Consumer Reports rates flooring materials

It's one of the big decisions you need to make when remodeling a kitchen: What type of flooring material should you get? You want it to be pretty, but it needs to be tough.

You may cringe at the thought of vinyl, but Celia Lehrman, deputy home editor at Consumer Reports, says it's the most highly rated flooring material they test.

"It really stands up very well to foot traffic," she said.

Laminate flooring is another good option. It's also very durable and Lehrman says it's getting much better looking. Some people find that the wood look in that can be a little more convincing than vinyl. There's also laminate that looks like stone.

What about linoleum, a natural product made from linseed oil?

"We've had a rather checkered experiences in our tests," Lehrman told me. "Sometimes it does OK for some things and not for other things, so it's a type of flooring that's going to require you to be more careful with it."

By the way, Consumer Reports says bamboo can be more expensive the other wood floors, but it tends to be tougher.

More Info: Consumer Reports Floor Buying Guide