Wood look tiles are an increasingly popular trend in home interior designs these days, being a wonderful choice as an alternative flooring option for houses with pets, young children, or those who live in more humid climates. As wood look tiles are waterproof, it has opened up more wood-look flooring options for areas of the home that are likely to have spills and splashes. We all know that tile flooring is a natural choice for bathrooms and kitchens. It’s durable, water-resistant and very easy to clean (think stains and spills!). Combine the functionality of tile with the beauty of wood, and it’s no wonder these wood-look tiles are a hot trend!
New Tech Creates Tiles that Look Like Wood
Wood look tiles are made from ceramic or porcelain tiles with actual images of real wood grain imprinted on the surface using high-definition inkjet technology or roto printing (using a roller system). The higher the resolution of the wood grain image, the better the tile quality.
Before you get too excited with your kitchen remodel or design, we have five things for you to think about when choosing your wood-look tiles.
1. Porcelain vs Ceramic Tiles
When choosing wood-look tiles, choose porcelain over ceramic. While ceramic tiles are easier to cut and work with, porcelain tiles are more durable and water-resistant.
- When you go for porcelain, get the full-bodied type wherein color is uniform all throughout.
- Find out the PEI (Porcelain and Enamel Institute) rating for it too. This rating tells how well a tile will resist abrasion. A grade of PEI IV has high resistance to abrasion and is suitable for heavy-duty residential and commercial kitchens, while a PEI I or II isn’t suitable to be walked on and is best for walls.
- If you’re using it in wet areas, check the slip resistance. A coefficient of friction (COF) greater than .60 to .79 is required for commercial applications to meet or exceed ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines. This could be useful if you have small children or elderly family members who might be prone to slipping.
To be able to replicate a genuine hardwood appearance, be careful when choosing tiles for your floor pattern. Since these are printed images, there is limited variety on plank designs. Mix options wisely, and if it becomes overwhelming, choose a simple pattern. You could also experiment with checkered and diamond placements or horizontal or square patterns.
To be able to achieve this, make sure to have the color variations of your wood-look tiles the same. This can be done by sourcing them all from the same batch so the tone will be the same.
But do take note: The real beauty of hardwood installations is how random it can be, and the same principle can be applied with wood-look tiles.
3. Choose rectified tiles
Rectified tiles are more precise than non-rectified wood-look tiles. These are produced by machines to give them almost perfect edges and precise dimensions. This makes it easy for a symmetrical installation and thinner grout lines.
4. Wood-look tile and grout should match
The grout color has to match the darkest tones in the tile you’ve chosen. Over time, dirt will collect in the grout no matter how regularly you clean. When you match the grout color, as it ages and darkens it won’t look too obvious.
5. Longer plank length is key
Longer planks are will appear closer to a genuine hardwood look, and can work better when doing patterns.
Wood-look Tile: Beauty and Function Coming Together
If you are concerned that wood-look tiles are just a trend, consider you’ll be getting the best of both worlds by choosing to install tiles in your kitchen. You get the beauty of wood with the durability of tile.
Ask around before deciding on which contractor you are going to hire. Whether you choose to spruce up your kitchen flooring, or do a complete remodel, we’re here to help. Our professional design and build team members are here to inform and inspire you! To request a quote or ask a question, call us at (650) 287-4202 or drop us a note in our contact form.