So you're thinking about getting new floors. With so many options, how do you decide what's best for your family?
We've rounded up some of the best flooring types for families with children and pets, along with what to keep in mind if you're considering any of them for your home.
Important Flooring Factors to Consider:
“What is most important is to look for waterborne finishes (rather than oil-based or acid cured). Thirty years ago, waterborne finishes couldn’t stand up to the durability of oil-based finishes but that’s no longer the case. Technology and innovation have made waterborne finishes the best in the industry for not only durability and beauty but also safety.”
Heather Lindemann | Bona
The best flooring for your family has to be functional for your lifestyle. Here are our top five options.
Best for: Toddlers, families with allergies.
Not Recommended for: Rooms with heavy furniture or lots of sunlight.
While it may seem strange to use as a surface in your home, cork floors are growing in popularity due to their eco-friendly source. Cork is also naturally antimicrobial, so it reduces mold growth and other allergens. For families with young children, this can make a huge impact on your health, especially if used in a playroom.
Cork flooring is ideal for young children, as it’s a softer surface for toddlers learning to walk. But the pliability of cork also makes it prone to permanent dents from bulky furniture or heavy items.
Pro Tip: If exposed to prolonged sunlight, cork will lose its color. For a room with a lot of natural light, avoid dark shades so discoloration isn’t as noticeable.
Best for: Families with young children.
Not Recommended for: Play areas for active pets.
Laminates copy the look of hardwood floors – without the expensive price tag. Laminate floors are a great option for families with children since they are relatively easy to clean and are water resistant for spills. If you have a few furry family members running around, laminate floors are difficult to scratch and if they do – you usually can’t tell.
Pro Tip: While laminate floors are great at handling messes, they can be quite slippery. To make laminate flooring more pet-friendly, look for textured options.
Best for: Families with older children and pets.
Not Recommended for: Homes with crawling toddlers; people who want a dark floor, as scratches will be evident.
Hardwoods are an ideal floor for families as they can be refinished multiple times. While they can be scratched and aren’t as water-resistant as laminate, if you sand and re-stain them, they look as good as new.
“The time frame for refinishing floors depends on how much traffic and wear the floor might experience. A home with high foot traffic, pets and kids might need attention more often than a home with lighter wear. Everything from shoes to furniture to pets will create wear on the surface of the floor. If it’s time for a refinish the good news is that there are a wide range of colors, products and textures available.”
Heather Lindemann | Bona
Pro Tip: Lighter floors don’t show scratches as much as dark or gray colors, making them a more pet-friendly option. And a water-resistant sealant will keep them looking like new even if your little ones have a spill or two.
Best for: Playrooms and bedrooms.
Not Recommended for: Young pets that are still in house-training or spill-prone areas.
Carpet is a soft and comfortable flooring for kids and pets. For an area like a playroom or family room, consider installing carpet tiles instead of the traditional large rolls. This way, if an area becomes stained or damaged, you can simply replace the tile instead of the entire floor.
Carpet isn’t anti-microbial or as easy to clean as some of our other options, but it’s comfy for crawling toddlers and dogs who enjoy sprinting around the house.
Pro Tip: Avoid long carpet fibers if you have pets or children with allergies, as these are more difficult to clean. Carpets that feature loops can also get snagged on dog and cat nails, so if you have an active pet, search for an option without loops.
Best for: High-traffic areas and families with pets.
Not Recommended for: Basements or rooms with high humidity – bamboo absorbs water.
Bamboo is one of the most highly recommended flooring options for homes with cats and dogs. It’s naturally durable and resists scratches that are common when you have a few furry family members running around. If your home is high traffic, this could be an ideal solution.
Pro Tip: Similar to hardwood floors, darker stains and finishes are more likely to show scratches or water damage. Choose a natural looking finish to keep potential damages less noticeable.
It all depends on the style of your home and the activity level of your family. If your children are older but you have young pets, bamboo may be the way to go. However, if you spend a lot time playing in the living room, a short and durable carpet can be the best option.
Already know the material you want to use? Here’s how to plan for your (minor) remodel, including tips for what to do with your pets.