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Wood Look Tile: Is This a Trend You Can Trust?

Written by Jaymi Naciri on Friday, 24 January 2014 1:33 pm
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Harvest gold appliances. Flocked wallpaper. Red shag carpet. At one time, they were the next hot thing in interior design.

And then they were the thing people couldn't wait to get rid of (and we're speaking from experience here; all three of those super trends were in our family home growing up).

Trends change quickly, and when you are spending thousands of dollars on designing, redesigning, renovating, or updating your home, you want to make sure your money is well spent. So how do you know when something is a flash in the pan or is here to stay for while? That's the idea behind "Is This a Trend You Can Trust", a new series of posts we will be creating from time to time that look at a new trend and determines its staying power.

First Up: Wood Look Tile

Ceramic and porcelain tile that looks like wood started popping up a few years ago and has been growing ever since. Houzz noted the that wood like tile was everywhere at the Coverings 2013 Show, an annual flooring convention. "Tile is big business -- Americans bought 2.19 billion square feet of it in 2012. One of the biggest trends is the wood-grain tile look, on show in a big way at the 2013 Coverings trade show in Atlanta."

A year later, wood look tile is even more prominent in the market, not just in this country, but around the world, like at the annual Cersaie Fair in Bologna, Italy, where "wood look tiles were everywhere," according to Heritage Tiles.

Added BNP Media: "It seems that everywhere you turn, another tile manufacturer has launched a new line that replicates these natural materials -- and for good reason. With the technologies that are available today in tile production, the durability and ease of maintenance of ceramic, cost effectiveness and the green factor, it is no wonder why the appeal of these tiles has grown so big."

So, we offer up four reasons we believe wood-look tile is here to stay.

Wood Look Tile

It actually looks like wood.

Whether you are looking for a dark finish, whitewash, large planks, or parquet, you can find an option in tile. "Tile now ranges from a finish that's a dead ringer for dark stained walnut to wood from a well-weathered fishing boat in France," said Houzz. "With reclaimed wood so on trend, buying wood tile is an alternative to searching for the perfect hundred-year-old barn wood, and tiles are available in dimensions that wood is typically not."

Added Heritage Tiles: "Tile manufacturers have expanded on the wood look design to create a huge variety of different wood looks from the traditional oak plank to tiles inspired by aged barrel wood. We also saw square tiles with wood look designs in different patterns, reminiscent of parquet flooring and was definitely unique while being very easy to install. Imagine the effort it would take to reproduce the same design in ordinary wooden planks!"

It's cost-effective.

Budget is always a consideration for interior design or remodeling, and flooring typically eats up a chunk of that budget. When it's wood floors, that chunk is a big one. Wood look tile provides a great looking solution that can keep the budget in check.

You "get a luxurious look for half the price," said BNP Media. "Now that the industry has expanded, even more efficient, sustainable, believable products are being released. You are lowering the price without lowering the quality and beauty of a space."

It's practical.

Because you are dealing with tile, you don't have to worry about wear-and-tear you might see with real wood in a high-traffic area or moisture problems in a kitchen or bathroom.

"The strong trend toward faux wood tile is due to its contemporary, sophisticated look and durability," said JS Online. "Because it's water-resistant, you can use faux wood in parts of the home where moisture and water make real wood impractical, such as bathrooms, kitchens and foyers."

Added HGTV: "We all love the look of hardwood flooring, but most contractors say it has no place in a moist bathroom. The next best thing may be faux hardwood porcelain tile. It looks fabulous…is much easier to care for than real wood. And porcelain's natural resistance to moisture makes it an appropriate material for kitchen and bath applications."

Choices are practically limitless

It was the digital printing system that first gave wood look tile its push into the marketplace, said BNP Media, and those same technologies continue to push the product forward. These technologies "are transforming less-expensive tiles like porcelain and ceramic, giving them the looks of marble, granite, agate, malachite, terrazzo, limestone and wood."

"With new digital inkjet technology available, the always popular look of wood and stone are being recreated with limitless possibilities."

Our Verdict: Trusty

Trends continue to move toward materials that provide a combination of good looks and ease of use, and that's exactly what wood look tiles offer. There is no limit to what you can find and how you can use, and options are growing as we speak.

We personally love the idea of getting the look of wood without the upkeep. So much so, in fact, that we might be sharing some pics of our own flooring redo featuring wood look tiles sometime soon.

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  • Comment Link Keara Littner Friday, 01 May 2015 3:26 pm posted by Keara Littner

    I actually haven't seen ceramic or porcelain tiles that looks like wood before. From what you've said about it, it sounds like it might be worth looking into over the next few days. There are a few rooms in my home that could benefit from new flooring, and this type of thing sounds like it might be pretty nice to get!

  • Comment Link olivia Tuesday, 26 August 2014 8:00 pm posted by olivia

    I plan to do my entire apartment in this product, but where can I buy this in Manhattan? Perhaps I will need a designer to help.

  • Comment Link Catherine kennedy Saturday, 09 August 2014 12:00 am posted by Catherine kennedy

    Could you please tell me what brand and color floor tiles are used in the last picture with the bathtub. I would like to replicate that pattern

  • Comment Link Pam Monday, 16 June 2014 5:09 pm posted by Pam

    What do you think about putting it in a kitchen when the rest of the house is already the older thin Oak hardwood flooring? Will it look okay or odd? I want the French country cabinets and having an old looking plank floor gives me goose bumps! I never thought it would be possible so this is very exciting!! Just wondering about the transition through the doorway into the office or dining area with the oak flooring.

  • Comment Link Gary Saturday, 25 January 2014 10:16 am posted by Gary

    It's the perfect mix of tradition and technology.

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