Porcelain Wood-Grain Tiles: Kicking Hardwood’s Butt One Room at a Time

When I first stepped into my current condo during my housing search, I was immediately swept off my feet. Crown molding, a brand new kitchen, spacious bathroom, and ample closet space: all features very difficult to find where I live. And in addition to all of that, it was a condo not on ground level with real hardwood floors…extremely rare in my city. It was a major selling point to me, as I am sure it would be to many of you as well.

Fast forward to present day. Those gorgeous floors are the bane of my existence.

Don’t get me wrong, they are beautiful. Until the light shines on them and you can see every single time my dog got excited about someone at the door, every single place I have dropped my cell phone or keys (and let’s be honest, this happens at least once a week), and especially that time when I was leaning some porcelain tile samples on top of my fireplace so I could step back and see how they would look from a distance when for some reason I can’t explain they decided to fall off and break on the floor.

Sooo not my fault.


My point being, in theory, hardwood floors are great. In practice, they aren’t a good idea for someone like me who is both a) a pet owner and b) a mega-klutz.

That’s where porcelain comes in. While up to this point I have been unsuccessful in convincing my other half to rip out the natural hardwood for a material that would actually look like new everyday, I might be able to win the argument with this new material straight out of Italy that’s starting to hit the stores. Wait for it…wait for it…(oh yeah, it’s in the title already…you probably know what I’m going to say)…Porcelain wood-grain tiles.

Let’s play a game called “Which one is actual hardwood?”

Trick question: they are all porcelain! Granted, some of them look more realistic than others, and if I were to use it in my own home I’d make sure I had the most realistic-looking one I could find, but they do a pretty good job, right? And the benefits are endless. Just think about it…

Drop your phone, keys, or a brick? Your floors would be undamaged.

Spill some wine? No worries because porcelain doesn’t stain.

Playing cat bowling (if you haven’t seen the video, click here)? Don’t sweat it because your cats claws don’t stand a chance against the strength of porcelain.

And it looks like hardwood!

Oh, and by the way, the price for these fabulous tiles is about a fraction of what you would spend on actual hardwood (especially when you take into consideration the maintenence costs of hardwood…which I try not to think about…too painful).

In short, I think this is a trend that will only grow in an economy where people can’t really afford to keep re-finishing their hardwood, or even afford to install it in the first place. And in my personal opinion, I find porcelain wood-grain tile to be a better quality product anyway!

I call that a perfect win-win situation.

If you would like assistance planning your next tile project, email me at tiletramp@gmail.com for a free consultation!

18 Responses to “Porcelain Wood-Grain Tiles: Kicking Hardwood’s Butt One Room at a Time”
  1. areafloors says:

    Love to repost this on our blog, the cat bowling won me over!

  2. marc says:

    it’s so funny lately you have porcelain floors that look like wood, then you have wood floors that looks like stone (and that is more expensive than stone) , recycled wood floors that don’t look reclaimed at all 🙂

    One way to look at it is it’s progress the other way is are they running out of flooring ideas 🙂
    but thanks great article and very nice pictures I actually thought the most realistic one would not be porcelain for sure.

    • Tile Tramp says:

      Wood floors that look like stone, and are more expensive than stone…that’s one I hadn’t heard of! Sheesh…what’s the point of that?? We do live in a crazy, crazy world 🙂 and thanks, i think those pictures really sell it for itself…now just need to get to work convincing the other half 😉

  3. Absolutely PERFECT article. I am downsizing into a 1340 square foot ground-floor condo and although I want the look of wood, there is NO WAY I am signing up for it again. With 3 kids, including two boys, it’s just too much hassle.

    Another HUGE benefit of tiling everything is that you don’t need the transitions between wood and non-wood surfaces. Those transition strips can be really expensive, even for less-expensive engineered-wood floors.

    I found some this weekend that look like an old old old wood cottage floor in france, with multiple layers of painted and scraped and painted wood . . . all in a porcelain tile for $4.49 psf. Pale ivory with green and tan – just fabulous.

    • Tile Tramp says:

      Thanks Alison! I work very hard to post relevant information so I’m really glad you found this useful! And you make an excellent point that I should have mentioned in my article; being able to go without the transitioning is one of the best features of this porcelain, especially because all of the newer buildings these days are using open floor plans. It allows for continuity without forgoing the desired style or texture. If you get a chance, I would *love* to see the material you found. It sounds gorgeous, and the price is definitely right! I would love to be able to recommend it to some of my readers.

      • Sharon Summerfield says:

        Please pass on the name of tiles that Alison found! We just finished gutting our house & looking for porcelain tile that is rustic looking – didn’t know they existed! Her discription sounds perfect!! Thx Much!!

      • Kay Price says:

        Did Alison ever give up the site for the scraped and painted wood French Cottage tile? The closest I have found is Reclaimed wood collection of tileofspainusa.com. The other neat porcelain tile I found was Timber Reclaimed Wood on the http://www.airbasecarpetandtile.com/tile site. It looks like the wood flooring I found that was at http://www.fontenaywood.com of the vintage barrel collection. I am thinking of using on my kitchen floor a reclaimed wood porcelain tile called Ft. Worth from the Texas Series collection on http://www.puccininaturalstone.com. I’d like more ideas before I take the plunge. I know the grout should be thin for it to look like a wood floor. It is really hard to tell from the sample pictures on the web. The Ft. Worth tile is lighter and warmer in the store and looks more like wood.

  4. Kim says:

    Have you tried cat dusting yet…

  5. John Gullickson says:

    Great Info here!!! Any suggestions on who has the most realistic wood looking tiles? Something where each plank actually looks a little different, just like real wood. Also any suggestions on grout? Seems like the most realistic looking tile has very thin (1/16th or 1/32) dark grout lines. Any thoughts? Thanks for your time:)

    • Tile Tramp says:

      I’ve been most impressed by the wood tiles by Ann Sacks and Unicom*Starker. As for grout, you want to match the color as best as you can, and nearly every wood-grain tile I’ve seen is rectified, which means you can go as tight as 1/16th. Unfortunately you really can’t go any tighter than that, but that is still a very, very thin grout joint.

      • terri schwartz says:

        I’m in the process of shopping for affordable wood grain tile and I love the wood tiles in the photos you posted, especially the first three. Do you know what those tiles are? If you could post or email me the specific brand from the photos it would be really helpful. Thanks!

  6. Shawn says:

    Appreciate your article, sounds like you are sold on porcelain. We are currently in the debate of porcelain vs wood. My husband says porcelain but I am not so sure. Because it is a vacation house in the mountains, hence snow and rain, and will likely be a weekend rental, he thinks porcelain will be the better choice. I am thinking resale value and wood grain porcelain being a trend that is dismissed as cheap and cheesy. Thoughts from others?

  7. beach condo owner says:

    who made the tile in the photos above? I want long tiles. I keep finding them in a 24 standard lenght. I really want longer,and randon lenghts if i could find a manufacture who makes such a thing.

  8. Surf54 says:

    What is the “dead load” associated with the porcelian tile and does it require to be installed on a mortar bed. If any of this is an issue if above the ground floor. (slab on grade)
    Just food for thought.

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  1. […] I call that a perfect win-win situation. – Tile Tramp […]

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