Perhaps the most important factors to consider when choosing flooring are the type and condition, of the sub-floor onto which it is to be installed. Sub-floors are typically constructed from plywood, or concrete and, while a plywood sub-floor is likely to be suitable for any of the popular nail down, staple down, glue down, or floating approaches to flooring installation, a concrete sub-floor effectively rules out nails or staples. The condition or structural integrity of the sub-floor may also govern the types of floor heating systems that can be incorporated if that is what you desire.
With regard to staining floors, popular surface finishes include polyurethane, which is fairly thick, requires 2, or 3, coats and is fairly slow to dry, or water-based urethane, which dries faster, but typically requires at least 3 coats to produce a satisfactory finish. Water-based urethane is, however, less toxic and, being water soluble, can easily be cleaned up using ordinary soap and water.