Natural hardwoods aren’t for everyone. If you don’t think hardwood flooring is right for your home, is there any way to still get that hardwood aesthetic? Is there a flooring alternative that still maintains some of the natural look of hardwood, without all the susceptibility to scratching and staining?
Do you want the natural look of hardwoods in your home, but worry about your pets, family, and environment ruining their beauty with scratches and stains? Hardwoods are a timeless option in flooring, but they require a fair amount of maintenance and care if you want to keep them looking like new.
If you have dogs or cats, these fluffy friends might leave frustratingly noticeable scratches in your beautiful wood grain. If something spills and you don’t notice it in time, you could end up with a big nasty stain in the middle of your floor. Stains and scratches are the worst enemies of natural hardwood owners everywhere, and for some, they may be a deal breaker.
If this sounds familiar, then wood look tile might be for you! What is wood look tile? Relatively new, wood look tile is porcelain or ceramic tile that is textured to look just like real wood flooring, but have the long life and durability of ceramic tiles. Wood look tiles are also created in long strips and wide planks to mimic real hardwood flooring.
Yes, there absolutely is! Wood look tile flooring has beautiful grain patterns that imitate the natural look of solid hardwoods. This option has become increasingly popular in recent years. As this flooring technology has improved, the look of the tiles has become more and more convincing. But what exactly is this flooring and how does it achieve its natural wood look?
Porcelain and Ceramic Wood Tile Flooring
Wood look flooring is made of either porcelain or ceramic powder that is moistened, shaped into tiles, and solidified. The main difference between porcelain and ceramic is density. Porcelain is made from finer powder than ceramic, making it denser. Because of its density, porcelain is better for outdoor areas.
Additionally, this difference in hardness often makes porcelain a fair bit more expensive than ceramic. Since wood tile options are available in both materials, the biggest reason to choose porcelain over ceramic is for extra durability in high-traffic or outdoor areas. Manufacturers create the natural wood look by using high quality ink-jet printers to print the grain pattern onto the tile.
If you choose a good manufacturer, the detailed patterns in these faux wood tiles will amaze you. After the wood grain is printed on, the tiles are given a layer of varnish and put in a kiln to solidify them.
Benefits Of Wood Look Flooring
Imitation wood tiling is even more durable than real hardwood. It is difficult to scratch or stain and does not readily absorb moisture. The only way to really damage your ceramic wood tile flooring is by dropping something really heavy on it. This could potentially chip or crack the tiles, but the possibility of this is fairly low under normal circumstances. As long as you aren’t planning to lift weights in your wood tile bathroom, you’ll be fine.
Unlike true hardwood flooring, the base material of wood look tiling is essentially the same, no matter what style you choose. This means that you don’t have to worry about whether one style of tiling will be more durable than another. The hard glaze applied to them during manufacturing gives another layer of protection. This glaze is made of liquid glass and is applied before the firing process.
Obviously, this added layer makes these tiles much more long-lasting and damage resistant than natural hardwood flooring. While the term “glazed” seems to imply a high level of sheen, you don’t need to worry about these floors blinding you with reflected light, since they come in various levels of glossiness.
As you can imagine, this flooring option also comes with great flexibility. Because the grain patterns in the tile are printed on, manufacturers can imitate every species, color, and style of wood imaginable.
This makes these wood tiles a very attractive option for creative homeowners who don’t mind the idea of not having “the real thing.” There is no limit to the possibilities, and the best part is that there won’t be much cost variation between styles.
How To Install Wood Look Tile
The most challenging and time-consuming part of wood tile flooring is installation. Properly aligning and securing this kind of floor is no easy task. First, the installer needs to be sure that the subfloor is even. Laying tile on an uneven subfloor will lead to an uneven and unsatisfying final product.
Second, the installer must consider the tile layout that will create the most aesthetically pleasing result. Remember, you’re imitating a natural product, and that takes a trained eye and careful planning. Because of the way floor tiles are designed, each row of tiling must be staggered properly to avoid lippage. Finally, the gaps between tiles have to be filled with grout. This process takes several days and can be a daunting task for someone unfamiliar with the process.
Here at May River Flooring, we pride ourselves on having a seasoned team of installation experts who can help you with all of your flooring jobs. Whether it’s a small project, like retiling your bathroom, or a much larger job, like installing the perfect floor for your brand-new home, we’ve got you covered.
You can see an in-depth comparison of wood vs. ceramic flooring here
If you are in love with the natural look of hardwood floors but are hesitant about the maintenance and upkeep that comes with this flooring type, then wood look tiling may be right for you. It’s durable enough even for the busiest of households and won’t be easily damaged by moisture.
It also comes with a wide variety of style and color choices, meaning that you won’t be limited in your aesthetic decisions. When looking for floors that are durable, versatile, and beautiful, wood look tiling is a great choice.