When it comes to what sort of tile you are going to install as your floor surface, each of the commonly used choices has its pros and its cons.
For example, should you opt for a ceramic tile, you might want to get used to the fact that your feet will be cold every time you walk on it during the winter. (Unless you have some sort of heating arrangement involved.) On the other hand, ceramics are well known for their good looks and easy installation.
There is also natural wood, which sort of represents the king of the floors, when it comes to aesthetics. That said, wood requires special sort of care and does not fare well with moisture, so if you’re not sure you’ll be able to take care of a large hardwood floor down the line, you might be better off opting for some other solution.
To avoid the cons of one sort of flooring surface and bring into the bigger picture another one, so to speak, some clever folks have come up with various artificial materials that can look like other, more expensive ones, but that could be made for less money.
In this article, we’re going to talk about floor tiles that look like natural wood, but aren’t wood. We will speak about what makes these handy, what makes them not so handy, and what sort of these exist currently on the market.
Right then folks, without further ado, here’s the deal.
Tile That Looks Like Wood – Pros
As we’ve already mentioned, one of the biggest weaknesses of wooden floors would be that they require special sort of treatment to last a long time. For example, you may need to use special sort of wax to prevent moisture from penetrating their fine fibers. Also, speaking of the devil, you’ll want to keep the moisture to the minimum with a wood tile floor, because it can create warps if not tackled properly.
With a wood tile look alike floor, you won’t need to worry about these problems. (Well, depending on what sort of wood look-alike you acquire.) For example, if you choose to go for a porcelain tile look alike floor, moisture won’t represent a problem, nor will you need to wax such a floor to keep it neat and well-preserved. Generally speaking, wood look alike floors are more durable than the normal wooden ones, so even though these won’t feel as comfortable when it comes to walking on them, for example, they’re sure going to last you longer than the wooden ones – and with less maintenance, too.
Another great thing about wood look-alike floors would be that you can use them in many different rooms to a great effect. The thing is, there are multiple types of these tiles, so you can pick one sort for the hallway, another for your living room, and then some third one for the kitchen.
For example, you can use the tough and easy-to-clean porcelain tiles that look like wood in your kitchen, because, this is the area that is in constant need of cleaning and mopping. The same goes for your bathroom.
When it comes to your living room, your guest rooms, as well as your hallways and other spaces, you can use engineered wood tiles, which aren’t the proper wooden tiles, but certainly have some of their properties and look like them. So, there’s no real limit to what purpose you can use a wood look-alike tiles, as long as you take care not to install a bunch of engineered wood tiles in your bathroom, where they can get warped and otherwise damaged due to moisture.
3. Great for Allergy Sufferers
If you tend to have problems with allergies and you can’t get rid of them even in the safety of your home, perhaps you need a non-carpeted floor surface to make the ailment go away. (And probably some medication, to be fair.)
The point is, carpets represent the number one gathering spot for various allergens, bacteria, and other allergy-causing pollutants, so getting rid of those and installing a mighty tile surface instead can be a great way to get rid of annoying allergies that have been pestering you.
Generally speaking, whatever type of floor you can get that doesn’t trap these microorganisms and causes you to have an allergic reaction is a good choice. That said, if you want to save some money and still have a pretty, wood-like surface to walk on, the best choice for you can be to go for one of the wood look-alike wood tile floor packages.
4. Ecological Solution
If you are concerned about harming both your household and the planet when it comes to opting for your flooring solution, a great way to counter this would be to simply get a floor made up of a wood look-alike tile material.
The thing is, wood look-alikes made out of porcelain or ceramics don’t contain any VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), which can present a health risk for the rooms the sort of flooring materials that contains these are installed on.
On the other hand, there’s another benefit of using wood look-alikes as your flooring option of choice – they can be recycled and reused for some other purpose after their natural life cycle ends, so to speak. Paving roads and driveways springs to mind as one of the options you have when using these for that second-hand purpose.
5. Great for Pets
One of the biggest problems related to their hardwood floors when pet owners are in question would be the fact that, no matter how resilient, hardwood floors aren’t tough enough to resist the scratches and other abuse that pets put them through.
Therefore, a hardwood floor can be an excellent option for a person looking for a flooring solution that can both look as good as a hardwood floor, but more durable and pet-friendly than a natural hardwood floor.
Also, another big aspect of owning pets would be that they tend to produce lots of hairs and lots of moisture, so any floor surface that doesn’t soak these two right up is a pet-friendly one, indeed. Of course, wood look-alike tiles can be an excellent choice for this purpose.
The thing about tiles that look like wood but aren’t wood, here’s an important thing to take into consideration – they’re usually much easier to take care of than their counterparts made out of real wood.
The reason behind this would be that real wood requires special treatment and cleaning procedures – often ones including some sort of wax, and then you can’t use water for too long, because wood will soak it up and then the entire thing will take forever to dry off. Worse still, if a piece of a parquet isn’t dried off immediately after you clean it with water, there’s a risk that wood will start warping, which can cause that annoying sound when you walk on floor boards.
So, if you’re looking for something that looks as good as wood, is more durable than wood, and doesn’t require as much maintenance as wood, tile floors that look like wood (but aren’t) can be a great solution for this purpose.
Tiles That Looks Like Wood – Cons
For all its merits, dealing with tiles that look like wood can be quite an annoying and difficult process – mostly because there’s plenty of high-precision measuring that needs to be taken care of first. The thing is, unless you’re a trained professional for this task, there’s a good chance you may do more harm than good in attempting to lay these tiles completely on your own.
First of all, (and this goes for all types of flooring you’re attempting to set up) the state of the surface underneath the floor itself that you’re trying to lay is of massive importance for the result of your floor-laying endeavor. The thing is, if the surface underneath your floor is not even and flat, and then you lay some tiles on it anyway, you run the risk of making the entire subsequent area uneven, which can allow the moisture to creep down below the tiles. This can, in turn, cause the mold to grow underneath the tiles where you can’t reach it, from where foul smells can be emitted into the air of the room the floor’s in.
Of course, you understand that folks with allergies might have a tough time processing this thing, so make sure you don’t make this mistake if you’re prone to allergies.
As far as the sensation beneath your feet of walking on different surfaces is concerned, there are couple of things worth taking into consideration here. The first thing is, nothing can beat natural wood when it comes to how good it feels to walk on it. (The only better thing would be carpets, but that’s another story, of course.)
Now, here’s the deal with wood look-alike tile floors. They tend to be much tougher and smoother than the ones made out of real wood, so what ends up happening is that they can be much more slippery than their counterparts made out of wood. (Plus, wood tiles or parquets, are often coated with an additional layer of wax or some other anti-slip finish, which serves to both protect the wood, and the ankles of the person walking on it.) With artificial wood look-alikes, however, this is not the case, so slipperiness can be quite a problem.
3. Comfort Levels
Another area where wood look-alikes can’t compete with the real deal would certainly be the comfort level. Walking on a cold porcelain floor certainly won’t give you the same feeling of support and comfort as a floor made out of natural wood.
You see, wood is a natural insulator, so any area where you install a floor made out of wood is going to get a little bit warmer (thanks to the insulation) as a result. In comparison, the porcelain tile look-alikes don’t offer as much warmth and tend to feel quite cold underneath your feet.
The story is slightly better with wood look-alike tiles that are made out of wood derivatives (such as engineered hardwood), but that still doesn’t help too much when it comes to cold sensation when you walk over these surfaces. To be fair, though, these are not bad themselves, but they just seem to lag behind wood in the levels of comfort you feel walking on them.
As we’ve mentioned in the paragraphs above, wood tile look-alikes tend to feel cold when you walk on them. The reason for this would be that the materials used for building these tiles aren’t naturally warm and do not conduct heat as well as natural wood does.
The starkest example of this problem would be porcelain. While wood look-alike porcelain tiles truly look like wood, the issue is that porcelain is nowhere near as warm as wood is, so walking over a porcelain floor that looks like wood will still feel like, well – walking on porcelain.
Of course, you may counteract this by installing some floor heating, covering the porcelain floor with a special layer that provide some heat insulation, or, perhaps best of all – insulated the floor surface thoroughly before you even lay the wood look-alike tiles. This way, the additional insulation underneath the tiles will provide additional warmth to the otherwise quite cold porcelain tiles.
Types of Tile Flooring That Looks Like Wood
Wood-Like Porcelain Tile
Starting with an entry that gives you a lot in the department of durability, but doesn’t perform as well when it comes to matters of comfort and thermal insulation. Here’s the deal – porcelain is a well-known flooring services and it’s beloved for its durability and appearance. Another great thing about this material would be the fact that it can be easily decorated, and painted in whatever color you desire.
The thing is, however – no matter how wood-like a bunch of porcelain tiles look, they’re still porcelain, so typical properties of this material are not going to change just because it looks like wood. Of course, another thing about porcelain that doesn’t recommend it as a living room surface would be the fact that porcelain is not a good heat conductor or retainer, so if you walk on it just in your socks, the sensation can be quite rough. And cold.
That said, porcelain that looks like wood can be an excellent choice for a kitchen, a bathroom, and other rooms where comfort isn’t the number one priority. Oh, and also, porcelain floors are fairly easy to clean and they have a great degree of water resistance.
Luxury Vinyl Tile
Ever since it was first introduced as a flooring option, vinyl became a beloved wood-substitute material. Thanks to the fact that it’s easy to install, doesn’t require too much effort when it comes to the maintenance, and that it looks very much like real wood, this material has found its place on the market of flooring solutions.
Now, to make this already decent flooring option an even better one, some manufacturers have come up with a new breed of vinyl tiles – luxury vinyl tiles. (Not too much effort has gone into coming up with the name, though.)
The interesting thing about this special sort of vinyl would be that it comes with a protective layer on top of the basic vinyl. This additional layer represent a clear, see-through cover serving the purpose of protecting the vinyl underneath. As for the vinyl itself, the great thing about it is that it can be made to look like whatever you want, because it’s a very easy material to print on top of.
There are many manufacturers nowadays that offer a version of their luxury vinyl wood look-alike tiles that look like aged wood. This can give your floor (and subsequently the entire house) a certain rustic feel to it, which can be a great solution for a log cabin, or any sort of area that you won’t to have that charming appearance of an old wooden floor.
Laminate Wood Flooring
One of the popular alternatives to wood flooring would certainly be laminate. The important thing about this flooring to remember would be that it costs much less than any type of real wood floor, but it looks just as good, which is the reason so many people flock to buy it, of course.
Another good thing about laminate floors (especially when compared to porcelain floors) would be that these aren’t as cold to walk over. Although laminate isn’t as comfortable as real wood, it’s still a decent surface for walking, especially if there’s a special coating involved. These coatings are usually made out of melamine and aluminum oxide, which do well as coating materials predominantly steered toward protecting the laminate from moisture. Of course, it’s also important to mention here that when you do apply these layers to the laminate, the appearance will take a bit of a hit – so, be prepared for that if you fancy laying out a laminate floor in your house.
As far as the moisture situation is concerned, the best course of action would be to simply get rid of any sources of moisture before you even lay out this floor. To do this, you may need to insulate the entire floor area before you venture to set up the laminate itself. This way, you’ll nip in the bud any moisture-caused problem before it rears its ugly head and starts warpin’ your laminate.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Representing the closest deal you can get to a proper wood floor without buying a wood floor, engineered hardwood flooring is a composite material made out of several layers of ply and then a solid wooden plank on top of these.
The idea behind this design is to imitate a proper wood floor, but to make it for less money, so you don’t need to spend too much to buy it. Of course, this also means that some of the problems that plague common wooden floors also plague engineered wood floors, too. For example, moisture represents one of the worst enemies of a wood floor and can cause serious warps and other sorts of damage to it.
On the other hand, one of the biggest pluses that comes with using such a hardwood floor would be the appearance and the feel you get when walking on it. Since the top plank in this arrangement is made out of high-quality hardwood, you can see why floors made out of 100% wood and these engineered wood floors are fairly similar in this respect.
Last but not least, there’s also the issue of price, which is the highest of all wood look-alike materials out there. It beats porcelain, vinyl, and laminate, but it’s also several times less expensive than the proper wood flooring, so it still makes sense installing it if you want to have a feel and appearance that’s as close to natural wood as possible, but at a small fraction of the price.
Cleaning Wood Look-Alike Porcelain Tiles
When it comes to cleaning up any sort of smooth surface, the first important thing you should do is dry sweep the area, so that you can move on to the mopping later on.
The thing is, if your floors are dirty (especially in cases where you haven’t cleaned yours for a while), sweeping them off first is important because if you don’t you run the risk of actually spreading the dirt around even more once you move on to mop the area.
So, to avoid this, you should dry clean the entire place to get rid of the larger pieces of debris, and then once you got rid of these, you can move on to wet cleaning the floor.
Pet Hair Dry Cleanup [for pet owners]
Another kind of debris you should take into consideration if you own a pet with fur would be to dry sweep the hairs. You should use a broom, a vacuum cleaner, some sort of brush or whatever it is you prefer to use for this purpose – and then gather around the pet hairs that are laying on your floor and pick them up.
That way, these won’t stick to surface when you start mopping the area. It’s much easier vacuuming these from off the floor than being forced to wait until the entire thing dries up to do so.
This is a tile maintenance task that you should pursue once a week.
The idea behind this would be that mopping should be a thing that you do regularly, but not so often as to cause the flooring in question to become damp. (Because this can cause even more trouble down the road.)
That said, mopping is a great way to sanitize your floors, because warm water + the cleaning solution will get rid of most of the bacteria and other microorganisms from off your tile floor.
Here’s another important part of the tile floor maintenance that comes directly after mopping – getting rid of all the excess moisture. If you don’t do this, you’ll then have a puddle of chemical-infused water that will become sticky when it dries up and probably attract even more dirt and other pollutants.
Now, to get the most out of the mopping itself, you have to rinse the area thoroughly afterward, too. The way you do this is fairly simply – get a bucket full of clean water, a mop or a brush, and then do another mopping session, just without the cleaning solution. So, a bucket of warm water, a clean mop head, and that’s it.
Leave to Dry
The last step of your floor maintenance should be the drying stage, where you leave the freshly-mopped floor to dry off.
The important thing to remember here is to assist the drying process, so to speak, by using a mop or some other form of cloth to pick up any excess moisture there is. If you fail to do this, and leave too much moisture on the floor, there’s always the risk that the floor will start warping or developing mold underneath its base layer – in case it hasn’t been sealed well enough.
All things considered, obtaining tiles that look like they’re made out of wood when they’re not represents a great way to save money by not buying a proper wooden floor, but still getting the look of a wooden floor. (Plus some durability and ease of maintenance.) We hope you found this article helpful and wish you best of luck with getting the optimal floor surface for what you need.