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Unique Wood Look Tile Flooring Ideas

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

Coveted by many, natural hardwood floors will always be a selling point, but they aren’t ideal for some homeowners and in certain situations. If you’re looking for a gorgeous alternative that you’ll love just as much, wood look tile flooring is the answer. Made of ceramic or porcelain, this tile deceives the eye with authentic wood tones and textures. See why wood look tile flooring could be the perfectly practical and aesthetically pleasing solution you didn’t know you needed!

Avella Ultra Smoked Whiskey Oak Porcelain Tile

With rich, aged character and 40 convincing patterns, would you believe this Avella Ultra Smoked Whiskey Oak Porcelain Tile isn’t real wood?

The Authentic Approach

Many homeowners who opt for wood look tile flooring do so with absolute authenticity in mind; they want it to look like a hardwood floor and not like tile masquerading as one. Over the years, the options have expanded and refined, offering the real look and feel of various wood species and even reclaimed planks. Be sure to look for the number of patterns each product has before purchasing, because the more patterns there are, the less likely anybody will notice repeats and be tipped off that it’s tile. Also, consider dimensions; different varieties come in medium to wide “board” widths—adding drama that is hard to come by naturally because it requires older growth lumber—so tile actually delivers traditional rustic appeal. Whether you’re shopping for a regional favorite or an exotic style, you can find a wood-look duplicate, and no trees will have been felled in the process.

Wood look tile also offers design flexibility in a unique way. As a type of tile, it requires grout and you can choose the color and how thick you want the lines to be. A traditionalist would opt for miniscule, camouflaged grout lines to maintain the authentic wood appearance, but others might see what one-of-a-kind designs they can create. Contrasting colors quickly draw attention to the fact that the floor is tiled, and the striking linear effect of visible grout adds a bold and unexpected contemporary motif. Either way, it looks fantastic!

Avella Classic Red Oak Porcelain Tile

Branch out with a herringbone pattern if you want a little oomph! It makes this Avella Classic Red Oak Porcelain Tile—modeled off the most common hardwood floor species in America—really stand out.

Special Considerations for Wood Look Tile

Natural wood and wood look tile floors differ entirely when it comes to installation. For most hardwood, you just need a hammer and nails to put the floor together over a plywood subfloor. Tile requires a level and multi-layer subfloor, careful planning to lay it out neatly and consistently, mortar to adhere it to the subfloor, grout to fill the joint gaps, and then sealer to waterproof the grout. Between the attention required and the drying times between each step, it proves to be a lengthier process. Tile returns with greater durability, so the expense pays for itself down the line, but it’s important to remember that it can slow down construction and you must account for this in your timeline. Tiling a bathroom won’t be a big deal, but doing the whole house will put the brakes on other things while you wait for it to cure.

If you’ve considered installing underfloor heating in your home, this needs to be discussed and planned to coordinate with everything else. Luckily, tile is especially suited, offering efficient heat transfer from the system through the floor. Not only does this address the issue of uncomfortable cold tile in the winter, but it also warms the whole space. These systems can be set up on a room by room basis, giving you the ability to flip a switch for heat when and where you need it, and turn it off to save energy elsewhere.

Avella Ultra Metro Concrete Oak Porcelain Tile

Sleek gray tones and a worn texture give this Avella Ultra Metro Concrete Oak Porcelain Tile a modern and clean yet matured vibe. It’s an awesome waterproof choice for a kitchen or bathroom.

Benefits of Wood Look Tile Flooring

Porcelain wood look tile flooring has been growing in popularity for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its waterproof nature. Tile got its start in bathrooms, mudrooms, and kitchens based on this alone, and the trend toward wood-look mimics has made people consider branching into living spaces and bedrooms as well. This means you can wet mop and even steam clean your wood look tile floors without worrying about damaging them, and they won’t hold on to dirt or dust like a pervious surface would. Ideal for people with allergies and sensitivities, tile proves it belongs anywhere you can put it.

Another attractive quality of tile is its durability. It won’t be scratched or scuffed by children, pets, or moving furniture, which is common with softer materials. Porcelain tile is impervious to liquid, so it won’t rot or absorb stains, odors, or bacteria. While tile has been known to break, today’s porcelain is exceptionally dense and hardy because it is made of very fine clay fired at extremely high temperatures, so it’s unlikely to be an issue. That said, some homeowners think that they can forgo grout to get a better wood look, but this actually results in a floor that is weaker and difficult to clean, so it’s not advised. A good installer knows how to get a thin yet effective grout line and hide it for a more convincing finish.

Wood-look tile options used to be few and far between, but now you can find the perfect look for your interior design with the multitude of options available from Lumber Liquidators. They have all kinds of wood plank tile floorings to suit your fancy, and you can install them in the pattern of your choice for a truly unique effect. Whether it’s a classic stagger, elegant herringbone, sharp chevron, or something totally custom, tile flooring is up to the challenge. Find a local store to see the possibilities in person! And be sure to see wood look tile flooring installed in your type of home by searching for your floor plan and viewing the interior images.