Wood-look tile is a versatile and resilient choice but there are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Traditional wood floors remain a popular choice, but what if there was a way to get the look with a more durable, eco-friendly, and budget-conscious material? Enter: wood-look tile. “If you love the look of wood but need the durability of tiles, wood-look tiles are the perfect swap,” says Nicole Corona, associate merchant at The Home Depot.
Hardwood floors are desirable for a host of reasons, but they can also be an unrealistic choice if budget and wear-and-tear issues are a concern. Traditional wood flooring benefits from longevity and, with certain applications, can even become more appealing with a bit of patina. Plus, there’s the ability to refinish hardwood floors to look like-new when needed. But wood-look tile is an equally versatile option that requires minimal maintenance.
Here’s everything you should know about wood-look tile and whether it’s a worthwhile option for your space.
What Is Wood-Look Tile?
According to the tile team at Floor & Decor, wood-look tile is a manufactured tile made of either porcelain or ceramic that is designed to give the effect of a natural wood product, but with the durability and eco-friendly benefits of tile. Because hardwoods are more porous than tile, the former wear easier. A porcelain or ceramic tile can be used to emulate anything from natural stone, wood, or brick, says Corona, but can be used in heavy-traffic areas like kitchens, entryways, and baths where its smooth surface won’t hold on to dirt or dust as easily. Because it’s both waterproof and can stand up to temperature fluctuations, wood-look tile can be used outdoors, too—just opt for a slip-resistant design.
Pros and Cons of Wood-Look Tile
If you’re looking for scratch-resistance and a waterproof flooring, tile can’t be beat. “Wood-look tile offers you the durability of tile, as well as best looks and on-trend styles you may find in other types of wood-look planks,” says Corona. In order to get the most of a wood-look tile, it’s important to find a knowledgeable installer who can ensure proper care is taken at every level of the install process.
Pro: Cost of Material
As always, price can be a big factor when weighing wood-look versus true wood options. “Wood-look tile is significantly cheaper in comparison to true hardwood floors,” says Corona. “Hardwood floors can cost up to $15 per square foot while tile can range from $1.50-$5 per square foot.”
Con: Professional Installation Recommended
Because porcelain is such a strong material, it requires special skill when it comes to cutting. For that reason, Corona typically suggests hiring a professional for installation as it can be out of the wheelhouse of an inexperienced DIYer.
Con: Installation Cost
While cost per tile is less compared to true hardwoods, it will cost more to install a wood-look tile. “Its long-term durability, however, offers savings over time,” assures Corona.
Rooms Best Suited for Wood-Look Tile
When it comes to selecting a wood-look tile, the best place to start is by considering both the wear-and-tear associated with the space as well as your style preferences. From there you can rest assured that you’re choosing the best product for your needs.
“Tile flooring is perfect for high-moisture rooms that have the potential to get wet, like bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and basements,” says Corona. “Some tiles work better for walls while others are best for floors. Understanding the difference will make all the difference in your tile project.”
Corona suggests considering durability needs as well as maintenance concerns and slip-resistance, but budget should also factor in. “Choose more expensive tiles for smaller projects such as a guest bath or unique entryway floor,” she suggests.
How to Select Wood-Look Tile
There are three primary factors to consider when it comes to selecting a tile: color, size, and rating. Tile types have varying level of thickness and each will have an impact on your room’s overall look. “For instance, large tile can make small spaces look more expansive and smaller tile can make an area look more intimate,” she says.
It’s also important to note that all tile is both graded and rated. Corona suggests looking for a Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) hardness rating of at least 4 to ensure your tile is durable enough for residential use. Quality grades are also a necessary consideration. “Grade 1 tiles contain no flaws or defects, Grade 2 tiles contain slight imperfections, and Grade 3 tiles are thinner and designed exclusively for walls,” says Corona. “Use Grade 1 or 2 tiles for floors.”
Consider color as a way to camouflage wear over time or bring warmth, lightness, or brightness to a space. Color choice can also affect how your tile wears over time. “If you want to add more character to a bath or kitchen, choose patterned floor tiles or specific types of tile, such as brightly colored porcelain,” says Corona.
How to Determine How Much Tile You’ll Need
Determining the appropriate amount of tile you’ll need for your project is just as important as settling on the perfect style, grade, and rated option. “When determining how much tile you need, don’t guesstimate, calculate,” says Corona. She suggests using a tile calculator, but you can also consult your tile installer, supplier, or even manufacturer in some cases. “Don’t forget to purchase 10% overage to account for errors in calculation or unplanned installation challenges,” she advises.
There are a variety of reasons why a professional is recommended for the install of wood-look tile, beginning with the nature of the material. “Tile is a manufactured process, so depending on each product there will be repeats of the graphic,” says a representative from the Floor & Decor tile team. “It’s important that the installer is paying attention to this and separating them as needed.” A professional is also going to be up to date on installation trends and standards, ensuring your flooring needs and style considerations are met.
Pros also have the expertise to help you achieve a more realistic, wood-like appearance. “If you want your wood-like tile to appear more like real wood, create a random stagger when tiling for a more natural installation,” says Corona. “Another way to create a more natural look is to match your grout to the tile color.” She also asserts that while the grout needs to be sealed, the porcelain or ceramic tiles themselves do not.
Matney Construction, located in Mount Airy, Maryland, specializes in building new homes and residential remodeling. We know that the decision to build or remodel a home is no easy thing. As a family-owned and operated business, we work closely with our clients to create their dream homes, from custom floor plans and options to bath and kitchen remodels. Whether it’s a single room or an entire home, we pride ourselves on meeting your quality standards, timeline, and budget. Contact us today to have our professional design experts help you make your home unique, stylish, and in tune with your personality. (410) 635-2500 email@example.com:firstname.lastname@example.org