When first introduced years ago, many wondered whether the “wood look” tile category had staying power or would simply end up as another passing fad. Well, it’s proven to have serious staying power. It has rapidly gained in popularity among homeowners and is now seen as a viable alternative to traditional hard wood flooring. No longer relegated to just kitchens and bathrooms, wood look tiles are now being used throughout the house, allowing for a continual floor from work space to play space. New technologies have allowed for a highly customizable manufacturing process resulting in countless new designs, sizes and textures. This versatility has made these tiles an option for everything from urban loft to rustic country.
Helena Birch tile line from MSI Stone
Here are some of the latest trends in this category, and tips to help determine if these tiles are right for your next remodeling project!
Look for these tiles in new sizes and shapes as well as finishes. Tile manufacturers are now producing shorter, narrower planks for an elegant look that is well suited to herringbone patterns. Daltile introduced a 4” wide tile plank earlier this year. At the same time the planks are also getting bigger, with 60” long now available for a more continuous “real wood” look. Depending on your style, you can get brick sizes, hexagons, and even mosaic patterns, creating even more opportunities for wood looks in interior design.
Fortis Arbor wood tile mosaics by Flux Studios
New tile products can authentically replicate both new and traditional wood styles. We’re seeing new clean, simple Scandinavian wood tile products as well as advances in traditional rustic oak looks. Tile technology can now add the chipped edges, saw marks and other “imperfections” that add rustic character.
Reclaimed wood look tiles can now capture the rich tone and vintage look of real wood in a much more cost effective and durable way…with no long-term maintenance or splinters!
A distressed wood looking tile from the porcelain Blendart collection by Ceramica Sant Agostino
One of the knocks on wood look tile has been that grout joints make it look unauthentic. Wood grain tiles are now being produced with rectified edges which are mechanically finished so they are both precise and consistent, allowing the tiles to be installed closer together with grout joints as narrow as 3/16 of an inch.
The Ecowood Argent line from MSI Stone with rectified edges and minimal grout lines
With so many new design and size options that expertly replicate the look of real wood, are you ready to consider wood look tile for your next flooring project? Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of tile over real wood to help with your decision.
- Wood look tile offers the durability of ceramic tiles with the warm, inviting patterns of hardwood floors.
- Traditional wood floors are very susceptible to dents, scratches and water damage, whereas ceramic tile are virtually indestructible.
- Regular maintenance and cleaning is much easier with tile compared to finished wood flooring.
- Wood look tiles also offer much more flexible installation options compared to hard wood flooring.
- Tile can be installed on concrete slabs and are better suited for moist areas, like bathrooms, laundry areas and basements.
Lastly, while new innovative wood look tile products have come with higher prices, they are still much more affordable than most hardwood flooring options—and are more in durable, resilient and easy to care for.