Learn whether wood-grained ceramic tile can pass for hardwood flooring
Hardwood floors can be the feature that brings any room to the next level. The texture and color of wood, paired with a glossy finish, can make a room warmer, more inviting, and easier to clean. However, hardwood floors are often incredibly expensive and can be difficult to maintain. They can also be difficult to clean without the right floor cleaners or specially-designed vacuums. Luckily, there is another option -- ceramic tiles that imitate the look of hardwood.
Certain types of rock or ceramic can be dyed, cut, and positioned in a way to mimic the look of hardwood. The natural grain in materials like marble or limestone can create the same knots and whorls you'd find in planks of wood. At a fraction of the cost of paying an expert to install wood flooring, they might be the best flooring option for your kitchen or really to transform any room.
It's important to note: ceramics aren't an exact substitute for wood. When you look closely, you may notice a shiny coat on ceramics that you wouldn't find on natural planks. And of course, once you touch ceramic tile, the illusion disappears. At a distance, however, it's nearly impossible to tell the difference.
So, why should you consider an imitation ceramic floor over hardwood?
Tile lasts longer than wood
Generally, ceramic tile is more durable than wood. It's more difficult to scratch or damage, and requires less upkeep than actual wood. Wood floors need to be sanded down and refinished every so often, but you won't need to practice that upkeep with tile. Generally, regular mopping and a quick reseal process every few months is all it takes to keep a tile floor looking as shiny and new as the day it was laid.
If you're a pet owner, say goodbye to scratches!
When the doorbell rings, you don't want your dog ruining your wood floors in his excitement to make a new friend. Ceramic tile naturally repels claw marks and nicks, and if your pets are still potty training, you don't have to worry about puddles sinking into and warping expensive wood.
DIY the hardwood look without paying an expert
Hardwood planks can be difficult to maneuver and tough to place correctly without the proper experience. (Which is why we pay the experts so much to lay our wood floors correctly.) On the other hand, laying a tile floor can be a DIY project over a weekend or a few evenings — with similarly gorgeous results.
Place hardwood style in unlikely places
Wood and water don't get along very well. Kitchen spills, bath water, and tracked-in snow and weather make it tough to place durable wood floors in certain rooms, like mudrooms, bathrooms, or kitchens. Ceramic tile, on the other hand, repels water and other messes. This means you can get the chic design of a wood floor in any room you'd like!
Buy exotic style at domestic cost
Outside of inexpensive varieties like pine and spruce, the wood that goes into flooring planks can get pricey. Some of the most sought-after wood floors come from exotic trees that carry a hefty price tag for their unique coloring and texture. In most cases, ceramic tile offers an inexpensive close alternative to rare woods like mahogany.
Bonus: Tile tends to be "greener" than wood
Besides the lower cost, tile may also be more environmentally friendly than some types of wood. Many ceramics can be created in factories or mined responsibly, before being cut, dyed, and styled to look like any number of wood types. On the other hand, some of the world's rarest woods only come from threatened areas like rainforests or protected woods. You wouldn't cut down a giant sequoia, but you could still get a similar style from a ceramic imitation!