HARDWOOD VS. WOOD LOOK-ALIKE TILE

Everyone loves hardwood floors because of the warm and welcoming appearance that they create in a home. It has consistently been one of the most popular flooring for centuries, but it isn’t always one of the easiest ones to maintain. Luckily there have been recent advancements that offer the same attractive appearance with the benefits of durable tiles. That being said, there are both advantages and disadvantages when choosing tiles that look like hardwood.

1. What are Tiles that Look Like Wood?

If you’ve come across the concept of tiles that look like wood over the past couple years you are not alone. They have surged in popularity due to a number of benefits that they offer homeowners and retail spaces. For those who aren’t entirely sure what to expect when coming across tiles that look like wood flooring, all you really need to know is that they are exactly what they sound like. They are generally ceramic or porcelain tiles which have a pattern which mimics the look of hardwood flooring.

 

2. Pros and Cons of Wood Look-alike Tiles vs Hardwood Flooring

So what exactly are the pros and cons of these tiles in comparison to classic hardwood flooring?

  • Life span: The truth is that both hardwood flooring and tile flooring offer long lifespans to homeowners. When hardwood is properly cared for it can last over a century, and the same goes for porcelain tiles. They are made to last. The difference lies in the effort that is required for a long lifespan. Hardwood requires more upkeep and thought if it is going to last for long, tile on the other hand requires minimal work on the part of the homeowner.
  • Resistance: Porcelain tile easily wins when it comes to resistance. Hardwood is durable but has a harder time withstanding high impact areas and warps with water. Porcelain tiles, and ceramic for that matter, are waterproof and are often used in bathrooms and basements as a result. The warping that occurs with wood is not a concern in this case. Likewise, porcelain in particular, is known for its ability to withstand high traffic areas thanks to the strength of the material.
  • Hygiene: Tile is easily cleaned and disinfected thanks to its smooth and non-porous nature. Thanks to this it can also withstand harsh chemicals without any damage. This makes cleaning straightforward and easy. Wood flooring on the other hand require more delicate treatment. Harsh chemicals will damage the wood and eventually create the need for repair.
  • Fireproof: Needless to say, that tile is less flammable than it’s hardwood counterpart. Wood is used to feed fires of all kinds while tile is more difficult to burn. Any environment where open flames are present should seriously consider tiles that look like wood as an alternative to hardwood flooring. Even in rooms with small wood-burning fireplaces, it is worth considering making the switch.
  • Repairs: In both flooring cases it is easier to replace damaged tiles or planks rather than replacing the whole floor. The process is similar for both though. They involve pulling up the damaged part of the floor and then fitting in the replacement pieces.
  • Eco friendly: Tiles have been winning points with some homeowners because of their eco friendly associations. Rather than cutting down adult trees which took years to grow to make flooring, these tiles offer the option to achieve that look without environmental consequences. Tile is instead made from baked clay, something that can easily be made and replaced.
  • Price: Price points for materials can vary greatly. Even within the hardwood category there is a range of prices. Different species will run different amounts. Porcelain tiles are also typically on the more expensive side because of the benefits and advantages that they offer. Ceramic is often the least expensive option, but the best thing to visit your local flooring store to figure out what is the best decision for your unique situation.
  • Look: In the end you receive the same great look from both. Wood grain has a warm and inviting appearance that always adds a touch of class to any space. Whether you choose tile that has a wood grain appearance on it or tiles laid to look like wooden planks, you will achieve an attractive finish.
  • Trend: Hardwood flooring has been a classic choice for centuries. It is the same case for tiles, but tiles that look like hardwood is a relatively new trend. Only time will tell if it sticks around, but it looks promising for the time being. They have only been increasing in popularity and use since their introduction. So why not become an early adopter of a promising new development?
  • Home value: Porcelain tiles in particular as well as hardwood flooring are great ways to increase the over value of your home. This an important factor for anyone who is thinking about selling their home in the coming years. Both of these materials have traditionally done well for value.

3. Maintenance

So what is the maintenance like for these floors?

  • Weight: Porcelain tiles are notoriously heavy. This makes the transportation and installation process difficult, just don’t forget that this weight offer advantages when it comes to the durability of the tiles. Ceramic tiles are significantly lighter.
  • Price: The price of your flooring will depend mainly on whether you are considering porcelain or ceramic tiles. Ceramic generally runs $2-$8 per square foot while porcelain will cost more like $4-$12. The quality, resistance, and lifespan will be greater for porcelain so it is important to  take more than just the cost into consideration when it comes time to purchase your tiles.
  • Installation: Installation of wood tiles can be tricky to do yourself. It is important to keep an eye out for hairline fractures in the tiles, it can be difficult to stagger them properly to blend tones, and even to make sure the subfloor is perfect. Most flooring companies offer the installation service and it is recommended that professionals do this. If you want to do it yourself just be sure to do the research beforehand. Talk to professionals at the local retailer and even find a friend who has installed tiles before for help if possible.

Conclusion

There are important advantages and disadvantages to remember when choosing tiles that look like hardwood. Each space is different, so take the time to ensure that the right decision

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