So, you’ve decided to do the trendy thing and get rid of your dusty old carpeting. Now you’ve got this unsightly slab of bare concrete to look at. Not only is the glue from the carpeting stuck to the floor in random smears and streaks, but you’ve got nails from the tack strip imbedded in that concrete. It’s just lovely, right? For the sake of your family, children, pets, and your own sanity, you’ve got to set things right.
Rather than replacing your wall-to-wall carpeting with more carpeting that will also be dusty and old in a few years, you might opt to polish and stain your floors. Perhaps you ran the idea by your friends, who convinced you that the durability and easy maintenance of the finished product would be well worth the effort.
As you set about finding qualified contractors and getting estimates and diligently checking their references, the one thing you’ll want to think at the end of the whole process is, “I’m so glad that I followed through on my floor concrete polishing idea.” But since you’ve done your homework, the whole thing turns out beautifully. Now what?
Remember, you’ve got dear little ones in the home, both the two-legged and four-legged kind. Your new polished, color-coordinated concrete floors are perfect-looking, but they are…hard. You want to protect your brood from harm, but you want to preserve your costly new floors, too. What’s the answer? Relax. Here are a few tips for you.
1. Prohibit Shoes Indoors
Now, hear me out. Of course, you’ll want to be careful to ensure that your children keep their model cars, tiny pointy toys (and jacks!) picked up and that skateboards and the like are kept in the garage or out on the sidewalk where they always are.
And allowing no shoes on your floors means that your polished concrete will stay pristine. As a compromise, you might get the kiddos some of those super-soft bunny slippers to walk around the house in. That way, your floors stay protected and tiny feet can keep warm.
2. Use Area Rugs
Shaggy rugs are not recommended here unless you don’t mind digging deep for a dropped coin or morsel of spilled food. Now, you could put down LOTS of area rugs, especially in high-traffic parts of the house, but that may present its own kind of problems. You will have to ensure that your family isn’t constantly tripping over them or spilling things on them.
Strategically placed adhesive backing can at least help to keep the rugs in place. But you’ll need to vacuum them regularly as well. Oh, you thought your vacuuming days were over when you ripped out all of the carpeting, didn’t you?
3. Teach Children to Immediately Clean Up Their Spills
Provide colorful, lint-free cloths or plenty of paper towels for your children to use for this purpose. You might even designate one area of your home for drinks, like the kitchen, at least until the kids are old enough to handle their liquids responsibly. And you can see how this step protects the little ones and the floors.
4. Put Door Mats at Every Entrance
Make sure that the outdoors stays out. Kids and pets are notorious for tracking in dirt, grime, mud, snow and the like. All of that moisture isn’t good for the health of your floors, but it might also promote some random slippage. Enact a rule that says that everyone must meticulously wipe and remove their shoes, and then gently wipe Fido’s paws before entering the house.
5. Install Interlocking Foam Padding in Play Areas
As your children go about their playful activities, the sturdy foam mats will absorb shocks and provide the cushioning your children need to be their rambunctious selves. Think of the fun your children will have tumbling around on 1 ½ inch thick soft tiles rather than on the unyielding concrete floor underneath. The best thing about these rubber and plastic padded tiles is that they’re temporary, so you can put them away when play time is over. Better yet, the kids can do this themselves. It can be another playful activity for them as they wind down.
6. Put Soft Socks on Your Pets’ Feet
This step could prevent scratches to your floor and minimize the likelihood of your pets skidding on the floor’s slick surface whenever they hear a can being opened. Of course, this only applies if your pet actually LIKES wearing socks.
7. Use Plastic, Not Glass
The sheer hardness of your gleaming new concrete floor will cause the shards from a dropped glass, cup or plate to scatter far and wide. In fact, there might literally be glass dust on your floor in the aftermath of such an incident. Not only could there be the worry of some of those stray shards finding little feet even after a thorough cleaning, but the impact of the glass wouldn’t be so great for your floors, either. The use of plastic cups and dishes eliminates this problem and you won’t be on edge waiting for the worst.
So be happy with your smart choice to go carpet less. You’ve gotten rid of countless allergens and beautified your home in the process. With proper care and maintenance, your concrete floor may only need the occasional sweeping, waxing and sealing as the years wear on. And don’t forget that many of us grew up playing on concrete floors, and we turned out just fine. Really.