Love the look of real wood floors, but worry your room isn't appropriate for the material? Now there's an option for any space. Wood-look tile can be used in any climate and any room, even water-prone areas like bathrooms and kitchens.
Porcelain and ceramic tile manufacturers are now able to reproduce the look of wood at a reasonable price. Unlike design attempts of years past, newer products have highly rendered wood grains, realistic colors, and picture-perfect details like knotholes. There are also many vinyl options on the market, but these products offer less dimension and detail than porcelain or ceramic.
There are tiles that replicate the look of nearly every wood species, such as traditional oak or exotic wenge. Love whitewashed driftwood or rustic redwood? If you can dream it, you can likely buy it in wood-look tile. The products come in a wide variety of sizes, from basic 12x12-inch tiles to distinctive 9-inch-wide planks. The tiles also offer interesting application possibilities, including countertops and walls.
More versatile than traditional hardwood, wood-look tile is also easier to maintain, scratch resistant, long lasting, and sturdy enough to withstand heavy foot traffic. The smooth surface doesn't absorb liquid messes and the tiles stand up well to spills, stains, and standing water.
Wood-look tile isn't without downsides, however. The product is colder to the touch than hardwood floors. A good underlayment must be used to absorb sounds and avoid turning your room into an echo chamber. Finally, grout can be problematic. For an authentic look, it's important to install the tile so it reveals only minimal grout lines and to use grout that blends seamlessly with the tile. This process can be difficult and is often best left to a professional, which will add to the overall price of the flooring.