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What Flooring Type And Finish To Choose For Kids Room
Young children put your home on a test, indeed! All the action and activity means that you have to think functionality before the appearance when planning your home improvement projects, when buying furniture pieces, when renovating or building your home. If you are a family with a young one, you have to make sure that every feature of your house can stand up to constant use and abuse and look and feel good while doing it! Of course, when speaking of home improvement, furnishing and moving into a new home or changing your old one to be more children-friendly, we have to pay a lot of attention and interest to the question of what type of flooring is the best choice for houses with very young residents and how to choose a flooring that will survive the test and the little Apocalypse your young baby, child or even children will surely put it on!
As you probably already know, nothing compares to the unique, elegant and classic style of the good old wood flooring. It's highly durable, hard-wearing and long-lasting, prone to fewer issues and problems that other types of hard and soft flooring struggle with commonly. As a natural product, it is also easy to maintain in good condition and appearance, it can be easily repaired, it brings warmth and cosiness to your place, it does not require too much care and attention, it comes in great variety of styles, colors, textures and wood species that can meet and answer to anyone’s needs, requirements and desires and more! The list of benefits a wooden floor will surely bring to your home goes on and on and we find a wood floor to be among the best choices for a nursery room and children’s bedroom too. Although many parents believe that wood is definitely not worth investing into for a children’s bedroom, they are totally wrong and there are many reasons to prove the opposite, today we are sharing them all!
Reasons to choose wood flooring for your children’s nursery or bedroom
In general, young children love the easy play surface. Of course, you as a parent and adult will consider the fact that children and especially toddlers are often at risk of falling and a softer ground would be a better choice. However, if you are not a fan of wall-to-wall carpet and you do not want to wrap the whole house with bubble wrap, you are probably a fan of the finer and more stylish look. We have some good news for you because you can choose wood flooring even with toddlers that are currently learning to walk and get the stylish look you want plus the functionality and prevention from heavy falling by placing a few fluffy rugs here and there and mainly in high traffic areas and in your child’s room. Furthermore, your child will be thankful, because as we have already mentioned it, kids love their space for playing, they want to have enough decluttered and wide space for moving around with push-toys, ride-on vehicles, car toys races and what not. Here are more reasons why wood flooring installed in children’s bedroom or in a house with young members of the family is a very good idea:
- Wood flooring is associated with good taste and it is, in fact, very stylish and appealing choice. While your young child probably won’t appreciate this aspect, we are sure that you will! If you are a fan of the elegant and classic wooden look you will be happy to know that there is no need to separate your kid’s bedroom from the entire interior design of your home with another type of flooring, because wood works perfectly there too. Of course, it is amazing that you will have such a great variety and so much choice. No matter how you decide to decorate and style your child’s room, a wooden floor will always work as the perfect backdrop.
- In case your child’s bedroom is on the smaller side (and considering the fact that this is probably the most decluttered room in the house with all those toys and little knick-knacks around), if you choose a lighter shade, it will make the room appear visually more spacious, airy and roomy.
- They are really easy to clean and do not require too much of an elbow grease. Daily vacuuming and occasional mopping with a damp mop will do the trick even in the messiest rooms. We are sure that parents will passionately support the statement that everything that requires less maintenance and cleaning is well-welcomed in the house!
- In addition to the above mentioned, they are naturally more hygienic and children-friendly. Because of the fact that wood is entirely a natural product, it does not contains any hazardous and toxic ingredients that are dangerous for little one’s health. Furthermore, wood does not attract and hold that much dust, dirt and grime like carpets, for example, and it does not provoke allergies and other respiratory or skin conditions.
- Since wood flooring will be used as a workspace for playdoh and drawing artists as well as an eating spot for indoors picnic enthusiasts, it is good to know that spills are easy to wipe off the wooden surface. Simply make sure to work fast and wipe off the spill once you notice it, otherwise, there is a risk of permanent stains. You can even clean and get rid of more stubborn stains like permanent markers, nail varnish spills and more!
- Hardwood floors are also surprisingly strong and hard-wearing, considering the intense and aggressive environment they need to live with in a children’s bedroom or installed in a house with young fellows. In fact, if you maintain your hardwood floor properly, even with all the usage and high traffic it is supposed to last up to a century and that means that hardwood flooring is a really smart investment you won’t need to replace every few years.
- Wood floors are easy to repair and improve. A simple sanding and refinishing treatments every now and then will bring back the initial beauty and solidness.
- You can install underfloor heating under the floorboards for additional comfort for your children… and for the rest of the family, of course. Bear in mind that only engineered wood is suitable with it.
There are probably many more benefits we can share, but we believe that by now you are already convinced of the advantages of hardwood flooring over any other option offered on the market. Before you take your wallet and go to the local wood flooring showroom in a rush, there are a few more things to consider in the combination of wooden floor and young children or babies!
Your baby, toddler or children is not the only one that needs your attention and care!
That is right! We know that children are on the top of your priority list, but if you want to enjoy a beautiful and durable floor for a long time, you have to make sure you maintain it properly and you are able to prevent major issues. Toys that leave scratches, enthusiastic feet running around the house and leading to wear and tear quicker than usual, dirt and grime after playing indoors, permanent stains from whatever you can think of… and all the rest you even cannot think of and all that jazz, it does not get any better when they grow up and turn into rebel teenagers too! So choosing a wooden floor for your child’s bedroom and for the rest of the house means that you will need to have a good cleaning and maintenance routine, and protection plan!
With the great variety of choice we have in the market, it might be tempting to choose something really special a unique, but think functionality and practicality first! The good thing is that you do not need to sacrifice beauty for practicality, however, make sure to settle on a wooden floor that is:
- Rustic grade – As you may know, wood flooring is divided into four main categories of grade, from prime, through select and natural to rustic. Grade and quality are two separate measures and do not have to be confused because the grade measure is related to the visual appearance of natural wood, where the Prime grade is the most uniform one with no knots and sap, while rustic is recognised by significant colour variations and other standout characteristics. As you may guess, the more natural pattern your wooden floor has, the fewer scratches and stains will show up.
- Higher on the hardness scale – Different wood species used for the manufacture of flooring are rated with a different place of the hardness scale. For a child’s bedroom and probably for the entire house you will need a hardwood floor that is more on the upper side of the scale with better hardness. Red oak is chosen as the medium standard and also a classic and good choice for families because it is not that soft to be easily dented or broken yet not that hard that is hard to be sawed and nailed down, when installed. At the top of the hardness scale, you can find species such as Brazilian walnut that is almost three times harder than red oak, even Brazilian cherry that is 80% harder than Red oak. In general, exotic wood species tend to be impressively hard, but also hard to install. On the lower end of the scale you can find species like Douglas fir, Yellow pine, Birch and Beech that are significantly less hard than Red Oak and although easy to install, they usually dent and wear more easily that is not a good solution for active families with young children.
- Floating installation – A great and flexible solution for those who choose engineered wood flooring. Floating means that no adhesive (that can be dangerous and provokes allergies) and no nails are used for fitting down the floorboards. Floating installation ensures a solid and durable construction, it makes it easier to lift the floor if you want to replace it when children grow older and also allow the freedom to have installed a underfloor heating system and underlayment for better insulation.
- The best finish – The best finish for a room and home with young children is a topic with many aspects, let’s have a more in depth look!
The most children-friendly wood floor finish
As we have already mentioned above, wood flooring, in general, is among the healthiest and safest choices for households with young members. Volatile organic compounds are linked to respiratory conditions and can cause a headache and dizziness and most of the vinyl floors contain VOCs, although in lower level. Some experts advise against vinyl flooring for homes with small children, while many will recommend against carpet because of the fact that carpets attract a lot of dust, bacteria and allergens. Stone flooring is a really impractical choice for the household and as it turns out, wood is the best solution! When buying a wooden floor, you have to make sure that the materials are labelled and certified by independent councils and agencies so you can be provided with an assurance that the floor is sustainably sourced, harvested or contains a portion of recycled materials and no-formaldehyde glues, resins or VOCs that are dangerous for human’s health and toxic are used in the process of manufacturing. The same rule is applied for when you choose a wood floor finish. Before thinking style, beauty and functionality, always prioritize finishing and sealing products containing no VOCs and other hazardous, toxic and unsafe for the health materials. Ask for some professional help and advice, if you are not sure.
Otherwise, you are spilt of choice of so many sealants that are completely safe and healthy and offer different effects and benefits to the wooden floor. Of course, it is important to mention that a finish is a necessity for your wooden floor! A finished wooden surface is always less prone to scratches, dents and other imperfections, while the finish is protecting the bare wood underneath. Finishes are great for prevention from stains and other common issues and when accidents happen, which is an everyday life for an active family with young children, commonly you will be left with the finish only damaged. This can be easily improved and it takes a simple sanding service to get rid of the damaged or worn finish and a fresh layer of finish to the treated spot.
If you are wondering whether to choose a prefinished or unfinished wooden floor for your child’s bedroom, here is what to consider. First off, a prefinished wooden floor leaves the factory with an already applied finish as the name suggests, while the unfinished floorboards require additional finish application on site. The second alternative may sound like too much hassle and work for you to handle, but buying an unfinished wooden floor is actually the better option. While it may take some time and work to be completely done and ready to use, when you finish your own floor you can be completely sure that you are using a safe and non-toxic or hazardous finishing product as well as you have the freedom to choose an effect that you like the most, whether it will be a completely matt, semi-matt or highly glossy.
Let’s say you are buying an unfinished wood for your child’s bedroom or nursery, now you need to make a choice and settle on the best option among a dozen of alternatives. Of course, you may be tempted to choose a finish that matches the entire house and its interior design, something extra beautiful and eye-catching, but once again, you need to think functionality and practicality first. Let’s have a look at the two most common and highly preferred by many households wood floor finish options and why we recommend them!
Lacquer and Oiled Finishes Compared
- Lacquer Finish – it's the modern version of the varnish that was used in the past. Lacquer is probably the best finish for providing your floor with long-lasting and hard-wearing protection and giving it a beautiful shine and gloss. Lacquer is not a penetrating finish and it sits on the top, creating a highly protective barrier between bare wood and its environment, preventing deep scratches, dents, stains and other imperfections occurring and damaging the bare wood.
Pros: Lacquer finishes are perfect for floors that tend to experience a lot of high traffic and heavy footfall, which make them perfect for children’s bedrooms too. It is also a water-resistant finish and it makes sure that spills and stains can be easily wiped off.
Cons: Because of the fact that lacquer finishes are on the glossier and shinier side, they tend to show up scratches and dents very easily, ruining the entire appearance of the floor. Additionally, because of the fast that lacquer sits on the top of the wood’s surface, when worn away with wear and tear, the bare wood is left completely exposed and can be damaged and distressed very easily. This means that sanding and re-finishing are services that must not be neglected and procrastinated!
- Oiled finish – Oiled finishes are the new kid on the block and a relatively new option on the market, although commonly used in the last few years because they have gained a lot of popularity for a short period of time. Oiled finishes are the modern day wax, typically involving hardwax and even vegetable oils and both setting on top and penetrating deeply into wood floor’s structure. Oils provide your floor with a really natural look, enhancing its natural beauty and highlighting its natural texture and grain.
Pros: Thanks to the natural and fairly matt effect, oiled finishes are great for areas with high traffic and for nursery and children’s bedrooms too, because they practically do not show fine scratches and dents. Along with this advantage, oiled finishes are also offering more protection and preservation of the colour and texture. Even when worn, unlike lacquer finishes, oils still provide wood with a level of protection underneath, because they penetrate deep into the pores of the wood.
Cons: Oiled finishes require a bit more maintenance and specific cleaning routine than the other options on the market. In addition, oiled finishes, unless they do not have a UV filter added, are not that good at saving the wood from fading or dulling due to excessive sun exposure. Finally, oiled finishes wear off faster and need refinishing treatment more often.