If you are interested in wood flooring but don’t think that it will be durable enough for your home, an expert may have suggested that you consider wood-look tile flooring. You’ll be surprised at just how authentic these tiles look and even feel when texture and tone are added.
Wood-look tile can be an excellent alternative to hardwood floors if you are looking for something affordable, durable, and with long life, and which can also deal with water and changes in temperature. But tiles can be difficult to install and generally comes with a limited warranty, which means that you want to get it right the first time.
So, how can you decide if wood-look tile is the right decision for you? We will get you started in this comprehensive guide.
Wood-Look Tile Pros
Tile has always been better valued than hardwood. However, until recently, it didn’t come close to delivering the overall warm appearance that is natural to real wood. But, with advances in technology, it’s now easier than ever to duplicate the aesthetics of hardwood at a significant saving.
And that’s just the beginning. When shopping for hardwood, you may have to sacrifice style for savings. But tile is less expensive to produce, so you can often purchase larger tile planks for the same price as smaller formats.
Similarly, your tile’s coloring rarely affects the price tag. Unlike wood, which is separated into species, tile is priced more consistently. Which means, you probably won’t pay any more for replicated mahogany than you would for knotty pine.
It’s a fact. Tile is one of the most durable flooring materials you can buy. If you take care of it, it will still look new in 20 years, unlike its counterparts, hardwood or engineered hardwood. Hardwood is beautiful but downright exhausting to maintain. You must be careful of scratches, mindful of spills, and absolutely diligent on your dirt game. If you’re not cautious, your investment will look old and tired within months.
The only drawback? Wood-look tile will chip if you drop something heavy on it. But for everyday wear and tear, tile beats hardwood hands-down.
Tile is ridiculously easy to maintain. You won’t need fancy tools or expensive cleaners. A regular tile mop and static broom or tile vacuum will work fine. And unlike many other types of flooring, tile can hold up to water and moisture. You shouldn’t flood your floors – but, if they get wet, they won’t warp or buckle.
As far as cleaning products go, be careful which ones you use. Acidic and abrasive cleaners can break down grout and cause damage. Your best bet is to stick with mild soap and warm water.
If you’re craving a flooring solution that allows for endless possibilities, wood-look tile is an excellent option. Not only can you get flooring to match your favorite species of hardwood, but you can also customize the color. That’s right – many high-end tile manufacturers will tailor a design to your specifications.
Even if you can’t afford to splurge on customization, you’ll find a wide selection of tones and textures to suit your style. In addition to the colors found in nature, you can buy tile that mirrors sun-bleached or weathered boards.
And if that’s not enough variety, most flooring manufacturers sell tile in multiple widths and lengths. So, if you’re in love with wide-plank hardwood or cork, you’ll have no trouble replicating that look with tile.
Tile is a wise pet-friendly flooring option for the dog or cat owner who worries about scratches and scuff marks. Even if you have large dogs, quality tile won’t scratch like hardwood can. And unlike other surfaces, your cat can’t shred it or use it as a scratching post. Plus, if your pet has an accident, it’s simple to clean and it won’t hold the odor. Just be sure to scrub the grout too. If you install wood-look tile, don’t forget to purchase a cozy bed for your pet. Tile flooring is hard and cold to sleep on.
One more piece of advice: if you share your home with four-legged occupants, opt for medium- to light-colored tile. Darker floors will show every strand of hair (already have this problem? See these pet hair vacuums) and every tiny paw-print.
Wood Look Tile Cons
Installing wood-like tile isn’t for the casual weekend warrior. For one, it takes a trained eye to spot hairline cracks or imperfections in the subfloor. If your subfloor is damaged, the tile will look and feel uneven. Secondly, an inadequate subfloor can become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. A trained installer will know how to protect your tile from dampness and water damage properly.
Finally, wood-look tile can be tricky to lay out. You’ll need to stagger the pattern and blend tones to achieve a realistic and appealing design. Not to mention spacing the grout lines consistently throughout the rows requires the patience of a saint.
Tile is notoriously cold to step on. If you live in a cooler climate, tile floors can be downright painful – especially first thing in the morning. Thankfully, there’s a solution for those who hate the cold but love the look of tile. Since wood-look tile is an extremely affordable flooring choice, you could always splurge on radiant underfloor heating.
Underfloor heating systems are not only comfortable, they’re also economical. The combo of wood-look tile and radiant heating: downright decadent. And if buying tile gives you an excuse to install one of life’s little luxuries, all the better. If radiant heating isn’t in the budget, no worries. You can duplicate that cozy feeling with a fluffy area rug. Remember to add a warm spot for your pet to snooze too.
If you’ve ever stood on tile for lengthy periods, you know it’s uncomfortable. Tile doesn’t give underfoot like many other types of flooring. If you choose wood-look tile for the kitchen, be sure to buy an anti-fatigue mat for standing at the sink. Tile is the number one flooring choice for bathrooms. It’s water-resistant and low maintenance, but it’s also hard on your knees if you bathe young children or pets.
Another not-so-fun fact: tile cracks if you drop something heavy onto it. Even if your tile survives the impact, the item you dropped probably won’t.
Smooth or polished tiles are slippery to walk on when wet. If you have young children or elderly family members, wet tile poses a significant hazard. Pets may also slip on slick tile. When choosing tile for a mudroom or bathroom, opt for textured or non-slip varieties. You can find wood-look tiles in hand-scraped and grooved designs. These styles improve traction in wet areas. Don’t forget to wear shoes when washing your floor. Not only does this prevent you from slipping, but it also cuts down on footprints. Remember to block off the room until the tile is dry.
If you are looking for the best quality wood-look tile, you will probably want to invest in porcelain rather than ceramic. Porcelain clay is denser and less porous than ceramic clay, and so it makes a harder and more water-resistant tile but also a more expensive one. You will probably want to invest in porcelain in wet areas and/or if you are looking at underfloor heating, more affordable ceramic tiles work perfectly well in most domestic settings.