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NATIONAL (CONSUMER REOPRTS) - Some five million kitchens get renovated every year and often that means new flooring. Consumer Reports tested the newest types to see how their durability compares with more traditional choices like oak, tile and vinyl.
Vinyl is the top-selling type of kitchen flooring. These days, a lot of it is designed to look like wood or other natural materials. But if you want flooring that's really natural, Consumer Reports just tested three of the newest choices - cork, Brazilian cherry and bamboo.
Testers subject the flooring to a number of challenges.
One test simulated wear and tear from foot traffic. John Galeotafiore says none of the new flooring did very well in this test.
"You can see after the wear test it left it kind of dull and with some wear marks," said John Galeotafiore, speaking of Ronda Cork from US Floors. "It's very different than the areas around it."
And Joe Pacella found the cork didn't hold up to stains, either.
"This is ballpoint ink here. This is shoe polish. It's left a circle. Ammonia has darkened this area here," said Pacella.
In another test, metal objects are dropped from various heights to see if the flooring dents.
Like other wood flooring, Thomasville's Jatoba Brazilian Cherry dented badly, and it changed color when exposed to UV rays, like the sun.
"You can see that the section that was covered remained the same color, where the section that was exposed to UV darkened," said Galeotafiore.
The bamboo also got darker, and the cork got lighter.
"The problem is that the sun is unlikely to fade the material the same way, so you'll have either light or dark splotches. It's also a problem if you move furniture or carpeting. You may get areas that are either lightened or darkened."
Consumer Reports finds vinyl is much better at resisting sun damage and stains, and it resists wear and tear better than other types of flooring.
Consumer Reports tested ten types of vinyl. Top ratings went to Congoleum Durastone.
If you're not sure what type of flooring you want, you can check out the pros and cons of the various types by clicking here>>