Tile flooring that looks like wood are loaded with benefits, providing the beauty of hardwood flooring combined with many benefits of ceramic or porcelain floors. However, your selection of a flooring product is a serious commitment that impacts everything from the installation cost and regular cleaning tasks to your home décor, property value and more. Before deciding if wood look tiles are suitable for your needs, a closer look at the pros, cons and options is in order.
The Many Benefits of Wood Look Tile
Wood look tile is found in many homes today, and the number grows regularly. Its benefits are overwhelmingly positive for many homeowners. These benefits often make wood look tiles an unbeatable option.
While many homeowners love the look of hardwood, they are concerned about how easily it can be damaged by water exposure, scratches and other forces. Hardwood flooring has the ability to remain in a home for decades if you are extremely careful with it and if it is refinished periodically. Tile’s durability gives it longevity of at least a few decades. While you still need to take proper steps to care for porcelain or ceramic flooring to maximize its life, the steps are much less meticulous.
2. Cleaning and Maintenance
Cleaning wood flooring requires special cleansers and techniques. You generally must be careful not to make the flooring too wet or to use harsh or abrasive cleaning agents. Cleaning terracotta tiles, porcelain or ceramic floor, on the other hand, is easy to do. You can simply sweep and mop the floor as needed. There is no need to worry about this type of floor warping or bubbling when exposed to water. However, some harsh cleaning agents that are acidic or abrasive can damage grout over time.
3. Flexibility with Its Use
With wood flooring, you generally must steer clear of rooms where exposure to water is likely. You may want the look of hardwood in your kitchen, bathrooms or laundry room, but hardwood is impractical in these areas. On the other hand, wood-like porcelain or ceramic tiles can be installed in any areas throughout the home without concern about water damage.
The cost of tile flooring that looks like wood varies, which is the case for any type of flooring material that you select. However, compared to the cost of hardwood flooring, tile is much more affordable to install and more affordable to maintain. When you consider the impact that it can have on your home’s value, you can see that there is true value in the installation of wood look tiles.
5. Beautiful Styles
When wood-like porcelain or ceramic material was first introduced years ago, the style options were limited. However, today’s tile options are as varied as hardwood options. Both ceramic and porcelain materials can mimic the look of hand-scraped oak, deep mahogany with a high-sheen finish or any other material that you want in your home. You will not be limited to a narrow range of options when you decide to install wood-like porcelain or ceramic material in your home.
6. Green Flooring
Wood flooring is unfortunately often linked to deforestation. It also can release harmful chemical compounds in your home’s air. Wood-like porcelain or ceramic tiles are great for indoor air quality because they do not release chemicals. They also are frequently made out of recycled materials, so they are a truly Eco-Friendly flooring solution.
7. A Hypo-Allergenic Option
When you compare tile against other flooring options, such as carpet, this flooring is ideal for homes with allergy-sufferers. As a hard surface, porcelain or tile will not hang onto pet dander, dust and other elements. As is the case with other materials, there is a possibility of mold growing in the subfloor. You can prevent this from happening with professional flooring installation and a focus on making the material airtight.
8. Kid-Friendly and Pet-Friendly
If you have pets and kids or even if kids occasionally visit your home, you understandably are concerned about damage from spills, accidents and scratches. Pet odors may also be a concern. Tiled floor is one of the more durable types of flooring available, so it is ideal for use in homes with pets and children.
The Downsides of Wood Look Tiles
There is no perfect flooring material for every home. As is the case with other types of floors, wood look tiles have a few downsides to be aware of before you make an investment.
While porcelain, ceramic and wood are all hard flooring surfaces, tile tends to feel colder under your feet. It also is a harder material, so it is not always comfortable to walk across or to stand on. More than that, porcelain and ceramic tend to echo noises much more than hardwood does. There are ways to address some of these concerns. For example, you can install a radiant heating system underneath wood look tiles. You can also decorate the floors with area rugs throughout the space to add softness and to buffer sounds.
Wood look tiles are available with a textured or hand-scraped look. These finishes can make the floor less slick to walk on. However, all types of ceramic and porcelain flooring can be slippery when it is wet. When you choose a product that will be installed in a room where spills are common, opt for a textured tile. Likewise, if you have children or pets who may slip even on a dry surface, a textured flooring is a better option.
Because tile is so hard, dropping a plate, a cup or something else from even a few feet above the floor can result in breakage. More than that, this type of direct impact could chip ceramic and porcelain flooring in some cases. Keeping a few spare tiles in your garage will make flooring repairs easier when needed.
4. Professional Installation
As is the case with all types of tile, wood look tiles must be installed on a quality, even subfloor. Tile flooring that looks like wood also must be protected against dampness. In addition, the grout lines for wood look tiles are usually thin and must be perfectly even. Some homeowners also prefer stained grout that closely matches the color of the tiles. With this in mind, professional installation is essential unless you have considerable experience laying porcelain or ceramic flooring
The Decision Between Porcelain and Ceramic Flooring
If you have decided that you want to install wood look tiles in your home, you must weigh the pros and cons of ceramic versus porcelain products. Ceramic materials are generally more affordable per square foot. Both can be used in living areas and other areas of the home where water exposure is not a concern. Porcelain, however, is a denser material that absorbs less water when exposed for a lengthy period of time. When selecting a porcelain product, look for through-body coloring. This means that the color extends throughout the entire material rather than superficially. If the piece chips, through-body color is less likely to show obvious damage.
Many flooring manufacturers produce wood look tiles. As you compare hard flooring options for your home, you likely will come across several leading brands that offer a great selection for you to choose from. This list of popular porcelain and ceramic flooring brands is in no particular order.
Vitromex has been producing tile since 1967, and it is known for its strong devotion to environmental awareness and responsibility. It was founded in Mexico, and it now has operations in Mexico and the United States. It offers 19 styles of wood look tiles to choose from, including several off-white, grayish and sun-bleached styles for variation. Prices range between $5 and $11 per square foot.
Merola is an American distributor based in New Jersey and New York, and it notably is the largest distributor for the Home Depot chain. Product pricing begins at $6 per square foot. In addition, you can choose between approximately 40 colors of wood look tiles from this company, and there are approximately 20 sizes currently available.
As a Mohawk Industries subsidiary, Daltile is based in Dallas and was founded in 1947. Notably, it is the largest U.S. supplier of ceramic flooring products. Prices range substantially across its 18 different collections of wood look tiles. This includes 75 different colors and shades for you to choose from.
MS International manufacturers and distributes a wide range of tile products as well as stone sinks, slabs and more. It offers dozens of wood look tiles grouped in 15 unit collections. Everything from white-washed and distressed looks to polished cherry tiles are available. With so many tile products to choose from, pricing varies dramatically.
Ragno USA takes a high-tech approach to producing ceramic and porcelain flooring materials. Its wood look tiles are produced with high-resolution ink and 3D printing technologies. The products are clustered into five collections with 17 different options to choose from. Colors, patterns and sizes vary. Pricing is relatively affordable and ranges from $5 to $7. Ragno USA is a division of Marazzi Group and was founded in 1982.
This is a Spanish company that was founded in 1973. Its high-end products are in demand, and the company now has more than 400 showrooms displaying its gorgeous products. It has two distinctive collections for wood look tiles. These are large collections with more than 125 colors, sizes and styles available.
This is a large, U.S.-based company based in Clarksville, Tennessee. Its products are known for quality and value as well as for being eco-friendly. All Florim tiles contain as much as 40 percent recycled materials. Its wood look tiles are only available in 36-inch slats, but there are 35 styles available across six unique collections.
Marazzi USA is an Italian-owned company based in the United States. Over the course of its 30-year history, it has established manufacturing facilities in four countries. Its wood look tiles are affordable with a price between $2 to $5 per square foot. It offers an exceptional range of sizes, colors and styles to choose from across its 20 collections. Marazzi USA is also known for its focus on sustainability and environmental consciousness.
Buying Tips for Tile Flooring That Looks Like Wood
As is the case for any porcelain or ceramic product, you should first focus on the PEI rating when deciding on a flooring material. This rating indicates how strong the material is, which indicates where it should be used. The PEI rating spans from one to five. With a rating of one, the material is not suitable for foot traffic and should only be used as a backsplash or in another similar capacity. On the other hand, a PEI rating of five is reserved for commercial-grade flooring that can withstand heavy foot traffic. If you want wood look tile for your home’s floors, a rating of three or four is suitable.
In addition, look for products that carry a certification from the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency or the Tile Council of North America. These certifications attest to the manufacturing standard that the products were made with.
Another factor to focus on is rectification. Unrectified or soft-edged products are those with edges that have not been treated or finished. These are suitable for use with smaller pieces as well as for flooring with thicker grout lines. Because many wood look tiles are installed with very thin grout lines, rectified tile may be a better option. Rectified tiles are those that have a sharply-finished edge. This edge enables them to be laid much closer together.
Before buying tile flooring that looks like wood, pay close attention to its resolution. Tile technology has come a long way in recent years. The visible pigmentations and speckling of low-quality tile is no longer the only option available. With quality wood look tile, the finish and coloring may be so advanced that the only way to tell that the material is tile is to touch it.