Friday, October 16, 2015

What's the best soft flooring for basement kids play areas?

When designing a play area for children, safety is of the utmost concern. You also can't forget about color and design. 

In many cases, families will choose to put the children's play rooms in the basement. Basement's are generally off the beaten path of your living space, which keeps randomly strewn toys, glue sticks and art projects out from underfoot in most circumstances. It also serves as a way to buffer the noise as running and jumping on upper levels of the home can shake, rattle and roll the whole house. Kids' music, movies and television, while helpful to their learning development and entertainment can be too much for some family members to handle on a consistent basis. So keeping this youthful paradise in less used areas makes complete sense for the safety and sanity of your family.

The problem with basements is they can be dark, dingy, cold and generally uninviting. That's where foam interlocking mats come into play. They can add color and life to your basement play area.

Soft protection
Foam puzzle mats soften the hard basement floors and in many cases, add protection against slips, trips and falls. Generally, the thicker the foam, the more fall protection it will offer. EVA foam tiles typically are offered in thicknesses ranging from 1/2 inch to 1 5/8 inch. Some are even ASTM rated for fall heights of up to 4 feet. For extra protection, some people have been known to run the foam tiles up the walls of their play rooms to create a “soft room.” This is a common practice in areas where kids tend to do a lot of wrestling and roughhousing.

Surface textures
This form of basement playroom flooring can come with various forms of surface textures, including thatch, tatami-style, smooth and leather. Some surfaces are designed for barefoot use while others are built to resist scuffing from shoes or boots. Greatmats offers products such as Indoor Playground Foam tiles and Home MMA BJJ Mats that offer a no-burn tatami-style surface which will prevent floor burns, and at 1 5/8 inch thick, feature a 4 foot fall height rating. These tiles are constructed of the same materials and in the same manner as professional martial arts mats.

Thermal and Sound Insulation
The foam material also offers thermal insulation, meaning those cold concrete floors will be converted into a warm, temperature-steady foundation for learning and skill development. This style of flooring will also serve to absorb much of the sound, helping prevent the noise from radiating throughout your home.

Colors and Patterns
The bright color options serve to stimulate the brain and create a more inviting space for creative minds. Parents and children alike can create color patterns or designs in their flooring as the puzzle style mats can be easily installed, removed and re-laid. The tiles are lightweight and there is no need for adhesives during the installation process. Some tiles such as Foam Floor Mats 5/8 Premium tiles are offered in up to 15 colors and most EVA foam tiles are reversible. Should you desire a more traditional home flooring look, you can find options like Greatmats' Wood Grain Reversible Foam tiles that will give you the look of wood, but the feel of foam. You can find nearly any color desired to fit you desired home decor.

Size
Most home interlocking foam puzzle mats are offered in 2x2-foot squares, but you can also find options that are as large as 3.3 x 3.3 foot tiles or as small as 1.64 x 1.64 foot mats.

Cleaning
EVA Foam Mats are waterproof and many are stain resistant, making them easy to clean after the inevitable spill and tracking in of dirt and mud. Simply sweep with a broom, vacuum without a power head (power bristles can damage the foam) or use a damp mop to clean. Keep in mind, you won't want to soak you floor when cleaning because water can slip between the seams and become trapped. If moisture is commonly present in your basement, you'll want to periodically pull up a tile and check for moisture that can become trapped beneath the floor. If you should find trapped moisture, simply lift the floor, clean and re-install once the subfloor and foam mats are completely dry.

Price
EVA Foam is an inexpensive material. You can find basement play area flooring solutions for as low as about 1 dollar per square foot. High end foam puzzle mats run around 3 dollars per square foot.

Cautions
Beware that sharp objects can puncture this form of flooring and heavy objects and furniture will cause indents in foam floors.
In most cases, indents will heal themselves in the same amount of time it took for them to form, but if heavy furniture is left on the foam tiles for long periods of time, indents may become permanent.

Whether your basement play area is for infants, toddlers, grade school children, high school, college, professional or recreational athletes, there are interlocking foam mats that will meet your needs.