Here’s a quick overview of the various advantages of some popular flooring materials.

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Q: We’re lost about what to do with our new kitchen flooring. Can you help us come up with a few innovative and attractive ideas?

A: Whether you’re planning to build a new home or remodel the kitchen in your existing one, selecting the right flooring is a major consideration. As is the case with so many design issues, you have to think about how your kitchen flooring looks and how well it holds up to the kind of daily use it will get.

What criteria should you use when choosing between options such as hardwood, natural stone, tile, engineered material or vinyl? Here’s a quick overview of some of the advantages of some popular flooring materials.

Hardwood. If you want a classic look that will never go out of style, it’s tough to beat a hardwood floor. It will look great and add warmth to any kitchen. Another advantage to hardwood is that it works well with open floor plans. You can run the same flooring from your kitchen out to your dining area or family room. Plus, hardwood floors are highly durable and fairly low-maintenance. Engineered hardwood floors are becoming increasingly popular for kitchens because they are less likely to be affected by changes in heat and humidity.

Cork. If you’re looking for an option that is eco-friendly and has a somewhat softer feel than hardwood, cork can be a great choice. It’s a sustainable resource with slip-resistant properties, it’s moisture-resistant, and it features intriguing patterns of swirls and speckles.

Natural stone. Nothing looks or feels quite like natural stone. In fact, because no two pieces of stone have exactly the same color, pattern or texture, you can be assured that nobody will have a floor exactly like yours. Natural stone exudes elegance. What’s more, the material is durable and doesn’t require much in terms of day-to-day maintenance. Whether you choose limestone, slate, granite or travertine, your floor won’t be cheap — but elegance has its price.

Porcelain tile. If you’re looking for a tough surface that is low-maintenance and gives you the look and feel of stone, porcelain tile is an interesting option. It provides the appearance and texture of stone at a much lower price. However, you will want to make sure to get a slip-resistant tile.

Of course, this list barely scratches the surface of your options for kitchen flooring. It does, however, give you a starting point to pursue more information about materials that meet your style and durability requirements.

Brooks Powell is the general manager of  Powell Homes and Renovations and a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, and HomeWork is the MBA’s weekly column. If you have a home  improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBA’s more than 2,800 members, write to