For kitchen flooring, durability and ease of cleaning are top criteria. Good choices are vinyl, ceramic tile–both very common–and wood. Vinyl flooring (a modern product replacing linoleum) is inexpensive and provides an easy-to-clean surface and comes in countless designs. Ceramic tiles are even better. Also easy to maintain and available in a huge range, they offer superior durability, resisting most dents, dings and scratches. There are a couple of things to bear in mind about tiles, however. One is that if installed over a floor that has structural movement, ceramic tiles are prone to crack. So if your house is very old, it’s probably a good idea to replace your subfloor while you’re at it. A second point that’s worth thinking about, particularly if your family includes children or anyone with special safety needs, is that smooth tiles can be very slippery when they get wet, so you may want to consider ones with a textured surface. Then there’s wood. While some feel it’s an unusual choice now that there are so many different flooring options, I personally think hardwood is an excellent choice for the kitchen. Everybody ends up spending a lot of time there, and wood floors can add a great deal of “homeyness” to the kitchen. At the same time, wood is also good at coping with the high traffic volume. One important reminder: When installing wood flooring in a kitchen, do make sure you apply a good protective finish, such as a polyurethane, to guard against the many kinds of moisture that inevitably make their way onto the kitchen floor.