Over the past few years there’s been a revolution in the tile world, and the best example of this are wood effect tiles. Not so long ago, faux wood tiles were a byword for naff but thankfully things have changed. These days, porcelain planks are the latest word in style and sophistication.
As with any cutting edge technology, when it comes to timber tiles it can be pretty hard to distinguish between fact and fiction. Sometimes it seems like every time a new product arrives and blows us away, there’s a Luddite in the corner with a misguided view or two! So if you’re getting conflicting advice about wood tiles then don’t worry – we’re here to break down the myths and set the record straight.
Myth #1 Wood effect tiles are cold
Ok, we can’t debunk this myth entirely. But one thing’s for sure – wood tiles aren’t as cold as they’re often made out to be. Listen to some naysayers and you’ll get the impression they’ll suck all the heat from your poor toes. Far from it!
Some of us – myself included – actually prefer a solid, cool floor underfoot. But if you’re a little worried that your new floor won’t be as warm and inviting as real wood, why not install some underfloor heating? Easy to fit and efficient to run, it’ll take the chill of the tiles on those cold wintry days. Throw in a well-placed rug, add some new slippers to your Christmas list and you’ll soon forget what all the fuss was about!
Myth #2 Wood tiles always look fake
A common misconception around tiles – any tile, be it wood, stone or marble effect – is that they rarely look as good as the natural material. So we say – order a sample of a good quality Spanish or Italian design and see for yourself. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how realistic they are!
Of course, if we rewind back a good few years the first wave of wood tiles were a bit… fake. But as with everything, technology swiftly moves and today’s third and fourth generation wood tiles are pretty spectacular. Manufacturing processes owe more to Silicon Valley than traditional ceramics – high definition scanners faithfully mimic the warmth and character we love in wood, whilst airbrushing out the ‘bad’ bits.
And it’s not just about looks, the planks themselves are full of texture, pits and movement to ensure they feel just like timber underfoot. It’s all rather high tech and once laid, we’re pretty sure you’d struggle to tell your floor apart from natural hardwood.
Myth #3 Wood tiles aren’t environmentally friendly
Stop right there! For the eco-savvy amongst us, there’s a clear winner when it comes to sustainable flooring:
Our porcelain planks are…
On the other hand, engineered wood and vinyl tiles just can’t compare. Even solid hardwood from well-managed forests has a downside – chop down trees and you’re destroying a habitat for plant and wildlife, not to mention destroying a natural store of carbon dioxide. And new trees don’t grow overnight…
Myth #4 Wood tiles require no maintenance
Sadly this isn’t strictly true – we’d prefer to say wood effect tiles need ‘low’ rather than ‘no’ maintenance. While the days of self-cleaning tiles probably aren’t far off, your knees and elbows will still be pretty pleased if you opt for porcelain planks.
Because tiles are impervious to water and highly resistant to staining, they’re really easy to keep clean. A quick brush and a light mop every now and then is usually all you need to keep them looking good as new! Fancy a deeper clean? Just add a little bleach to your bucket – something we wouldn’t advise using on real wood floors!
Myth #5 Wood tiles will go out of fashion
Truth be told, we can’t see this happening, ever. Sure, plenty of trends come and go but there’s something about wood that makes it utterly timeless. And with wood effect tiles looking so realistic, offering so many benefits and costing far less than comparable hardwood floors, we think they’ll only increase in popularity.
That said, not all wood tiles are born equal. If you’re thinking of installing wood tiles and there’s a chance you might move home in the future, it’s probably a good idea to stay away from certain designs. Pick a natural looking, warm oak effect tile such as Orchard Honey and you can be pretty sure it’s a safe bet when it comes to selling. In contrast, there’s a lot of distressed designs that, whilst perfect for today’s industrial looks, might look a little passe in the future. Then again, who knows?
Myth #6 Wood tiles are expensive
As with most things, there’s different price points when it comes to wood tile. Although there’s plenty of designer Italian planks that cost a fortune, with a little digging around you can easily find the look and quality you want, at the price that’s pleasantly surprising. Shameless plug here – but at Porcelain Superstore we cut out the middlemen and their margins, so you get the latest tiles for far less than the high street.
It’s certainly worth remembering to factor in the ‘lifetime cost’ whenever you’re looking for a new floor. A cheap laminate could wear out after a few years and a solid floor might need a regular and expensive maintenance regime. On the other hand, with just a little TLC, porcelain wood tiles can easily last a lifetime. So don’t be afraid to spend a little extra – it’ll pay off in the long run.
Myth #7 Wood tiles are slippery
We’re often asked if our wood tiles are slippery, and the answer is no, usually!
The majority of wood tiles are designed to look and feel incredibly realistic, so the surface is usually slightly textured or pitted, rather than being completely flat – take a look at our Alpine Ash tiles here. There’s a number of highly-polished wood tiles available, but thankfully these haven’t really taken off.
Of course, as with any flooring if tiles get wet they can become more slippery. Here’s where another great benefit of picking tiles can come into play – many porcelain tiles are rated for how much anti-slip they offer. If you’ve got young kids or you’re using tiles in a particularly wet area, just get in touch and we can advise on which timber tiles are best for you.
And if you’re looking to continue your new wood effect tiles onto your patio for that seamless modern look, why not invest in an anti-slip surface solution? These inexpensive and invisible solutions are cheap, easy and quick to apply and ‘activate’ when wet – so perfect for our inclement British weather.
And with that, it looks like I’ve already debunked the last myth – that you can’t use wood effect tiles outside. Most wood tiles are porcelain, which can be safely used outside as it’s frost proof and won’t be bleached by sunlight. Just make sure that they’re installed correctly onto a solid, flat base and for peace of mind, use a textured tile or apply an anti-slip solution!