Best places to purchase porcelain tiles that look like hardwood floors
Wood look tiles are one of the most popular types of flooring these days, especially in warmer climate homes and in areas that are prone to water or moisture (e.g. kitchens, bathrooms, entryways, basements). They are super stylish and of course waterproof. Tiles that look like wood are easy to clean, and they are as close as scratch proof as you can get. This makes them a great option if you have dogs and are concerned about scratches (or accidents).
Many debate the pros and cons on porcelain tile vs hardwood floors, and the truth is, there is no “one size fits all” answer. It depends on many factors and which are most important to you., .Those in warmer climates and have homes built on slabs often gravitate more towards tile planks that look like hardwood vs those in the cooler climates (and built on joists and plywood) tend to prefer real hardwood for the main areas. But, still, many prefer to use faux wood tiles in the wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.
So, I thought I would share some of the advantages of tile planks that look like hardwood, as well as the best places to buy them online (and some of my favorite choices), as well as some installation considerations.
Please note that this article contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
Advantages of tiles that look like hardwood flooring
1. Stylish/on trend
Yes, these have been rapidly growing in popularity over the last 5+ years, and due to this, there has been an explosion in colors, styles, sizes and shapes. The most popular shades seem to be grays, white washes and dark browns.
These are all cool colors, but it’s important to note that there is a large range of shades and mixtures of colors, including warm tones, and mixes of grays/browns. There’s also a range of design styles from hand-scraped and rustic, to sleek and modern. You also have the ability to use multiple widths.
One great advantage of using tile planks that look like hardwood (rather than other types of tile) is you can use this next to your hardwood floors and continue the color into the tile areas and thereby make your space look larger. Alternatively, some like to contrast the colors using a dark brown for the real hardwood areas and then gray tile to contrast. This all depends on your design preference as well as color and cabinet selections for your home.
Yes, you don’t need to worry about water, spills or moisture, so these tile planks are a wonderful choice for kitchens, bathrooms and entryways. They hold up well to nature’s elements and to the wear and tear in heavy traffic areas.
And, of course, it’s easy to clean up water spills and messes, even if they’ve been neglected for a while.
3. Great choice for warmer climates (and homes built on a slab)
If you live in a warm climate, you know what a relief the cool tile on your feet can be (and it can even save you money on your AC). Of course the opposite can be true in the winter for cooler climates.
In warmer areas, most houses are built on slabs. You may also find concrete sub-floors in basements (up north) or in apartment buildings. When you have a concrete floor, it’s often easier and less expensive to install tile on it (rather than hardwood). For solid hardwood floors, you need a plywood sub-floor to nail in the planks. Of course you can often add one, but it does cost more (and engineered wood is also an option).
4. Easier/less expensive to get in gray and white washed tones
Yes, if you haven’t noticed, gray is in style. It’s super chic, and it also hides dirt a bit better (since it’s similar in color). So many people are looking to refinish their hardwood floors to make them gray. But, refinishing hardwood floors to make them gray is challenging (believe me, I get so many questions and calls about the above blog post as many contractors don’t know how to do it the right way.
But, one of the things that makes is more challenging is that hardwood floors have pink or yellow undertones (pending on the species and age of floors), so blending the gray is a tad tricky and you are working with a natural product, so there is natural variation and the wood’s natural undertones shine through, especially if you want a light gray or whitewashed floor.
With tile floors, it’s much easier to customize the tile because you are starting with a white base (or bisque). So, it’s easy to get a gray gray or a white white.
5. Scratch proof
Okay, that may be a bit of an overstatement, because nothing is scratch-proof. If you drag something sharp enough and heavy enough, it will scrape or scratch all floors, but tile flooring is probably the most scratch proof option there is.
So, if you’re worried about dog scratches or scratches from a busy household, faux wood floors can be a great option. Remember, though, that tile floors are hard and they can be slippery, especially for dogs, so you may want to consider getting some area rugs as well as a dog pillow for your furry friend.
- Gray area rugs for under $200
- Where to buy inexpensive navy area rugs
- 10 best places to buy area rugs online
6. Can work over radiant heat
If you’re planning to install radiant heat in your kitchen or bathroom, tile is an awesome option. It conducts the heat much better. (And, most solid hardwoods won’t work over radiant heat, unless it’s rifted and quartersawn), and most adhesives that would be used with engineered wood don’t hold up so well over radiant heat).
Best places to buy tile planks that look like wood
Note: If you click on the pictures or the links below, you can learn more about tiles (including size, price, material)
Wayfair is one of the best places to buy tile that looks like wood as they have a large variety of brands and colors including Daltile, Mohawk, Emser, MS International, Marrazzi and many others. They also have a ton of stylish home decor including vanities, area rugs, sinks and whole slew of other items.
Here are some of my favorite wood looking tiles.
2. Home Depot
While I’m normally not a big fan of Home Depot, they actually do have some nice and reasonably priced tiles that look like wood flooring. They have many more options online (vs in the store). Sometimes, they allow you to pick them up in your local store.
Here are some of my tiles that look like wood planks at Home Depot.
This is a recent discovery of mine, as I see them all over pinterest, and they really do have a flair for design. Build.com has some great wood looking tile selections as well as so many other stylish home decor items for kitchens, bathrooms, and well just about anywhere. They have a wide range of prices.
These are some of my favorites.
Considerations when choosing and installing wood looking tiles
Porcelain vs Ceramic
Porcelain is denser (as they are fired in the kiln longer) and more durable than ceramic tiles. And, often porcelain tiles look more real. Porcelains tend to be a bit more expensive than ceramics. All that aside, both types are durable, and it’s often a matter of personal style and preference. And, be warned that tiles that are much more expensive are based on design techniques are often equally as durable.
Grout line size
The ideal is to have very thin grout lines, so that the planks look more link hardwood. Most often, they are installed at 1/32″ of an inch. (You can get 1/32″ spacers here on Amazon). Rectified tile will allow you to get closer edges. (Rectified means that the edge is cut very flat so that the tiles will fit very close together…vs those that may have more eased edges).
I generally recommend that you get a grout color that is close in color to the tile. You want the grout lines to blend in, not stick out (similar to how real hardwood looks). Bear in mind that the grout often gets a bit dark over time (due to dirt). But, importantly, you should seal the grout and reseal it annually to reduce this. See: Why it’s important to seal your grout and how to do it yourself.
Color variation among tiles is classified as V1, V2, V3, V4; the higher the number, the more color variation you’ll see across the plank tiles. Most of the ones that look like hardwood are V3 or V$ meaning that there is moderate to high color variation, as these tiles are mimicking the look you would see in real natural hardwood floors. There is not a right or wrong here, but be aware of what you are getting and whether you prefer more or less variation. (Sometimes customers are surprised as they did not look at this and only chose based on 1 plank.
The PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) measures how well the tile resists abrasion. PEI IV and has a higher resistance and is good for heavy traffic areas (e.g. kitchen). A PEI of I or II is meant for the wall (and should not be used for the floor).
This is especially important if you are placing the tiles in areas that can get wet (and obviously, they get more slippery when wet). You generally want a coefficient of friction (COF) between .60 and .79.
Make sure the sub-floor is level
When it comes to tile, one of the biggest mistakes is the prep work (or the lack thereof). In general for tile, you want to be installing on top of mud job, concrete or cement board. And, you want to floor to be level. Many installers skimp on the prep work, and it shows (and it can cause cracking).
The prep work is even more important when you’re installing tile planks that look like wood. That’s because the joints are so close, so if the floor isn’t even, the planks won’t line up properly. This will look sloppy and can also cause you to stub your toes (or worse). So be sure that the floor is even. And, if it isn’t, smooth it out before you start.
Alternative wood looking planks that are also waterproof
Tile that looks like hardwood is a great option if you want the look of hardwood, but want it to be waterproof. But, sometimes, this isn’t the best choice for you, especially if you are in a colder environment or if you want something more gentle on your feet.
There is an alternative and amazing new option, and that is Engineered Vinyl Plank. It also looks likes like hardwood and it’s waterproof. it’s a floating floor, so it can be installed on top of tile or concrete floors. It has a cork underlayment, so it’s easier on your feet and provides a bit of extra insulation. My favorite brand is Coretec Plus and you can read my full review of Coretec Plus here.
Tile floors that look like wood are super popular, and you can see why as there are many advantages to this material. I hope this guide is helpful and that you find the perfect tiles for your home.
Related tile articles:
- Pros and cons on porcelain tile vs hardwood floors
- The importance of sealing your grout, and how to do it yourself
- Porcelain vs Ceramic Tile
- What is luxury vinyl plank flooring (LVP)?
- Coretec Plus LVP Review
- Best steam mop for tile floors
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