I would recommend, for a safe but green approach, that you consider a cork floor.
- Cork floors have received really good recent reviews for being a safe, chemical-free, and low-VOC option for kids' and babies' rooms.
- There are several manufacturers producing cork flooring in many options.
Pros and cons of cork flooring
Some cork flooring pros and cons, from my experience, are:
- Cork flooring gives your kids a comfortable and warm surface to walk or play on.
- Cork flooring reduces household noise (especially if installed on the second floor).
- Cork has hypoallergenic qualities.
- Cork flooring gives your kids a floor surface that is resistant to fungi, mold, and bacteria growth.
- You can make the cork flooring moisture resistant if it is properly installed, sealed, and finished.
A common "con" to cork flooring is caused by incorrect installation.
- In humid to extreme climates, which you may experience in Virginia, cork will expand and contract more than a normal species of wood.
- This may be combated with proper insulation of the flooring.
- Make sure that your installer is familiar with cork installation or provide the installer with the manufacturer's installation instructions.
Remove rather than cover the carpet
Finally, I would recommend you remove the carpet, because it will create an environment for potential toxins, allergens, mold, or bacteria to grow. Removing carpet is always a fun "DIY" weekend project.
I hope this helps you in considering an alternative for safe, green flooring!
For more information:
Read "Is linoleum a good flooring choice for our baby's nursery?" a Q&A answered by Marian Keeler.