From high-heeled shoes to dog paws and kitchen spills, your home's flooring faces tough challenges every day. When it comes to choosing a floor that will stand up to today's hyper-active households, experts recommend laminate for its low-maintenance, realistic beauty and durability. But savvy shoppers should keep in mind that not all laminates are created equal, especially when it comes to long-term performance. To find the best floor for your high-traffic home, look for the following: Superior surface protection. Flooring is exposed to numerous factors that can wear, tear, scuff and dull its surface over time. For this reason, it's important to select a laminate with a high level of surface protection - like the new PERGO XP collection. Offering double the wear resistance and durability of ordinary residential laminate floors, the collection features a unique surface layer that combines extreme wear performance and 30 percent greater scratch protection to better withstand the heavy traffic, spills and splashes that everyday life dishes out. Quality composition. Of course, a floor's performance is much more than surface deep. Choose a laminate with a high-density core (10 mm total product thickness is ideal) and attached underlayment. Not only will these premium materials offer greater stability and a more realistic sound underfoot, but installation will be easier and faster. Easy "click" installation. Laminate is the perfect material for do-it-yourselfers wanting a weekend project because most install with planks that literally "click" together. Look for laminates that offer locking systems that don't require glue for installation that's both easy and secure. Realistic good looks. The best laminates combine both brawn and beauty. There are laminate styles that reflect today's most popular design trends and complement any room of the home - from multi-hued slates of whitewashed pines and rustic oaks to rich cherries; even the exotic beauty of tropical-inspired decors. Make sure that the laminate you choose features ultra-realistic texturing and natural wood grain looks - as well as a surface layer that provides superior clarity. Comprehensive warranty. A quality laminate will offer the confidence and protection of a limited lifetime residential warranty against wear, fading and stains. If you want to be certain that a laminate offers superior durability, choose one that also is warranted for light commercial usage. With proper installation and simple maintenance, you can be assured the floor will look "like new" for years to come. "Laminate always has been an ideal choice for homeowners seeking the best in both performance and realistic good looks," says David Hartman, vice president of sales for Pergo. "However, the latest generation of laminate flooring features innovations that take beauty and durability to a whole new level and deliver the ultimate floor for today's high traffic homes."