With kids come messes. It’s an unavoidable fact of life. They track in dirt, they spill juice, they drop food. It’s amazing that such tiny, adorable, innocent beings can leave such disaster in their wake. When choosing flooring for a home with children, you need a product that can keep up with daily—if not hourly—soiling and cleaning while still managing to look good. Vinyl flooring offers a practical, affordable and even stylish solution.

Benefits of Vinyl

1. Easy to clean. First and foremost for families with children, flooring must be easy to clean, and quality vinyl is one of the best performing categories of flooring when it comes to cleanability. Most dirt, grime and food wipes off easily, and bigger messes clean thoroughly with just soap and water.

2. Water resistant. Since children are prone to spills, you also need flooring to stand up to liquid. All vinyl flooring is water resistant. And some vinyl flooring is even 100% waterproof, trapping liquid on the surface to protect your subfloor from damage and mildew.

3. Comfortable underfoot. Many flooring options are hard and unforgiving. Vinyl flooring is resilient, meaning it absorbs impact. Not only will it ease your children’s falls, it will also provide comfort underfoot in areas like the kitchen where you stand for long periods of time.

4. Sound dampening. Not only are children messy, but let’s face it, they can also be incredibly loud. The harder your floors, the more sound will reverberate through the house, amplifying all your children’s squeals, shrieks and general noises. There is no magic mute button for your children, but vinyl flooring absorbs sound, making their outbursts a little less deafening. The addition of a quality underlayment will enhance the sound dampening attributes of your floor as well.

5. Warmer underfoot. Children spend a lot of time on the floor, and in the wintertime especially, floors can be cold. Because vinyl is softer, it tends to stay warmer to the touch than other hard surface flooring options, which you and your children will appreciate.

6. Stylish. When you think of vinyl, you may picture your grandmother’s faded and yellowed linoleum, but resilient flooring has come a long way since those days. High-quality vinyl flooring now mimics the high-end look and texture of hardwood, ceramic tile and stone with such realism, even flooring experts sometimes do a double take. Now you can have that expensive wire-brushed hardwood look in rooms where the kids eat, drink and play without the worry or hit to your wallet.

Types of Vinyl

Vinyl flooring still comes in sheet form, but it also comes in planks and tiles that snap together, often referred to as luxury vinyl tile (LVT). LVT and sheet vinyl flooring have improved dramatically, both in performance and aesthetics in recent years, and LVT has propelled vinyl flooring into a new class of hard surface flooring with its high design looks at family-friendly prices.

Vinyl also comes in different forms for different installations. Glue-down vinyl, available in both sheet and LVT, is attached directly to the subfloor with adhesive and is recommended for areas like bathrooms or large rooms requiring multiple seams. Loose lay sheet vinyl and floating LVT, which sit on top of the subfloor without adhesive, can be installed over subfloors that are too rough for gluing.

The latest innovation in vinyl flooring is LVT with a rigid, waterproof core. The planks and tiles lock together for a waterproof floor that won’t telegraph imperfections from the subfloor. Installation is quick and easy, and can be done in any room of the house, no matter the humidity levels or fluctuations in temperature.

Are you convinced that vinyl is right for your family? Visit your flooring retailer to view new styles and techniques in person.