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