Wood-look tile is one of the hardwood alternatives, but how good is it? If you’re considering this option for your flooring project, you’re probably asking yourself this question. For an answer, we may need to look at what advantages wood-look tile comes with, as well as the downsides. So, brace yourself as we delve into the world of tile flooring, examining the pros, cons, how to find the right tile, and best brands to choose from.
Read this review to its end. By the time you finish, you will be adequately informed to decide whether to opt for wood-look tile or not. Should you choose to stick to tile, you will know what kind is suitable for your home. Let’s get started.
Tile flooring will look as good as new for years. Why? Because spills won’t stain it easily, your pets won’t leave it scratched, and children playing on it won’t cause noticeable wear. Compare this hardiness of tile to that of hardwood. You will see why wood-like tile is better than natural wood if you have a busy home. Granted, hardwood flooring can be refinished. But doesn’t that add to the costs of an already expensive flooring? Besides, durability as a result of resistance to damage is better than having to conceal damage by refinishing.
Tile flooring may be long-lasting, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about subjecting it to harsh conditions. Dropping a heavy object on it can be disastrous. You would risk chipping the floor, a damage that cannot be rectified as easily as that of hardwood.
Can be installed anywhere
Tile is waterproof, which means it can be installed in any area of your home. From the kitchen, bathroom, mudroom to the basement, there’s no limit.
Dampness will not cause it to buckle, unlike other floor types such as hardwood or laminate. If you want a waterproof tile flooring, you may have to choose the quality type. Porcelain tile withstands damp conditions better than ceramic tile. Tile can be installed without requiring a subfloor such as plywood. It sticks to cement easily unlike other floor types, saving you the costs of laying a specific subfloor. You only need to ensure the cement base is free from cracks. It should also be uniformly level unless you want a tile flooring that has raised pieces.
Safe for the environment
Wood-look tile is made from environmentally friendly materials such as sand and clay. What’s more, discarded tile can be recycled. The tile pieces can be ground to become useful raw material for paving roads and a host of other uses. High temperatures are involved in the manufacture of tiles. As a result, volatile compounds cannot exist in the final product. It means wood-look tile won’t outgas toxic VOCs, making it safe for you and the environment.
Few other floors come close to attaining the level of ecofriendliness tile offers. If you’re looking for a floor that won’t make you part of the environmental degradation, you know what option to consider.
The variety of choice tile flooring offers is incredible. You can get virtually any color or tone. The graining patterns available are also numerous. All this at no extra cost, unlike with hardwood where more vibrant colors and patterns are pricier.
What’s more, you can have the style of tile flooring customized at the point of production where you get to choose your preferred color and pattern. Doing so would cost you more, but it allows you a chance to benefit from your creativity. You will have a design of your heart and not a predetermined one. The sizes you get with tile are also many, allowing you to replicate hardwood in a way that’s closer to the real thing.
Ideal if you have pets
Wood-look tile is an advantage if you keep pets in your home. It won’t scratch or stain, unlike other floor types such as hardwood. You can allow your dog on the floor, regardless of their size, and not worry about damage to the floor’s surface.
Despite tile flooring resisting scratches better than many other floors, it may not be comfortable for pets. The flooring can be utterly cold and hard. It could cause your pet discomfort, especially if it stays most of the time indoors. However, you can prevent the discomfort by investing in a comfy bed. You can then train the pet to lie on it and not on the cold tile floor. To avoid cases where pet fur or paw marks show on your tile flooring, opt for light toned varieties. Dark colors reveal marks or pet hairs more than brighter colors.
More value for money
Wood-look tile offers more for less. Compared to hardwood, there are many styles to choose from, and at a lower price. Color, too, doesn’t affect the cost of tile. You can have the flooring in the tone of exotic hardwood such as mahogany, but at a fraction of the cost of real wood.
Modern technology has enabled for the production of tiles that look much more like hardwood. It means a more stylish floor without costing you an arm and a leg to acquire it. Wood-look tile also offers you a pretty durable floor at a price you can afford. Compared to what you would pay for a hardwood flooring of similar durability, tile is more economical.
Say “Bye” to allergies
Tile repels allergens to create a floor that doesn’t cause allergic reactions. Dust mite, pollen, and pet dander won’t easily settle on smooth tile. If they do, cleaning them off is always a breeze. Another reason while a tile floor doesn’t cause allergies is the absence of VOCs. Unlike laminate or vinyl, tile flooring emits no allergy-causing chemicals whatsoever. It makes the floor an excellent option if you or one of your family members is prone to allergies. However, you would have to take precautions to ensure your wood-look tile doesn’t allow mold to grow. A damp subfloor and broken grout lines can give rise to allergy-causing mold. To prevent this from occurring, waterproof the subfloor. Ensure grout lines are in good condition by sealing them annually, or whenever they show signs of allowing the entry of moisture.
Easy to care for
Wood-look tile is one of the easiest to maintain. You only need a soft broom, a vacuum, and a mop. Sweeping it daily while supplementing it with an occasional mop-up will ensure it stays in excellent condition. Unlike hardwood and most other floors, wood-look tile can withstand a majority of cleaning materials. Some cleaners that would wear off a hardwood surface would be safe on tile.
However, it’s advisable that you stay away from harsh cleaners or abrasives. They tend to damage grout and expose the floor to other elements. Water doesn’t damage tile, but that doesn’t allow you to keep it standing on the floor for long. It could seep through the seams, especially if the grout sealant is broken and is letting water into the seams.
The Cons of wood-look tile
Tile is not without drawbacks:
Can be hard
If installed in an area where one is likely to spend extended hours standing, tile can cause discomfort. The flooring does not have any bounce or give, and can press against your feet to cause aches. Covering your kitchen floor with tile may, therefore, not be a good choice. Despite this, you may feel attracted to the many benefits of wood-look tile and go on to install it. Should that happen, spread a soft mat or rug in the area where you stand for long hours. Doing so helps to protect your feet. It offers you comfort to prevent fatigue and aches.
Installation is difficult
Unlike other types of floors that can be a DIY project, tile flooring requires a professional to install. Arranging the pieces to create a wood-look appearance or pattern can be tricky. Blending the tones to achieve a realistic hardwood look can also be difficult if you’re not experienced.
Without installation skills slight problems with the subfloor such as cracks may not catch your eye, leading to an uneven floor. Still, not waterproofing the subfloor adequately could lead to mold growth and damage to grout. A professional would be better placed to ensure installation is done correctly and after the proper subfloor preparation.
Tile is slippery
Walking on smooth tile can be hazardous, especially if the surface is wet. The flooring is so slippery that slips and falls are pretty common. Installing it in the bathroom may not be a wise choice. Or, if there are children and seniors in your home. Pets can also slip on tile flooring and get injured. You would need to consider these dangers when choosing the type of flooring suitable for your home. To work around the problem of a slippery floor, choose wood-look tile that’s non-slip. There are grooved or hand-scraped varieties that provide a textured surface to prevent slipperiness.
Have shoes on whenever you wash tile flooring. Shoes provide friction between the floor and your feet to prevent slipping. Also, allow the floor to dry completely before your family members can walk on it, especially the children. With these tips, you don’t need to be scared of installing wood-look tile in your home.
Can be cold
Tile flooring can be unbearably cold. Stepping on it barefoot can be a nightmare, especially if the climate of your area is cold. During the winter season, a bare tile flooring can make you loathe walking about in your home. The solution? Use of radiant heating underneath the flooring. It helps to make it cozy rather than a source of discomfort. With the right heating system, you can turn your cold wood-look tile into a warm one. And when summer comes, you can save on heating costs while enjoying the cool indoors.
What if installing a radiant heating system is not within your budget? You can use fluffy rugs. Spread them in the places you frequent most, such as the living room and kitchen. Don’t forget to spare one for your pet. Pets also find tile flooring too cold for comfort.
After looking at the advantages and disadvantages of tile flooring, it’s now time to discuss the materials it’s available in.
Ceramic and porcelain wood-look
Tile flooring comes as either porcelain or ceramic. The two types of the flooring differ concerning price, durability, and more. Here are highlights of the characteristics as well as the differences between the two.
Porcelain repels water better than ceramic, which makes it ideal for areas that are highly damp. Such areas include the bathroom, mudroom or even the basement. Also, areas that experience rain such as the patio or balcony. Porcelain wears better, and is suitable for places where a floor is likely to experience extreme beating. It’s suitable if you have children who are likely to engage in activities that could cause wear or damage to the floor’s surface.
Regarding cost, porcelain tiles are pricier compared to ceramic tiles. A square foot of porcelain costs from $4 to $12, compared to that of ceramic tile where prices range from $2 to $8 a square foot.
Porcelain tile can stand up to temperature variations better. As a result, you can install it in outdoor places such as patios. It would not be prone to cracking as ceramic tile would. Porcelain tile exists in two varieties; through-body tiles and color-body tiles. Through-body porcelain tiles have the color or pattern running the whole thickness of the flooring. It hides damage better since chipping will not show up a different color.
Color-body porcelain has its pattern on the surface only. It won’t hide scratches as excellently since chipping of the surface exposes a different color.
Concerning hardness, porcelain tiles are harder than ceramic tiles. They’re, therefore, more difficult to cut. They require an expert to shape during installation. Ceramic tile cuts quickly and easily, being less dense. It makes installing it easier, especially if you happen to go the DIY way.
For durability, porcelain tile beats ceramic hands down. Porcelain resists wear better, and isn’t prone to cracking or chipping. It’s the reason why it makes a good choice to heavy traffic areas. On the other hand, ceramic is suitable if you’re on a tight budget. Despite this type of tile flooring being more prone to damage, it still does well if not exposed to extreme beating. Apart from limiting you in the areas you can install it, ceramic tile flooring makes an affordable option.
Porcelain or ceramic?
Now that we have seen the differences between the two tiles, which one should you choose for your flooring project? The answer is, it depends. If your home is not prone to heavy traffic or damp conditions, ceramic would just do well. Also, if you want an affordable tile flooring due to budget constraints. On the other hand, porcelain tile fits a number of situations. If you’re after a durable floor that serves you for years, porcelain is the better option. Also if you have a busy home, and you don’t want a floor that cannot stand up to wear. Or, if you want a floor you can install anywhere in your home including moisture-prone areas.
How to select your wood-look tile flooring
When shopping for your tile flooring, there are various things to look for. You want a floor that’s affordable, durable, eco-friendly, versatile, and so on. Here are the qualities to look out for:
TCNA and PCTA certification marks
The Tile Council of North America (TCNA), and the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency are two bodies concerned with ensuring quality and safe tile flooring products. The agencies set the guidelines and regulations that tile manufacturers must follow for the production and installation of tile floors. Ensure the flooring you choose has the certification marks of these two agencies.
The graining patterns and tones on wood-look tiles are digitally printed. Clear, sharp images to replicate hardwood more realistically indicates a quality floor. Only choose tiles with color and patterns that come out as close to the real hardwood as possible.
Rectified and non-rectified
Rectified tiles mean tiles that have been checked for imperfections such as warping or unevenness. They also come with well-finished edges that provide for better grout lines. It’s advisable that you select this type of tile flooring over the non-rectified type.
Tile flooring makes use of a variation chart to show the differences or variations you can get from it. The chart runs from a level of 0 to 4. As you go up the scale, the variations increase. Choose tiles with a variation value of V4.
The PEI scale is used to give a measure of how hard a tile flooring is. Ceramic tile, being softer, has a hardness value that ranges between 3 and 4. Porcelain is somewhat harder, with a rating ranging from 3 to 5 PIE. Depending on the traffic and level of risk for the floor in your home, choose a value that suits the situation.
Always check for online reviews of the flooring you choose to buy. Reviews show you what to expect from the tile brand based on the experiences of previous customers. You cannot get it wrong with this. However, you should have a balanced view of what people have to say. Some complaints may be too minor. Others may have been caused by customer mistakes at the time of installation.
Now, onto the budgeting phase of your wood-look tile flooring project.
Tile pricing and installation cost guide
Prices of tile vary depending on various factors such as quality and type. High-end porcelain tiles cost between $6-$12 a square foot, while quality ceramic tiles cost around $3-$8 a square foot. You can find tiles selling for less than this, but the quality is usually low unless the sale involves offers or discounts. Customized tile, on the other hand, can be quite pricey, averaging about $20 or more a square foot.
Don’t forget to budget for grout when calculating the cost of your tile flooring project. Also, add extra tiles to the amount you need to cover your floor. This is to cater for the wasted materials during installation. Add around 20 percent extra tiles.
You may want to look out for promotional offers if working with a strained budget. Companies giving clearance sales to pave way for new stock would make a valuable source of your flooring materials. Take advantage of the discounts on company websites and save on flooring costs.
You’re now all set to pick your wood-look tile. To make the process easier for you, here are popular brands to consider for guaranteed quality.
Wood-look tile brand reviews
Ragno tiles come in 5 different varieties, with over 17 colors and designs to choose from. Prices average from $5-$7 a square foot. The tiles are realistic wood-look, with the patterns created using 3D printing techniques. Ragno USA also produces metal and glass tiles.
The company has been in the business of supplying tiles flooring for more than 30 years. It began operations in 1982. Over the years, the company has built its reputation to become a leader in the tile market. You can purchase Ragno tiles online or at the local supplier.
Porcelanosa manufactures two lines of wood-look tile flooring. There’s the Par-ker collection which comes in over 75 colors and various textures. The Seedwood line features more than 50 colors and a range of designs and sizes to choose from. Porcelanosa products are high-end, and are among the toughest you can get. The tiles are made to withstand temperature fluctuations, which makes them suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications. The company itself is popular for manufacturing quality flooring products. It has been operating since 1973. Porcelanosa tiles are available the world over.
The range of choice offered by Marazzi tiles is among the widest you can get when shopping for tile flooring. With hundreds of colors and more than 20 floor lines, you will have a tile floor that fits your preferences. The floor also comes in a variety of sizes.
Marazzi USA has been operating for more than three decades now. Their products are eco-friendly, and present an excellent choice if you’re environment-conscious. Prices range from $2 to $5 for a square foot.
Flooring tiles from this company offer you15 different collections, with various colors and textures to choose from. With tile flooring from MS International, you can be sure that you will get a hardwood replica that suits your taste. Prices will depend on the tile variety and size.
MS International manufactures not only tile, but also a variety of other products such as stone slabs, and sinks. Their products are available at leading stores and various local retailers. You can also order MS International wood-like tiles online.
Tiles from this company come in 19 different colors. Prices start from $5 to $11 for a square foot. The tiles are eco-friendly and safe for home installation. Vitromex has been in the business of making tile flooring for long, having started operations in 1967. The company is a responsible manufacturer, which means it manufactures environmentally friendly products.
Tiles from this company offer you an incredible range of colors and tones to choose from. Numbering more than 75, it’s unlikely that you will lack a flooring color or shade that will interest you. Daltile floors also come in as many as 18 different lines.
Daltile has been supplying tiles for decades, having begun operations in 1947. The company is among the largest tile manufacturing companies in the US today, employing more than ten thousand people. Their products are available at various leading stores as well as online.
Merola tiles come in 40 different colors and over 20 tile sizes to choose from. Prices range from $6 upwards. The price is somewhat high. But then, you’re assured of quality. The flooring is made by a company that’s well known for producing satisfactory flooring materials. Merola has been in operation for more than a decade. Their tiles are available at the company’s distributor stores, or you can order online through the company’s official website.
Tiles from this company come in more than 35 colors and 6 different collections to choose from. They’re an eco-friendly choice of tiles that are made from as much as 40 percent recycled materials.
Florim USA is a leading manufacturer of wood-look tile, and many homeowners love their flooring products. Their tile floors are reasonably priced considering they’re among the quality brands available. You can buy Florim tiles both online and at physical stores.
Having found the wood-look tile of your choice, let’s now move on to the essential part of your project; installing your tile flooring.
Wood-look tile installation process
Installing tile flooring requires a skilled professional. This will cost you, but prices aren’t that high. Labor costs range at around $5 for each square foot. As with other floor types, this depends on the work involved. Price may also vary from one installer to another. Get several quotes before deciding the installer to contract.
Tile flooring requires a cement bed to install. If you don’t have it already, the installer may have to put up one. If the existing cement base has cracks that need to be filled up or unevenness to be leveled, the installer will need to prepare it first. They may even suggest a whole mortar bed for a subfloor that’s severely damaged.
The process of laying a new cement bed may lengthen the time your flooring project takes. The mortar would need to stay for about four weeks before it’s ready for the tile installation. Besides that, you will incur the extra subfloor preparation costs. You should be prepared for this by including the expenses in your budget.
Other costs include a waterproofing membrane. This may not be necessary since not every subfloor needs one. Your installer would be better placed to advise you on whether it’s required or not for your situation.
Maintaining your wood-look tile floor
Wood-look tile floors are no hassle to care for. Use tile vacuum or a static broom for the daily cleaning. For a thorough cleanup of the floor’s surface, use a steam or microfiber mop. It will keep your wood-look tile flooring germ and dust-free. While tile can withstand a variety of cleaners, mild ones are more advisable. Or you could just stick to warm water and soap. Remember, grout lines harbor dust as well as other loose dirt, so be sure to scrub them every once in a while.
A look at the wood-look tile alternatives
Are you still undecided as to whether you want to install tile flooring in your home? If so, you may want to look at the following alternatives.
Despite being expensive, hardwood offers a more natural looking floor. The grain patterns in solid wood are also unique and cannot be found in other floor types. However, hardwood limits you to moisture-free areas, as wood gets damaged by water easily.
Laminate offers an affordable alternative to wood-look tile. It provides a stylish floor at a price that won’t harm your pocket. Available in a wide range of styles and patterns, it can replicate hardwood in a way that looks realistic. But then, laminate is prone to moisture damage, and may not be suitable for damp places.
Vinyl offers a soft floor that’s more comfortable than tile. It’s also not as cold a tile flooring, in addition to being water resistant. Today’s vinyl is highly durable and low-cost. A significant drawback of vinyl is that it isn’t versatile enough.
The benefits offered by wood-look tile flooring are many. It suits high traffic areas since it resists scratching. If you have children or pets, tile makes an excellent option. Wood-look tile is also easy to clean, in addition to being safe health wise. If you’re allergic, tile would make a safe flooring for your home.
There are the downsides of installing wood-look tile. The floor is hard and can cause your feet to ache. It can also cause your children to hurt themselves as they play on the hard surface. During cold weathers, tile can turn out to really cold, making it uncomfortable to walk on.
If you’re prepared to put up with the few drawbacks wood-look tile comes with, there no reason not to install it. Besides, you can use rugs to provide soft areas on the floor or use radiant heating systems to drive away the cold on the floor’s surface. Despite the downsides, wood-look tile is a flooring investment worth your money.