Kid and Pet Friendly Flooring Ideas
A Range Of Flooring Types Will Work For High-Activity Areas
By Mara Soloway
Sure, empty nesters can have stylish concrete floors in their homes. It certainly makes having dogs easier. And area rugs can make a soft, friendly space for their visiting grandkids to play. But what can others do who want the combination of more comfort underneath their feet, flooring that is soft enough for children’s rough and tumble play, and the resisting of stains that happen when both children and pets live in the home?
Actually, most types of flooring will work for a high-activity home although carpets are best at softening slips and falls, according to Alex Amin, president of EZ Floors, which has eight locations across the Houston metro area.
“Many brands of carpets are good because their nylon and polyester fibers are made to be stain resistant and come with a lifetime warranty. Some of the good brands we offer are Mohawk and Shaw’s Tuftex,” he says. As Amin notes on the company’s website (ezfloorsonline. com), carpet has many favorable aspects about it in addition to stain and moisture resistance: it’s soft, warm and quiet; it gives excellent value for the price including helping with energy costs; and it traps allergens and dander (which can easily be removed by vacuuming).
“Another benefit of carpet related to children is that it reduces noise,” Amin says.
Stain resistant means that the carpet is treated to reduce the rate of soiling. Preventing stains is next to impossible with children and pets, so regular care and maintenance are necessary.
While carpet is still the lower end of flooring costs, Amin said that his company has hardwood flooring that comes close to carpet’s price. EZ Floors offers hardwoods from almost 20 brands with about 140 styles and types of wood. Amin feels hardwoods offer the best home resale value.
“One of our biggest sellers today is the hand-scraped hardwood, which doesn’t show stains as much as regular hardwoods and makes it easier to hide scratches from pets and children,” he says.
Most handscraped wood floors require minimal maintenance due to being finished with a coating of urethane.
According the the National Wood Flooring Association, wood floors improve indoor air quality because they don’t harbor allergens, microorganisms or harmful pesticides tracked in from outdoors. Dust, mold and animal dander contamination is minimal with wood floors.
If a parent and/or dog owner prefers tile, what’s the best option, ceramic or porcelain? According to houzz.com, porcelain and ceramic may belong to the same family, but they’re two slightly different products with common and different uses. Porcelain tiles are denser and absorb less water than ceramic tiles, generally making porcelain a good choice for bathrooms, parts of the kitchen and mudrooms. Its density also makes it good for high foot-traffic areas because it offers long-term resistance to scuffs and scratches.
One of the brands available at EZ Floors is Marazzi, which offers ceramic tile with an impervious finish close to that of porcelain, meeting the needs of many installations at a reasonable cost.
“The wood-look tile is popular right now. It’s very durable – it will be a one-time buy for homeowners and also has good resale value,” Amin says.
For those who prefer natural stone tiles, such as travertine and slate, Amin notes that they will need a little more maintenance but, like stone countertops, can increase property values. Many experts recommend that natural stone be treated with a sealant every three years.
As with any tile, consider the use of the space when choosing natural stone. White marble will obviously work better as flooring in a master bath than it would in a child’s bedroom. According to usenaturalstone.com, “Better family and pet-friendly natural stone choices include slate, granite, quartzite, and quartz-based sandstones.”
Having children and pets doesn’t mean sacrificing good design. With the right considerations, beauty and quality can work in tandem with function.