Consider Your Budget & Personal Style
Wood-look tile has risen in popularity in large part because, well, it really does look like the real deal. Coming in at a considerably lower price point than hardwood – which can be prohibitively costly – wood-look tile is a great option for homeowners seeking a natural effect without breaking the bank.
Whether you style is contemporary or traditional, wood-look tile is so easily customizable that it can be tailor-made to fit your style. Manufacturers now develop a variety of widths to imitate hardwood planks, and tiles are available up to 42 inches in length.
However, there is one potential giveaway when trying to achieve a hardwood effect with wood-look tile. No matter what type of tiling you choose, it will still require grouting. To minimize grouting, consider using wood-look tile that has rectified edges. Rectified edges are finished mechanically, so they are both precise and consistent. The refined edges allow tiles to be installed closer together with a minimal grout, creating an even better hardwood effect.
However, if you’re a purist, nothing can replace the organic feel of hardwood flooring. No matter how realistic wood-look tiling may get, nothing can beat the perfectly seamless design of hardwood like real hardwood.
Evaluate Your Location
Don’t forget to consider where you live when thinking about flooring. Hardwood naturally stays warm, which can be wonderful for homes in cold climates. If you have the budget for it, hardwood is also great for radiant heated floors (though not all radiant heating systems work with hardwood). But for residents of sunny Southwest Florida, the feel of tile underfoot can be refreshingly cool. Tile tends to stay cool to the touch, which helps to keep the house – and its residents – cooler, regardless of the weather.
Assess Your Lifestyle
One sure-fire way to tell hardwood from wood-look tile is to simply walk on it. Tile is devoid of any natural sound absorbing features and is notoriously loud to walk on. And if you plan to stand for long periods of time, tile can be tough on your feet. Alternatively, hardwood will absorb more sound and is easy underfoot, making it perfect for cocktail parties, family get-togethers, and that holiday bake-a-thon.
Remember Your Pets
Don’t forget to factor in your furry friends into your choice of flooring. Hardwood flooring is susceptible to scratching. If you’re considering hardwood, be sure to protect floors with a high-quality urethane coating and keep your pet’s claws trimmed to reduce damage. While tile stands up better to dog and cat claws than hardwood, it can be hard and uncomfortable for pets to lie on. If you are considering tile, be sure to provide pets with a comfortable place to rest and sleep.
In today’s hectic world, upkeep doesn’t get much easier than it does with wood-look tile. Tile is notoriously easy to maintain. It’s also water resistant, making it perfect for adding a natural element to bathrooms, mudrooms, or entryways without worrying about water damage. Better still, if a tile cracks, it can simply be replaced – without the need to refinish the whole floor.