Hardwood Flooring Or Wood Looking Tile?

Updated: 2 days ago

Hardwood Flooring Or Wood Looking Tile?

The decision to purchase either hardwood flooring or wood-looking tile is a personal homeowner's choice. Each type of product has specific advantages and disadvantages. Hardwood flooring continues to be one of the most popular types of floor covering in homes. Wood-looking tile has grown in popularity, and many homeowners have installed this product for its unique feel and design.

Hardwood Flooring Or Wood Looking Tile?

Do You Like Hardwood Flooring Or Wood Looking Tile?

Hardwood flooring continues to be a timeless flooring product that many homeowners continue to love. Hardwood flooring is sold in either a solid plank or an engineered plank design. The type of subfloor in your home, as well as the type of installation, are leading factors in determining which type of hardwood flooring is the best option.

In recent years, tile manufacturers have developed products that look like real hardwood, but in fact, our tile products. These products continue to grow in the marketplace, and manufacturers have enjoyed great sales success with these tile designs. Tile products are available in multiple width and length planks, as well as in both light and dark wood colors.

There are many advantages and disadvantages of each type of flooring, and when trying to make a buying decision, one should not only look at the color and design of the product, but also at the care and maintenance requirements, durability, slip resistance features, installation requirements, and many other comparable items.

The purpose of this article is to discuss these comparisons and help readers determine which type of product would be the best for their home and family.

Hardwood Or Wood Looking Tile Comparison Chart

Item Hardwood Tile

Durability Will last for several years Very durable.

Can be refinished High traffic floor

Cleaning Dust mop. Very easy to clean Dust mop. Very easy to


Scratching Somewhat easy to scratch Harder to scratch

Warmth Warm on the foot Cold on the foot

Waterproof No. Hardwood does not Handles water very

like water. well.

Repair Not easy to repair. Not easy to repair

Pets Pet-friendly. Easy to clean. Pet-friendly. Easy to clean

Pet accidents can be an issue Handles accidents well

Small Kids Can cause scratches. Falls can Cold for kids. Can be

cause cuts and bruises slippery

Durability - Hardwood Vs Wood Looking Tile

The durability of hardwood flooring depends somewhat on the species of the hardwood, as well as whether the product is a solid or engineered plank. Each species of hardwood has a different "hardness rating." The harder the wood, the more durable it will be. Likewise, with its unique design, engineered hardwood products tend to be a little more durable than solid products. Each prefinished hardwood product comes with a factory finish coat, which is intended to offer durability to the product.

Another nice benefit of hardwood is the ability to refinish the floor. As long as the floor is well maintained, a customer can have their existing floor refinished many years after installation.

One downside to hardwood flooring in a busy household relates to moisture and water. Hardwood flooring and water do not get along. Water can cause an enormous problem to hardwood flooring. Common issues that can easily damage a hardwood floor include:

  • The dishwasher overflows on the floor

  • The power goes out and the home has humidity issues

  • Common household spills that don't get cleaned up

  • Cement sub-floor that has moisture

  • Tracking in snow

Kids and pets can be tough on a hardwood floor. Even though hardwood flooring has a finish coat layer, hardwood flooring can be easily scratched by pets and toys.

The durability of wood-looking tile is much different than hardwood flooring. Wood-looking tile is a very hard product, that will be hard to scratch, dent or chip. However, even though tile is difficult to damage, it is not scratch-proof or dent-proof. For example, if you have wood-looking tile in your kitchen, and you drop a can of fruit just right, the floor could potentially chip or dent.

If installed properly, tile should last in a home for many, many years. Homeowners generally replace tile, not because it is giving out, but simply because they want to have a different look in the home.

Water and moisture are usually not a problem with a wood-looking tile. Tile can survive common household spills and the occasional tracking in of water and snow. One issue we sometimes see with water and tile pertains to the grout. While the tile itself is waterproof, the grout and tile adhesive are not. If water gets into the grout, it can get underneath the tile and cause problems with the tile adhesive.

Cleaning - Hardwood Vs Wood Looking Tile

Cleaning a hardwood floor is incredibly easy. In most cases, manufacturers simply advise using a dust mop a few times a week. Each manufacturer will have specific cleaning guidelines in their product warranty, that we always advise customers to follow. As an example, here are some common guidelines in most product cleaning instructions:

  • Use a soft cloth to blot spills and spots as soon as they happen. Always avoid allowing liquids to stand on your hardwood floor.

  • Sweep, dust, or vacuum the floor regularly. If vacuuming, use a hard floor attachment to avoid scratching or dulling your floor’s finish

  • Clean the floor with Shaw Floors Hard Surface Cleaner, specially formulated to wipe away dirt and soil without damaging your floor’s finish. Shaw Hardwood

Cleaning a wood-looking tile is more or less the same as a hardwood floor. A soft cloth or dust mop a few times a week is usually sufficient to maintain the floor. The one difference with a tile floor is water. It is okay to use a little bit of water to clean up spills and sticky spill spots. as an example with tile floors, here are some general cleaning tips:

Regular, basic cleaning with warm water and mild soap is sufficient to keep floors looking good. You can also use gentle, everyday multipurpose spray cleaner to remove soap scum, hard water deposits, and mildew. Do not use cleaning products that contain acids or ammonia (and other harsh chemicals) as these can damage grout and glazed surfaces of the tile. Choose products that are compatible with your grout to avoid damage or discoloration of the grout. Always dry your porcelain thoroughly after cleaning. - Daltile

Scratching - Hardwood Vs Wood Looking Tile

Scratching is one of the main maintenance and care issues with a hardwood floor. Homeowners need to implement home policies to protect the floor. A busy household, with high amounts of foot traffic, can be a challenging issue for a hardwood floor. Here are some common sense precautions that homes should take to prevent scratching:

  • Place felts pads on all tables, furniture, and chair legs

  • Put doormats next to all outside doors

  • Have family and friends take off their shoes when entering the home

  • Don't put dog and cat bowls directly on the hardwood floor

With wood-looking tile, scratching is not as big of a problem, but it is still a concern. With tile, if the floor scratches, it can be difficult to repair or replace. Once again, common sense floor maintenance should rule the day when taking care of the floor. The same guidelines that we mentioned for hardwood also apply to wood-looking tile.

Floor Warmth - Hardwood Vs Wood Looking Tile

One of the issues with tile has always been the cold feeling on the foot. Many homeowners don't like the coldness of tile when walking into their kitchen or bathroom. Hardwood flooring is much warmer and offers a more cozy feel than tile.

Many customers use a radiant heating system with tile to eliminate that "cold feeling."

Water Issues - Hardwood Vs Wood Looking Tile

As we have mentioned earlier in this article, hardwood flooring and water do not mix. There have been many hardwood floors ruined by water spills and floods. Homeowners with hardwood floors have to constantly be concerned about the humidity in the house. If a home loses power, or simply keeps its home too hot, the humidity has the potential to ruin the hardwood flooring.

Wood-looking tiles can handle water, but it is always best to get any spills cleaned up as fast as possible. Water can get into the grout and underneath the tile planks. If this happens, the water can have a negative effect on the tile adhesive, which will cause issues with the tile floor.

Repairing Hardwood & Wood Looking Tile

Neither hardwood flooring nor wood-looking tile is easy to repair. Both types of products can be complicated to repair/replace. If you have a need to replace one piece of plank, it could take a qualified installer several hours to fix.

Likewise, both types of products have dye lot color issues. If a homeowner has to order more material for a plank replacement, the replacement piece will probably not be a 100% match. It is always a good idea for homeowners to set up very strict care and preventative maintenance guidelines, to help prevent repairs.

Pets - Hardwood Flooring Vs Wood Looking Tile

Wood-looking tile has the advantage when it comes to pets. Pets can be very hard on a floor, and wood-looking tile is going to offer more durability than hardwood. Let's face it: if you have a 100-pound dog that likes to run around in the house, your hardwood floor could be in trouble, whereas a wood-looking tile floor will endure the abuse.

However, both products can have a tendency to be slippery for pets. Adding area rugs to high-traffic areas might be a good option to help prevent pet injuries.

Small Kids - Hardwood Flooring Vs Wood Looking Tile

Kids can be very hard on flooring. While both hardwood flooring and wood-looking tile are durable, kids can scratch and dent floors, create spills, and also fall on the floor. Many homeowners like carpets to help avoid cuts and bruises. It is much softer on the body for a child to have a fall on the carpet, as opposed to tile or hardwood.

Cost - Hardwood Flooring vs Wood Looking Tile

Costs associated with floor covering are both the material cost and the labor cost. Between hardwood and wood-looking tile, it is almost impossible to specify which product is more expensive or less expensive. Both product types have good, better, and best products that vary in price. You can find a very affordable wood or tile product, and you can find products that are very, very expensive.

Installation costs are similar, but a little different. Installation costs depend on several factors:

  • Demolition of the existing flooring

  • Floor preparation

  • Type of product being installed

Both products require skilled installers. Hardwood flooring or wood-looking tile is not easy DIY installation.

FAQ - Hardwood Flooring vs Wood Looking Tile

Do you have to grout wood-looking tiles? Most of the time, yes you do. Most products require a 1/8" or 3/16" grout joint. Grout joints are typically very small. It is important and critical to have the grout joint to keep the tile in place.

Which is a better product, solid hardwood or engineered hardwood? They are two different products, used in different settings. Solid hardwood is nailed to the floor in homes with wood sub-floors. Engineered wood can be installed on concrete floors as well as wood sub-floors.

Does your floor have to be flat when installing wood looking tile? Yes. Wood-looking tile is not a very forgiving product if the subfloor is not flat. Tile plank products will not bend, and they require a flat surface to adhere to the floor.

Does my hardwood floor need to sit in my house before installation? Yes,wood-looking it does. Manufacturers will have specific guidelines on product acclimation. Hardwood flooring needs to be in the installation area for several days prior to installation.

Does wood looking tile require a cement board underlayment? For the most part, yes it does. It is common practice to install cement boards prior to installing tile.

Which manufacturer has the best hardwood flooring? It would be impossible to identify one company over others. there are many different hardwood manufacturers, each one offering their own good, better and best products. Base your buying decisions on color, style, and price.

Is wood-looking tile a fade? Absolutely not. Companies are coming out with more and more wood-looking tile products each year.

Does hardwood flooring increase home value? Hardwood flooring has been a timeless flooring product for several years. Hardwood flooring does increase home value, and that is one of the main reasons it is such a popular product.

Conclusion - Hardwood Flooring vs Wood Looking Tile

Both hardwood flooring and wood-looking tile have all sorts of products with beautiful designs and colors. The type of floor a homeowner picks is a personal choice. There are no right or wrong answers. Rather, homeowners should pick a product they like based on style, color, price, and product features.

We have a great article, "How To Buy Flooring For Your Home," that does a wonderful job of walking homeowners through our recommended buying process.

Please note this website contains affiliate links which means we may earn a commission if you choose to buy one of the products we recommend. You can read our full disclosure at the bottom of the page.



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