Kitchen floor overhaul inspires unique alternatives

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Q: We have a mid-1950s Eichler-style ranch home with radiant heat. The radiant pipes are copper, not galvanized steel. They do not leak, and the heating works beautifully. Our kitchen floor is ceramic tile that was installed way before we purchased the home six years ago. Several years ago we had a contractor pull up and replace about 10 of the tiles that had cracked. He told us that the tiles would not settle properly because the concrete pad was inherently uneven. Sure enough, we have new cracks in both the old and new tiles. We are considering remodeling our kitchen and would like to know what type of flooring is compatible with both the concrete pad and the radiant heat. Our design books always refer to the subflooring, which does not exist. Do you have any suggestions? A: Here are three alternatives to ceramic tile. All will work well with the slab subfloor and radiant heat. Your choice will ultimately be determined by the look you want and your sense of style. The first and m...