Did you consider installing hardwood floors in your home because you like the way it looks? Before you choose to do so, you should know that there could be a very good reason for you to not actually go with that option but rather go with an alternative—like wood look tile! What is wood look tile? It's porcelain and ceramic tile that's made to look just like wood. In fact, it's hard to tell the difference. The porcelain tiles have even reproduced the hand-scraped wood floor look and feel.
But, before deciding if wood look tile is right for you, it's important to take a closer look at the pros and cons.
Pros of Wood Look Tile
Wood look tile is found in many homes today, and the number continues to grow in popularity. Its benefits are overwhelmingly positive.
Value & Cost
The cost of ceramic or porcelain 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 it's worth the installation.
Durable & Moisture Resistant
Traditional hardwood is extremely susceptible to scratches and water damage. But, wood look tiles are strong enough to install from the front door through the kitchen or even the bathrooms. It does not scratch or show signs of wear with foot traffic.
Not only will it hold up to the daily wear and tear that a family brings, but it's also incredibly water resistant and will not swell or warp when exposed to moisture.
Cleaning wood floors 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. Wood-look tile, on the other hand, is ridiculously easy to maintain. You won't need fancy tools or expensive cleaners. A regular mop and static broom or vacuum will work fine. And as we just mentioned, 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.
Not all types of flooring are able to go in all different rooms of the house. For instance, you generally wouldn't use wood as the bathroom floors, because of the inherent problem with wood and moisture. So, if you long for versatile flooring that can go anywhere in your home, wood-look tile fits the bill. You can install tile in bathrooms, kitchens, mudrooms and even basements. That's because tile is impervious to dampness and humidity, provided it's smooth. It doesn't require a wood subfloor and adheres directly to cement.
When wood-look porcelain or ceramic material was first introduced years ago, the style options are as varied as hardwood options. Today, they're made using a professional-grade ink-jet technology that prints the look of wood onto the surface of the tile with incredible realism. The surfaces of the tiles are even textured to mimic wood grain. Because it's man-made, wood-look tiles come in a wide array of colors, finishes and textures to choose from. Traditional oak, rich cherry and rustic driftwood finishes are just a few of the many options available. With such an extensive selection, it's easy to find a wood look porcelain tile designed to elevate the style of any room.
Wood look tile is perfect for allergy sufferers and indoor air quality. This is because it's resistant to pollen, dust mites and doesn't release any chemicals. While the subfloor can technically grow mold, since it's moisture resistant, you shouldn't have any issue with mold or mildew, especially if you take the necessary steps to waterproof your subfloor and seal the grout lines yearly.
Tile is a wise pet-friendly flooring option especially if you worry 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 scratch 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.
Cons of Wood Look Tile
There is no perfect flooring material for every home. As in the case with other types of floors, wood look tiles have a few downsides to be aware of before you make as investment.
Installation needs to be perfect, as every flaw will show. So, to get the most out of wood-look tiles, professional installation is strongly recommended as there's an art to cutting tiles down to size. This can be a very time-consuming process, especially when installing multiple rooms worth of flooring. If the flooring ever needs to be changed in the future, professional removal may be a consideration as well.
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 floor heating. Underfloor heating systems are not only comfortable, they're economical. The combo of wood-look tile and radiant: 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. And remember to add a warm spot for your pet to snooze, too.
Tile floors are certainly harder than carpet and even harder than hardwood, which has a slight give. Wood look tile can be tough on feet, ankles and knees, especially when standing over a stove or washing dishes for a long period of time. Small rugs in front of the stove and sink are good solutions.
If you're one of those people that tend to fall anywhere and everywhere you go, you should know that polished or glazed tile tends to be slippery, especially when wet, and that in itself is the reason why some would rather not install it in the bathroom. You can get textured variants of it that will help make it significantly less slippery, however, while you still get that beautiful wooden look. Go for designs that are grooved and hand scraped for those places where the risk of falling is higher.
Just like traditional porcelain tile, wood look porcelain tile requires grout to keep it in place. As the floors are used, the grout can start to look dirty or dingy. Occasionally, a thorough grout cleaning is needed to refresh the look of floors.
To reduce the chance of the grout appearing dirty, choose a darker grout color to start with. Darker grout colors naturally conceal more dirt, but they are only a good match for darker tile finishes. Fortunately, there are some easy tips for choosing the right grout to match your porcelain tile in our other blog here.
Tile is very durable, especially if you get one of the harder types, but wood look tile can crack and when it does, you'll need to replace it. At that point, it's really good if you have spare tile left over from the installation, because you could have a hard time finding the same color again.
Well, we think that covers all the pros and cons of wood look tile that are important to know about. Now it's time to come to one of our locations to see the gorgeous wood looks in person and choose which one is right for you!
At Avalon Flooring, we want to make sure you're happy from your first step in our showroom to your first step on your new flooring—and as your partner in home design, we'll be there every step along the way. Consider us your "One-Stop Shopping" destination for all things flooring…(and window treatments)!
Our design consultants are equipped with the knowledge to guide you through the wide selection of products we offer, and our expert installation team is professionally trained to make sure everything gets installed the way you envision. We know your home is an expression of your sense of style, and we're here to make sure you'll be proud of it for years to come.
If you have any questions, please email us.