If you are interested in wood flooring but don’t think that it will be durable enough for your home, an expert may have suggested that you consider wood-look tile flooring.
But how can tile look and feel like wood? You’ll be surprised at just how authentic these tiles look and even feel when texture and tone are added.
Wood-look tile can be an excellent alternative to hardwood floors if you are looking for something affordable, durable, and with long life, and which can also deal with water and changes in temperature.
But tiles can be difficult to install and generally comes with a limited warranty, which means that you want to get it right the first time.
So, how can you decide if wood-look tile is the right decision for you? We will get you started in this comprehensive guide. We will look at the benefits and drawbacks, how much you can expect to pay, and what is involved in the installation.
We will also review some of the best brands on the market, and compare wood-like tiles with other wood-look flooring solutions. We’ll finish by answering the most-often-asked questions about wood-look tiles, so that you have all the information you need to make a decision.
This article is broken up into the following sections. Feel free to read it in its entirety or bookmark this page for future reference.
- Wood-Look Tile Pros
- Wood Look Tile Cons
- Porcelain vs Ceramic
- Quality Guidelines
- Pricing Guide
- Wood-Look Tile Brands & Reviews
- Warranty And Lifetime
- Installation Factors
- Maintenance Tips
- Wood-Look Alternatives
- FAQs About Wood-Look Tile Flooring
- The Wrap-Up
Wood-Look Tile Pros
Tile has always been better valued than hardwood. However, until recently, it didn’t come close to delivering the overall warm appearance that is natural to real wood. But, with advances in technology, it’s now easier than ever to duplicate the aesthetics of hardwood at a significant saving.
And that’s just the beginning. When shopping for hardwood, you may have to sacrifice style for savings. But tile is less expensive to produce, so you can often purchase larger tile planks for the same price as smaller formats.
Similarly, your tile’s coloring rarely affects the price tag. Unlike wood, which is separated into species, tile is priced more consistently. Which means, you probably won’t pay any more for replicated mahogany than you would for knotty pine.
It’s a fact. Tile is one of the most durable flooring materials you can buy. If you take care of it, it will still look new in 20 years, unlike its counterparts, hardwood or engineered hardwood (in fact, here’s a comparison between tile & engineered hardwood).
Let’s be honest. Hardwood is beautiful but downright exhausting to maintain. You must be careful of scratches, mindful of spills, and absolutely diligent on your dirt game. If you’re not cautious, your investment will look old and tired within months.
Yes, you can refinish hardwood, but who has the time?
So, what’s the alternative? Tile that looks exactly like wood, but without the prissy attitude. It can handle your clumsy spouse, take on your temperamental toddler, and stand up to your feisty fur babies.
And unlike many other types of flooring, tile can hold up to water and moisture. You shouldn’t flood your floors – but, if they get wet, they won’t warp or buckle.
That’s because tile is impervious to dampness and humidity, provided it’s smooth. It doesn’t require a wood subfloor and adheres directly to cement.
You will, however, need to make sure your subfloor is even and free of cracks. It’s also imperative you waterproof the subfloor and seal the grout to prevent water from becoming trapped underneath.
So, if you’re looking for consistent flooring and a seamless look throughout your home, consider tile. One word of caution: buy enough material to finish the entire floor. As tempting as it is to do one room at a time, waiting may make the job of matching colors and shading difficult.
If you’re craving a flooring solution that allows for endless possibilities, wood-look tile is an excellent option. Not only can you get flooring to match your favorite species of hardwood, but you can also customize the color. That’s right – many high-end tile manufacturers will tailor a design to your specifications.
Even if you can’t afford to splurge on customization, you’ll find a wide selection of tones and textures to suit your style. In addition to the colors found in nature, you can buy tile that mirrors sun-bleached or weathered boards.
And if that’s not enough variety, most flooring manufacturers sell tile in multiple widths and lengths. So, if you’re in love with wide-plank hardwood or cork, you’ll have no trouble replicating that look with tile.
Wood grain tile is perfect for allergy sufferers. It doesn’t harbor dirt and dander like carpet can (that goes for both ceramic and porcelain). It’s also resistant to irritants like pollen and dust mites.
And while the subfloor and grout can technically grow mold, smooth tile is moisture resistant. In fact, if you take the necessary steps to waterproof your subfloor and seal the grout lines yearly, you shouldn’t have any issue with mold or mildew.
If you choose tile flooring with a textured surface, make sure it is watertight. Cracks and crevices can collect liquid and camouflage bacteria growth. When in doubt, check with the manufacturer for maintenance guidelines.
Tile is a wise pet-friendly flooring option for the dog or cat owner who worries about scratches and scuff marks. Even if you have large dogs, quality tile won’t scratch like hardwood can. And unlike other surfaces, your cat can’t shred it or use it as a scratching post.
Plus, if your pet has an accident, it’s simple to clean and it won’t hold the odor. Just be sure to scrub the grout too.
If you install wood-look tile, don’t forget to purchase a cozy bed for your pet. Tile flooring is hard and cold to sleep on.
One more piece of advice: if you share your home with four-legged occupants, opt for medium- to light-colored tile. Darker floors will show every strand of hair (already have this problem? See these pet hair vacuums) and every tiny paw-print.
Another green benefit? Wood-look tile is recyclable. Waste products are ground-up and reused for paving roads and driveways.
Wood Look Tile Cons
1. Difficult Installation
Installing wood-like tile isn’t for the casual weekend warrior. For one, it takes a trained eye to spot hairline cracks or imperfections in the subfloor. If your subfloor is damaged, the tile will look and feel uneven.
Secondly, an inadequate subfloor can become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. A trained installer will know how to protect your tile from dampness and water damage properly.
Finally, wood-look tile can be tricky to layout. You’ll need to stagger the pattern and blend tones to achieve a realistic and appealing design. Not to mention spacing the grout lines consistently throughout the rows requires the patience of a saint.
Tile is notoriously cold to step on. If you live in a cooler climate, tile floors can be downright painful – especially first thing in the morning.
Thankfully, there’s a solution for those who hate the cold but love the look of tile. Since wood-look tile is an extremely affordable flooring choice, you could always splurge on radiant underfloor heating.
Underfloor heating systems are not only comfortable, they’re also economical. The combo of wood-look tile and radiant heating: downright decadent. And if buying tile gives you an excuse to install one of life’s little luxuries, all the better.
If radiant heating isn’t in the budget, no worries. You can duplicate that cozy feeling with a fluffy area rug. Remember to add a warm spot for your pet to snooze too.
If you’ve ever stood on tile for lengthy periods, you know it’s uncomfortable. Tile doesn’t give underfoot like many other types of flooring. If you choose wood-look tile for the kitchen, be sure to buy an anti-fatigue mat for standing at the sink.
Tile is the number one flooring choice for bathrooms. It’s water-resistant and low maintenance, but it’s also hard on your knees if you bathe young children or pets.
Smooth or polished tiles are slippery to walk on when wet. If you have young children or elderly family members, wet tile poses a significant hazard. Pets may also slip on slick tile.
When choosing tile for a mudroom or bathroom, opt for textured or non-slip varieties. You can find wood-look tiles in hand-scraped and grooved designs. These styles improve traction in wet areas.
Don’t forget to wear shoes when washing your floor. Not only does this prevent you from slipping, but it also cuts down on footprints. Remember to block off the room until the tile is dry.
Now that we’ve discussed the pros and cons, let’s move onto the material. Wood-look tile is available in both porcelain and ceramic. There are a few differences between the two, but both function well in residential applications.
Porcelain vs. Ceramic
The most noticeable difference between porcelain and ceramic tile is the price. Ceramic tile runs anywhere from $2.00-$8.00 per square foot, depending on quality. Porcelain costs between $4.00-12.00 per square foot, on average.
The durability of ceramic tile is rated between one and five on the PEI scale. This scale was developed by the Porcelain Enamel Institute and is used for gauging tile hardness and scratch resistance. If you’re shopping for ceramic floor tiles, look for a rating of three or higher. Tile with a rating of one or two is better suited for wall applications.
When installing wood grain tile in damp areas, porcelain is the better choice. Due to the manufacturing process, porcelain is denser and better at repelling water. Because porcelain is baked at higher temperatures, it wears better than conventional ceramic.
As a bonus, you can even install porcelain tiles in semi-outdoor areas like sunrooms or patios. It’s strong enough to withstand minor temperature fluctuations without cracking.
There are two common types of porcelain tiles: through-body and color-body. Through-body means the color and pattern run consistently through the porcelain tile. If you accidentally drop something and chip the tile’s surface, it will be less noticeable.
Color-body porcelain retains only its color throughout the body of the tile. The surface layer contains a baked-on coating to give the tile its sheen. If the outer layer is damaged, there will be a slight difference in appearance.
When choosing between ceramic and porcelain tile, consider how and where it will be used. In some instances, it may be worth paying extra for porcelain, but high-quality ceramic is resistant enough for most homes.
How do you find high-quality tile? Well, that’s the topic of our next section. Here’s a list of guidelines you can follow.
As we mentioned earlier, density is crucial to determining overall tile quality, but it’s not the only factor. You’ll want to make sure your tile is certified and inspected for quality.
The agencies responsible for grading tile quality and standards are the Tile Council of North America and the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency. The councils comprise industry leaders and manufacturer representatives. This group sets the criteria for the design, production, installation, and safety of ceramic and porcelain tiles.
When shopping for tile, make sure your selection carries a TCNA or PCTA certification mark. In addition to individual certifications, be sure to research your tile manufacturer. Larger companies often adhere to higher standards as their reputation is on the line.
If you find yourself debating between rectified and non-rectified tiles, select the former. Rectified tiles are checked for warping and unevenness. Additionally, the edges of rectified tiles are mechanically finished to allow for tighter grout lines and a seamless look.
Our last quality indicator is appearance. High-quality tiles are made with high-resolution images to mimic the graining and color variations found in natural wood. Tiles with clear images are a surefire sign of quality.
There is a widely used rating chart to gauge a tile’s variation level. The ratings run from V0 to V4. The higher the number, the more variation you can expect; for example, tile with substantial differences will have a grade of V4.
As always, make sure you read online customer reviews. While subjective, they are a good indicator of the manufacturer’s reliability.
The cost of wood-look tile fluctuates according to quality, type, and durability. High-quality porcelain tiles will cost an average of $6.00-$12.00 per square foot. Customized porcelain can run upwards of $20.00 per square foot.
Better quality ceramic tiles typically range from $5.00-$10.00 per square foot. However, you can find wood-look tiles for much less. Unfortunately, these styles are usually low-quality and cheap looking. The exception: manufacturer closeouts.
At certain times of the year, you can find amazing deals on quality flooring. When manufacturers and dealers discontinue lines to make room for new styles, they offer deep discounts to move stock. If you’re lucky enough to spot one of these deals, jump on it.
If you’re in the market for wood grain tile, stop by your local home-improvement store. Lowe’s and Home Depot have a vast selection of wood-look tile. For a more personal experience, check out your nearest tile shop. In addition to popular brands, you’ll find exclusive lines and endless color choices.
If you know the exact tile you want, shop online with a store like Wayfair for web-only specials. Remember: photographs are not a good indicator of tone and texture. Make sure you see the tiles up close before committing to the purchase.
Don’t forget to buy between 10-20% more than you think you’ll need. This overage accounts for waste and damaged tiles. You can save any extra tiles for repairs or reuse them in another project.
One final tip: be sure to include the cost of grout in your overall calculations
Wood Look Tile Brands & Reviews
We’ll cover a few of the more popular brands here, and build on this list over time. Don’t see the brand you’re interested in this list? Tell us in the comments, and we’ll look into it.
Merola tile is a U.S. distributor with divisions in New York and New Jersey. In 1999, Merola’s New Jersey division became the national distributor for Home Depot.
Merola manufactures wood-look tile in over 40 colors and 20 sizes. This tile is a bit pricey and starts at $6.00 per square foot. You can order Merola tile by stopping by your nearest Home Depot or online at Homedepot.com.
Vitromex got its start in Saltillo, Mexico, in 1967. Since then, the company has expanded to six facilities, including a distribution center in Texas. This environmentally-conscious company participates in the Tile Council of North America and complies with ANSI standards.
Vitromex tile offers wood-look tile in 19 different shades ranging from earthy browns to sunbleached grays and whites. Tile prices range between $5.00-$11.00 per square foot. Stop by the company’s website for dealer information and free flooring sample orders.
Ragno USA was started in 1982 and is a division of the Marazzi Group. In addition to ceramic and porcelain, the company also manufactures glass and metal tiles. Ragno USA produces high-resolution wood-look tile using 3D printers and HD ink.
Ragno porcelain wood-look tile is available in 5 different collections and features 17 distinct shades and patterns. Tile sizes range from 4”x 28” up to 12”x 48”. The average price of these tiles is between $5.00-$7.00 per square foot.
Headquartered in Clarksville, Tennessee, Florim USA is one of the largest tile producers in North America. The company prides itself on offering environmentally-friendly, high-quality tiles. In fact, Florim tiles contain up to 40% recycled material.
Florim wood-look tile is available in 6 collections and over 35 colors. If you’re a fan of the driftwood look, be sure to check out the vintage collection. These 36” boards are incredibly detailed and finished with elegant matte glazing.
MS International is one of the leading manufacturers and distributors of natural stone and tile. In addition to floor tiles, the company sells stone slabs, sinks, and hardscape materials.
MS International produces 15 collections of wood-look tile. Colors and textures range from whitewashed barn wood to polished mahogany. The Dellano collection offers a unique and stylish pattern in colors such as Moss Gray and Exotic Blue.
Daltile is a subsidiary of Mohawk industries. The company was founded in Dallas, Texas, in 1947 and is the largest ceramic tile supplier in the United States. They operate 11 manufacturing plants and employ over 10,000 people.
Daltile sells 18 collections of wood-look tile in over 75 varieties of colors and shading. The Yorkwood Manor line features stunning barnwood tiles with considerable pattern variation.
If you’re looking for high-end tile, head straight for Porcelanosa. Founded in Spain in 1973, this family-owned company is one of the leading manufacturers of luxury tiles. To date, Porcelanosa has over 400 showrooms worldwide.
Porcelanosa carries two wood-look collections: Parker and Seedwood. The Parker collection has over 75 colors in a variety of sizes and textures. Due to their anti-slip finish and frost resistant properties, Parker tiles are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
The Seedwood collection features over 50 colors and patterns to choose from. Like the Parker line, Seedwood can be used in both indoor at outdoor spaces.
Marazzi USA has been making tile in the U.S. for more than 30 years. In fact, the company’s namesake built the first Italian-owned ceramic manufacturing plant in the United States. Today, the company has plants in 4 countries and over 6,000 employees.
Marazzi USA is famous for its expansive line of products and cutting-edge designs. Additionally, Marazzi tile is recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council as a sustainable and eco-friendly flooring option.
If you’re looking for variety, Marazzi sells over 20 lines of wood-look tile in hundreds of colors and patterns. Sizes range from small mosaics to large expansive planks.
You can find Marazzi tile at flooring retailers and big box stores across the United States. Prices vary by location but expect to pay between $2.00-$5.00 per square foot for this wood-look tile.
Warranty And Lifetime
If you are looking at a number of different types of flooring, you might have noticed that some flooring, such as luxury vinyl plank and engineered hardwood, come with 20- or 25-year warranties.
Don’t expect to see anything similar to tile. Most tile will come with a limited one-year manufacturer’s guarantee that only covers manufacturer defects and often only covers tiles that have not yet been installed. Once the tiles are on the floor, you are pretty much on your own.
But don’t let this lack of warranty let you think that tiles aren’t good quality. According to the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), quality tiles that are properly cared for could last 75 to 100 years.
The cost of installing wood-look tile depends on several factors, but mainly the cost is dependent on the size of the job. You can expect to pay about $5.00 per square foot for labor. The estimate you receive may or may not include subfloor preparation.
Since tile can’t be installed directly over plywood, your tile-setter will have to add cement board before setting your wood grain tile. If you already have a cement base, you’ll save a few dollars.
But, there’s a catch.
In order for the tile to set right, your subfloor needs to be in good condition. If the subfloor is cracked or uneven, it will need repairs. This process can be lengthy and expensive. If your installer chooses to pour an entirely new mortar bed, it can take up to 28 days to cure.
In addition to cracks, your floor must be moisture-free. Your tile-setter will advise you if waterproofing is necessary. If it is, contractors will apply a waterproof membrane to the cement before installing your tile.
Don’t forget to discuss grout lines with your tile-setter. Thicker grout lines will hold up better, but thinner lines will have a streamlined natural appearance.
When pricing your installation, aim to get at least three estimates. And while you may not choose the cheapest contractor, you’ll be able to spot the inconsistencies in the bids.
Once your tile is down, you’ll want to keep it looking brand new. Here are a few tile cleaning tips to get you started.
Wood-look tiles are easy to maintain. Due to their durable construction, you can use a variety of cleaners on both ceramic and porcelain without inflicting surface damage. Most manufacturers suggest using a mixture of warm water and mild floor cleaner.
For everyday cleaning, use a static broom or vacuum. These tools allow you to gather the dust and pet hair hiding in corners or under furniture without scattering it into the air.
You should also invest in a steam mop or microfiber model for deeper cleaning. Steam mops can cut your cleaning time in half. Most models rely on the steam to sanitize the floors, so no need for lengthy rinses.
On the other hand, microfiber mops use less water and cost a fraction of the price. If you’re concerned about using steam on your floors, microfiber mops are a good option. Remember to scrub the grout lines every few months to prevent dirt and discoloration.
Wood-Look Tile Alternatives
Luxury Vinyl Plank is both affordable and durable. It’s softer than ceramic or porcelain but performs well in high-traffic areas. Vinyl plank is warmer than traditional tile, and since most products are water-resistant, it’s safe for damp areas.
Another low-cost alternative to wood-look tile is laminate. Laminate flooring has come a long way since the 70s. It’s inexpensive and comes in a wide array of colors and tones. Unfortunately, laminate hates moisture, so if you’re installing this kind of flooring in a damp area… keep looking.
Nothing beats the beauty of natural hardwood. The color and grain variations found in nature are hard to replicate. If dampness or scratch resistance isn’t a concern, and you’re considering hardwood vs tile flooring – wood is the obvious choice.
FAQs About Wood-Look Tile Flooring
If you are looking for the best quality wood-look tile, you will probably want to invest in porcelain rather than ceramic.
Porcelain clay is denser and less porous than ceramic clay, and so it makes a harder and more water-resistant tile but also a more expensive one.
You will probably want to invest in porcelain in wet areas and/or if you are looking at underfloor heating, more affordable ceramic tiles work perfectly well in most domestic settings.
Is Wood-Look Tile Expensive?
Wood-look tile is certainly cheaper to install in your home than solid wood or even engineered wood floors. Wood-look tiles will set you back between $6.00-$12.00 per square foot, while you can expect to pay up to $22.00 per square foot for solid wood floors.
But they are certainly not the cheapest option on the market. Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring, which can also imitate the look and feel of natural wood floors, can be purchased for as little as $3.00-7.00 per square foot.
Also, unlike solid wood and tile flooring that require professional installation, a reasonably experienced DIY handyman can install LVP themselves.
With wood-look tile, you are paying for the durability, reliability, ease of cleaning, and easy maintenance.
Is Wood-Look Tile Flooring Cold In Winter?
The short answer to this question is yes! While you might appreciate the cooling effect of tiles in the hoot summer months, they can feel like walking on ice in winter.
Underfloor ambient heating can be a good way to deal with this problem, and most tiles are compatible with this kind of heating system.
What Is The Best Flooring That Looks Like Wood?
This feels like a trick question. The best feeling that looks like wood is solid wood! Wood is timeless in style, adds value to your home, and has a lifespan of more than 100 years.
But solid wood is not always a realistic option. It can be particularly problematic in wet or moist spaces such as bathrooms as the water can warp the wood and it can start to grow mold. It is also generally not compatible with underfloor heating as the changes in temperature can also warp the wood.
Hardwood floors also aren’t ideal for homes with pets or that will receive a lot of heavy traffic, as it is easily scarred by pet nails, shoes, and other impacts.
Which alternative to wood is best depends on what you are looking for. Wood-look tile is a good choice if you are looking for something durable that won’t scratch, has a long lifespan, and can deal with the issues of water and heating.
But if you are looking for something highly affordable or that you can install yourself, there are other alternatives that will probably make a better choice, such as luxury vinyl plank flooring.
Now that we have addressed your final burning questions, it appears we’ve reached the end of our journey. Hopefully, we have answered your questions and provided you with enough information to make your decision. But before you go, let’s sum up what we’ve covered.
Wood-look tile is a beautiful flooring option. And, if you have children or pets, wood-look tile offers you the stylish look of hardwood without the worry. This type of tile gives you the best of both worlds and it’s affordable.
There are some ups and downs to this flooring choice, but for many, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Tile is great for anyone who doesn’t want to devote hours to cleaning. Because it stands the test of time, it’s a good investment.
Remember to check the hardness rating of your tile to ensure it’s durable enough for your home. And for added peace of mind, look for tile that carries a manufacturer warranty as well as safety certifications.
To sum it up, flooring – as always – is an expensive purchase. Make sure whatever tile you choose ultimately suits your style and your needs.
If you have any comments or first-hand experiences with Wood Look Like flooring, please post them below or share your pictures via our social media.