring is hardwood, kids’ toys can scratch the surface. Like hardwood, engineered hardwood can be sanded down and refinished to hide the scratches. However, because the wood is a veneer layer, you only have a limited number of sandings before you reach the core layers.
While not as hard as tile, engineered hardwood floors can be less comfortable to play on than a floor with luxury vinyl or carpet.
If one of your goals is to be an environmentally conscious parent, engineered hardwood can help you tick that box. Less hardwood per plank, less toxic glue, and little to no sawdust make engineered floors eco-friendly. Forbes recommends always checking the environmental certifications of the manufacturer since companies vary in their level of sustainability.
- A gorgeous, timeless aesthetic
- Good for allergy sufferers
- Lower price point than hardwood
- Environmentally friendly
- More stable than hardwood
- Susceptible to water damage
- Limited refinishing
- Prone to scratches and dents
Carpets and kids? No way, you might say. But don’t ignore the kid-friendly benefits. While other “hard” floorings might be easier to clean, carpet brings a lot of coziness and comfort to a room. Kids spend a lot of time on the floor; carpet is a softer playground than hardwood. For kids who are learning to walk, carpet eases their tumbles and spares their tiny knees and elbows.
Since carpets stain more easily than most types of flooring, carpet isn’t suitable for every room in your house. Kitchens, hallways, and bathrooms don’t jibe well with carpet. Depending on the carpet, high-traffic areas will quickly show wear. Install luxury vinyl, hardwood, or tile in the other areas of your home and save the carpet for your kid’s playroom or bedrooms. Make it a house rule that no food or drinks are allowed in carpeted areas.
If your kids suffer from allergies, carpet isn’t a good choice for you since carpets tend to gather allergens.
The Spruce advises against natural carpet fibers for households with children since these materials veer away from stain resistance and durability. Instead, they suggest these 3 carpets: nylon, polyester/PET, and Triexta. “Each type of fiber has its strong points and choosing the right one will depend on whether durability, comfort, or environmental issues are most important to you.”
- Cozy and comfy for feet
- Softer surface protects falls
- Economical up-front price
- Easy installation and removal
- Harder to keep clean when there are stains
- Wears out from foot traffic
- Traps allergens and dirt, less hygienic
Floors for the Whole Family
Find the floors that fit your family’s stage right here at Eloquin. Stop by our flooring store in Loudonville, OH, and we’ll set you up with one of our recommended flooring contractors.
About this Article: Steve Leid, owner of Eloquin, has years of experience in high-end construction and premium flooring. Steve provided inspiration for this article and collaborated with a copywriter to produce it.
Contact Steve at (419) 920-6210 with any questions about this article or your personal flooring needs.