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Top flooring picks include a vinyl you'll swear is stone

Consumer Reports News: July 12, 2012 12:08 PM

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Vinyl isn't only the bestselling flooring at retailers; it also stood up to our battery of everyday abuse better than any other flooring. Our latest tests found a new top pick that blends the toughness of vinyl with the natural look and feel of slate for a fraction of the price.

Armstrong's Alterna Mesa Stone Canyon Sun, $5.50 per square foot, mimics the real stuff right down to its dappled colors and random textures. Yet it delivers the wear and damage resistance that makes vinyl our top-rated flooring overall. And like many vinyls, it comes in tiles that are easier to trim and install than traditional sheets.

Consumer Reports tested more than 40 flooring products and found 11 other winners, including an oak flooring that fended off the effects of foot traffic almost as well as the best vinyls and laminates. But after we subjected flooring to months of scuffs, scratches, stains, dropped weights, and intense UV light, we discovered that many woods, and even some vinyl and laminate floors, can wilt under life's daily grind. We also found that some bamboo and other "green" floors could have you seeing red.

For the full report, including Ratings of wood, engineered wood, plastic laminate, vinyl and linoleum flooring, see our Flooring buying guide.

Ed Perratore

   

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