Question

For a baby nursery, is refinishing the hardwood floor better than installing new carpet?

Asked by Anna Hilton, Philadelphia, PA

With our baby due soon, we are trying to determine the safest way to get the nursery ready. The carpet in the room is ripped up and destroyed from our pets. If we use a green sealer to refinish the hardwood floor underneath, is this better than installing new carpet, even if the carpet is low- or no-VOC?

Answer

Martine Paquin

Answered by Martine Paquin

San Francisco, CA

Martine Paquin Design and Consulting

September 11, 2008

I recommend you refinish your hardwood floor and add a natural-fiber area rug.

  • Hardwood is long-lasting and easy to clean, and the rug will reduce noise.
  • If you can, vacate your home while a professional removes the old carpet and refinishes your hardwood.

Refinishing the hardwood floor

Refinishing one room can take three to four days, plus a few days to dry completely. Take advantage of the time off while preparing the nest.

  • The person sanding and refinishing your floor should refer to this Ask A Pro article for detailed advice about safely refinishing the floor.
  • Seal all interior openings (including vents and the air return) to isolate the room from the rest of the house and protect you and your belongings.

A low-VOC coating product from Safecoat or Basic Coatings will protect your newly sanded floor. You can learn more about floor refinishing products by referring to GreenHomeGuide's "Buyer’s Guide to Clear Finishes" and "Buyer’s Guide to Stains."

Rug vs carpet

A natural-fiber area rug—for example, a wool rug with jute backing—would be safe for a nursery. The rug can be sent to a green cleaning service as needed, especially when your baby starts crawling.

If you choose to recarpet the space, tack down the carpet instead of using adhesives, and select a natural-fiber carpet and pad.

 

For more information:

Read GreenHomeGuide's backgrounder "Creating a Safe, Healthy Room for Your Child".

Tagged In: home air quality, floor refinishing, green carpet

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