How to choose
Last reviewed: August 2009
See Types to pick a type you like. Then see our Recommended (available to subscribers) for top performers. Here are other tips:
Gauge the traffic
While the best plastic laminates and vinyls might be tougher than solid or engineered wood, they can’t be refinished when worn. Moisture resistance is a strong point for some wood. But our Lumber Liquidators solid oak and bamboo flubbed this test, as did the Lauzon, Bruce, and Armstrong engineered-oak flooring.
All but the solid-wood Anderson Pacific oak were judged at least good for wet and dry slip resistance in our flooring Ratings (available to subscribers). High-scoring floors rated very good include the engineered-wood Mohawk Antiquity, the laminate Montado and Wicanders, and vinyl Congoleum and Allure.
Don’t get bamboozled
Even greener options use some petroleum when shipped. Teragren says its Synergy bamboo uses adhesives that emit less formaldehyde in the home than the usual glue, though they still emit some at the factory. And while the linseed oil in linoleum comes from flax, growing that plant might require harmful chemicals to fight disease and insects.
Learn how to get the best installation for your new flooring.