Kid-Proof Flooring: Polished Concrete Is a Great Choice!
As every parent knows, keeping your home clean is a challenge with kids running around. As seasons change new elements are introduced, and housekeeping can seem like an uphill battle! One of the first areas of your home to reveal damage is your flooring. Protecting your floors will make a big difference to the overall look of your home, and it will also positively impact the health of the whole family. For durable, easily-cleaned floors, polished concrete is a great choice. Regardless of which materials are used for your floors, kid-proof flooring is attainable by following simple preventative steps.
To avoid problems, it helps to understand how kids unintentionally contribute to floor damage.
Common Child-Related Causes of Floor Damage
Most damage children do to your floors will be accidental, but that doesn’t mean it’s unavoidable. Being aware of potential risks will help you to determine the best flooring option for your family and your lifestyle.
Excess humidity is detrimental to many different parts of your home, and when kids are playing outdoors, it can be difficult to keep moisture from making its way inside. Wet umbrellas, sodden boots, and dripping outerwear are typical culprits, particularly when tossed aside carelessly. The inevitable soaked mittens and socks of winter can make entryways particularly susceptible to damage. In the springtime, that banging screen door means kids are enjoying active play outdoors; unfortunately it also means they’re more likely to bring moisture into your home.
Spills are another familiar source of moisture in any family home; that overturned glass of juice can have a lasting effect if not cleaned up quickly and thoroughly.
If you’ve got kids or pets, you’ve got germs. While some microbes are harmless and unavoidable, others can be damaging and dangerous for both your children and your home. Bacteria picked up off the sidewalk can enter on shoes and pant legs, and can easily transfer to that favourite teddy bear dropped from the stroller.
A child’s natural tendency to learn via touch means that germs will undoubtedly enter on their hands. In homes with babies or toddlers, toilet training presents an additional challenge. Before children are fully trained, daily diapering can result in the accidental spread of bacteria, as can those little “accidents” that parents know all too well.
Outdoor play makes this one inevitable. Dirt can enter on footwear, clothing, or skin. While making mud pies is a great way to spend a spring afternoon, it’s not so great for your flooring afterwards! While dirt can contain bacteria, it can also have a damaging effect on its own, aside from any germ-related complications. This can even include animal feces, especially if children are playing in public parks.
This one is another unavoidable summer challenge. The popularity of sandboxes in daycares and parks makes them a favourite hang-out for preschoolers. Unfortunately sand gets simply everywhere. It can hide in shoes, backpacks – even your child’s hair.
Like dirt, sand can also contain harmful bacteria, which can spread germs to your flooring. Sandboxes have been known to harbour animal waste, which children may pick up unknowingly. However, even the cleanest sand can damage floors, particularly hardwood.
Ice-melting chemicals (including rock salt) can enter on kids’ boots and pant cuffs. While these products can damage your floors, they also present health risks for kids and pets. During the summer months, frequent applications of sunscreen and bug spray can lead to transferring these substances to your floors and furniture. Diaper ointment can also damage flooring if leaks are not cleaned up efficiently. Crafting materials (such as glue or paint) can also contribute to the problem.
Curious hands grab cords, yank on fixtures, and try to climb anything not secured to a wall. Overturned furniture can leave a substantial mark, as can any large object when dropped. While any parent strives to avoid these mishaps for the safety of their child, some may not realize that it can also result in long-lasting floor damage.
While some damage will be immediately detectable, others may only become apparent after months pass. In a busy family home, it can be tempting to put off cleaning and repairs that don’t initially seem urgent. However, it’s important to understand the potential long-term risks if floor damage goes untreated.
Not all floor damage is easily detected on first glance. Learn how to recognize signs of damage to your floors.
Potential effects of floor damage
Mould will grow and spread if moisture is left for long periods on wood floors. Carpeting can increase the risk of mould since moisture can remain trapped underneath the fibres of a carpet.
Wood and carpeting will rot if excess moisture remains uncontrolled. This could result in crumbling materials or even hazardous soft spots. The risk of slipping and falling is always a consideration when the strength of the surface under your feet is compromised.
Children’s paints and glues can permanently stain a floor. Water will also leave a lasting mark on a wood floor if allowed to remain on the surface. Ice-melting substances can permanently stain floor materials.
If rock salt enters your home (and comes into contact with flooring), it can strip your floor as effectively as a floor-resurfacing product, due to rock salt’s high pH value.
Both magnesium chloride and calcium chloride are commonly used to melt ice on sidewalks. When these substances come to rest on your floors, they leave an unattractive residue that will pick up (and adhere to) unwanted dirt and sand.
Both sand and dirt will dull the finish of your floor, and they can also scratch its surface. Children’s toys are also a common cause of scratches.
Kids mean a busy home, and tossed or tumbling items can leave lasting marks. An overturned chair or lamp can create unsightly dents in a hardwood floor.
Some of the bacteria kids bring into a home can be harmful. This includes animal feces or urine, which can spread parasites that cause disease. These substances can enter on shoes or clothing, or in sand transported from a local park.
The Concrete Alternative
Families need durable, reliable floors to avoid costly repairs and time-consuming maintenance. Concrete is an obvious, cost-effective choice. Here are a few reasons why you should consider polished concrete as a flooring treatment for your home.
- Easy to Clean – Polished concrete’s smooth finish minimizes damage from salt, moisture and chemicals. The surface can be easily sanitized, making it hygienic for crawling babies and curious toddlers.
- Easy to Install – Renovations and repairs are stressful and disruptive, especially with kids running around. An expert in concrete flooring can install your floor quickly and efficiently so that you can get back to your routine as soon as possible. The durability of concrete means that you won’t have to worry about time-consuming repairs.
- Eco-Friendly – A professional concrete flooring company will polish your floors without the use of harsh chemicals, making them safe for tiny hands. Because the polished surface is reflective, it will allow you to reduce your heating costs (and your carbon footprint).
Whether it’s for a basement playroom or a garage full of bikes, a concrete floor will live up to the challenges of life with kids. For concrete polished floors in the Greater Toronto Area, contact Concrete Epoxy 101 at (416) 838-5188 for a consultation.
Related article: Safeguard Your Concrete Floors from Chemical Damage