We have 9 kiddos (ages 18yrs-2yrs) and a baby on the way. I was hospitalized for several days last week because of asthma complications and my pulmonologist recommended hard flooring. Our carpet is in need of being replaced anyway and the former owners had pets. Most of my kids have environmental and/or pet allergies and my 15yr old dd has asthma also.

For those who have experience with hardwood (natural or engineered) and laminate, what would you recommend with kids/heavy traffic (no pets)? Any brand you prefer? We have a w/o basement also that is fully carpeted and there is some mold/mildew, but it's limited to one area and only in the spring/early summer when it's very wet outside. We'd like to replace that with hard flooring too. I'm not opposed to doing the-tile-that-looks-like-wood down there either if that would be a better option because of the dampness, but would like to stick to whatever will also increase the value/sell-ability of our home since we don't plan on staying here forever .

My #1 concern with wood flooring is cracks...is there any way to guarantee no cracks? I can't help but be really grossed out by the idea of my kids throwing up or peeing/poo-ing on my hard floor and having it just stuck there in the cracks . Any thoughts on that?

I'd appreciate thoughts, opinions, comments, recommendations, whatever, lol, HELP !