5 tips for choosing a wood-look tile
First, you need to know how wood look tile is created (no, it's not finely crafted from porcelain forests). Wood-look tiles are manufactured from both ceramic and porcelain - with porcelain being the tougher, more scratch resistant material of the two.
How do they get that woodsy look on the tiles? Think inkjet printing. Yep. The tiles are actually printed images of a real wood grain right onto the porcelain or ceramic. The higher the resolution, the better the quality (usually also pricier) the tile.
Tile Printer/ Siti-B&T Group
Because of technological advancements, wood-look tile is capable of appearing incredibly lifelike these days. It is a terrific choice as an alternative flooring for people with pets, kids or people who live in more humid climates like Miami. It is waterproof so it can be utilized in baths and kitchens as well. This really opens up the "wood floor" option to spaces where, previously, it would have been a very risky choice. Take that, trees!! Point; Humans!
Like I mentioned before, porcelain has a higher hardness rating than ceramic and you're gonna want that. Also, get a full-bodied porcelain. The color is uniform throughout and that will come in handy when you drop Grandma's priceless, antique pitcher and chip a tile. You know it will happen.
2. CHOOSE A SIMPLE PATTERN
Remember, we are talking printed images here. There's a limit to how many separate, unique planks there will be in your pattern. That means the same set of repeated images will be used over and over throughout the space. In my opinion, busier images tend to be easier to pick up on the fact that, "Hey! These are just photocopied images used repeatedly. Nice try, floors."
Here is a not so simple pattern. I would need a straight jacket living with this floor but I do understand that some people like it.
I have indicated a couple of the repeat tiles to illustrate my point. I will say, that the installer at least smartly reversed their orientation which helps. I still would need to take a Dramamine to stand in this room. Usually, better-made tiles will incorporate a higher number of individual tile patterns.
3. CHOOSE A RECTIFIED TILE
What is a rectified tile?
In the above image, the top pic is a rectified tile and the bottom is a regular ole' non-rectified version. You can see that the rectified edge is way more precise than it's rougher, non-rectified counterpart. This is accomplished by machining the tiles to give them near perfect edges and exact dimensions.
This allows for a very clean, symmetrical installation and much thinner, more precise grout lines. (If you're choosing a more rustic tile and a less sophisticated look, you can get by with the non-rectified variety).
4. CHOOSE A LONGER PLANK LENGTH
Back in the day, wood-look tiles were thinner and shorter because the printing technology wasn't as advanced as it is now. Now there are really no limitations and wood-look tiles are available in sizes previously only achieved by their real deal counterparts.
5. BUY A BOX
If you're still unsure as to what wood-look tile to buy, just buy a box of your maybes. Or two. Or three. That way you can get several different variations of the tile you are considering for your space. A larger "swatch" will give you a much better idea than just laying down one tile. Most stores will also usually let you return the box if they are unused or undamaged. Most. Do not send me your receipts!
I hope that helps a bit. Pretty simple once you know what to look for. If you have any questions that I didn't answer for you here, please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to answer them.
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