Porcelain Tile vs Hardwood

Sant'Agostino Shadewood LightPorcelain tile that looks like wood flooring is so convincing it’s sometimes impossible to tell the difference.  With the advancement of high-tech manufacturing, these porcelain tiles are artfully crafted with patterns and textures that emulate just about any wood species.  So NOW how does one decide whether to use porcelain tile or natural hardwood?  At United Tile, we have many options in both categories – and are here to help you select the right material for YOUR project.  Here are some factors to consider:

Are you a “Naturalist”?  If only the real thing will do, then you are probably better off using real hardwood flooring.  It is beautiful, and has natural variation that can be used in both traditional and contemporary settings.  However, if you want more consistent color and movement, then you may want to consider porcelain.

Plank Bordeaux Givry     Piemme Cottage Ulivo

Durability.  Porcelain tile will last forever, as it won’t stain or scratch.  In areas with higher traffic patterns (such as kitchens), homes with pets, or underneath constantly moving chairs, porcelain is probably a safer choice.   In addition, porcelain is extremely low-maintenance, making it ideal for beach houses and other areas that must withstand outside elements.

Plank Argonne TOAST     Crossville Speakeasy Silver Screen

Comfort/Warmth.  Natural hardwood is softer and will be more comfortable on your feet if you are standing for long periods of time.  In addition, hardwood is much warmer on your feet than tile – especially in cold climates or winter months.  However, you can use radiant heating under porcelain, which may also reduce your heating bills!

Plank Classic French Oak Ombre     Isla Gems Fumée

Exposure to water.  Hardwood doesn’t do well in wet areas, so porcelain will be a better choice in areas where the material may come into contact with water – such as a laundry room or bathroom.  You can even get the look of wood in a shower or outdoors without any worry if it is porcelain!

Plank Argonne LEATHER     Crossville Nest Mindful Oak_Peaceful Oak

Noise.  If you are sensitive to noise or have high ceilings, natural hardwood may be a better choice for you.  It is softer and tends to absorb sound better than porcelain, creating a quieter environment.

Plank Argonne BARN     Crossville Speakeasy-av283-floor-tile-install

Style/Color.  There is a current trend towards grays and whites, which is much easier to find in porcelain than it is with real hardwood.    Real hardwood is a natural product and inherently has both color variation and underlying pink or yellow tones (depending on the species).  Porcelain, however, starts with a white bisque so it is much easier to control the overall color and get the perfect shades of white and gray.  In addition, with all the porcelain plank options available now, it is generally easy to find options that work with the color of your cabinets.

Plank CFO Argent     Sant'Agostino Shadebox Grey

Still can’t decide?  Come visit one of our showrooms and let us help you select the perfect product for your space!

Large Format Porcelain Panels

Laminam by Crossville I Naturali Statuario Venato_5x5We are seeing a huge rise in interest in large format porcelain panels.  LAMINAM by Crossville’s offers the only design solution of their kind that can skin both floors and walls in durable, enviable ceramic style.

This dramatic new dimension of porcelain tile offers panels in a thickness of 3+mm and 5.6mm.  And they will soon offer 1/2″ thickness for fabrication.

An ever-growing catalog of designer-inspired colors and finishes extends Laminam’s versatility to elevate the look of virtually any interior space.  These are ideal for FLOORS, WALLS, SHOWERS, COUNTERS, and even SINKS.  They can also be used to tile directly over tile.


FLOORS & WALLS: Satori by Laminam by Crossville - lodge_5x5


001 Filo Mercurio L3882 3+_5x5


These panels are designed and produced in Italy, yet stocked in the US for quick and easy access.  They are 1 meter x 3 meters, 1 meter x 1 meter, or can be cut to custom sizes.  LAMINAM by Crossville features the latest in Hydrotect surface technology and has the largest stock of colors and finishes on the market.

With these large format porcelain panels, you can get a great look, and cut demolition, installation, and downtime in half.  Stop by one of our United Tile showrooms or contact your sales rep to learn more about LAMINAM by Crossville.

Coming Soon!

As we wrap up this year, we thought we’d give you a sneak peak of some of the products that will be arriving into stock in the first quarter of 2018.  We hope this gets you excited for the new year!

gems fumée 1_5x5
Isla Gems Fumee
Equipe Chevron and Hexatile in Blanco Matte
Equipe Hexatile Mate in Blanco, Gris and Negro Matte
378_Techslate - Office - 01 Ambient_5x5
VitrA Tech-Slate Dark Grey and Anthracite
409_Aspenwood Greige - Bathroom Set 01 - 01 Ambient_5x5
VitrA Aspenwood Greige

Thank you to all of our customers and suppliers for your support this year.  We are honored to consider you all friends.  Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

2017 Product Recap

We had a fun year filled with product introductions!  Which was your favorite?

Vallelunga Argenta
Carrara 3_5x5
Vallelunga Carrara
Equipe Country
Apavisa Hydraulic
Bellavita Elements
Oceanside Glasstile - Devotion Line
Studio S Aria
Givry MTNM170- 2374x3072_5x5
Plank Bordeaux
Geyser WDGY316 2374x3072_5x5
Plank Woodlands
Crossville Simpatico
Picture 7594
Eleganza Lakestone
RE(image picture1)_5x5
Eleganza Loft 2.0
Crossville Altered State
Side view of bedroom with study corner
Eleganza Coastline
fabrique_showroom_roomscene_suede or linen_5x5
Eleganza Fabrique
Gazzini Met
island pebbles 5x5
Island Pebbles
Mockup Scene Creator
Studio S Caress
Sant’Agostino Shadebox

What to Know Before Beginning a Bathroom Project

This is a great Houzz article if you’re thinking about doing a project any time soon. Informative tips that are right on the money. Check it out!

New Product: Sant’Agostino Shadebox

SHADEBOX is a stunning collection of three separate series that all work impeccably together to create one style.

SHADELINES is a porcelain body with irregular lines on the surface, creating a wavy and three-dimensional motion.  This provides a relief resin effect.  This is offered in a 12×24 size in five colors.

SHADEWOOD is a porcelain wood look with a metropolitan flavor, resulting in refined and essential beauty.  In addition to the 6×48 size in the same five colors as Shadelines, there is a 12×48 size that incorporates all five colors in a chevron look.

SHADEBRICK is a glazed ceramic in a 3×12 size.  While Shadelines and Shadewood are fairly monochromatic, SHADEBRICK provides the color variation often found in a hand-made tile.  It is offered in four colors.

These series can be used alone or together.  The combinations leading to an elegant urban style are endless with SHADEBOX.




Tile Design Trends

There’s been a lot of talk of “Design Trends” around here lately.  Kelley Stratton, our Director of Showrooms, gave a great presentation to one of our dealers and their customers last week – and we have Feras Irikat from Lunada Bay coming to give a CEU presentation on the same topic in our Portland and Seattle showrooms at the end of the month (you won’t want to miss those!)

Here is what we are seeing trending right now.

While we still see plenty of the classic white 3×6 subway tiles, this category has certainly grown.  It now includes color, longer lineal sizes, and glass options.  We are seeing playful layouts as well as contrasting grout colors to enhance an installation.  The different possibilities allow this to be a great option for traditional or modern décor.

These hand-painted tiles are influenced by Spanish and Moroccan cultures – as well as the Arts & Crafts movement.  Some have a terra cotta body.  This can also include artisanal tiles, which typically have a non-uniform appearance and slightly irregular edges.  They are often inspired by European cafes and feature glazes with a wide color range, crackled glazes, or an antiqued look.

White is hot!  Some find white to be sterile, but when paired with warm materials, it can be both trendy and timeless.  You can easily make it more unique with interesting patterns, textures and materials.  White marbles continue to be an extremely popular choice – particularly in kitchens and bathrooms!

We are loving the textural and geometric options that are available now.  It is easy to add visual interest by using one color and using a fun shape – or go big with a bold geometric shape!  There are so many ways to play with shape and color while still achieving a classic look.

While white seems to please the majority of our customers, we have seen a resurgence in dark and moody colors, particularly in matte finishes.

This category has grown tremendously, and shows no signs of slowing down.  Technology has advanced to a point where most people can’t even tell if these porcelain options are real or not!  Whether you prefer rustic, modern, or somewhere in between – if you want the look of wood without the wear and maintenance, porcelain is a great option.

Ready to make a statement?  This look has been around for centuries, but has recently seen a huge resurgence.  Just be sure to pair these bold graphic tiles with something more muted so you don’t overdo it!

For nearly 10 years, customers have been coming in and asking if glass is too “trendy”.  Well, the fact that they have been asking for that long pretty much answers the question for us!  Glass can be subtle, beautiful, and timeless.  And is definitely a look that is here to stay!

Come visit one of our showrooms to see more ideas like these!