Wood Effect Tiles or Engineered Wood Flooring?

Wood Effect Tiles or Engineered Wood Flooring?

This is a question we get asked all the time by customers wanting a solid and reliable flooring solution in their homes. We obviously have a favourite – the clue is in our name – but let’s explore this idea together and see the pros and cons to both sides.

Without further ado it’s time to answer the question…

Which flooring is better, tile or hardwood?

We’re a positive bunch here at the London Tile Company, so we’re going to talk about the positive aspects of using real wood flooring in and around your home first.
Firstly – let’s talk natural quality.

Real hardwood flooring and decking is produced naturally from real trees. Solid wood floors are world renowned for their beauty and ability to breathe a sense of natural calm into a space. But just how natural is natural wood flooring in reality?

The truth is most wood flooring these days are predominantly made from engineered timber – not solid. They’re made up of several layers of different timber with a wood veneer on top.

Wood Shades Graphic at London TileWhen choosing a real wood floor, you have a multitude of choices and varieties depending on your area and budget. Different types of trees have different colouring, graining, properties and tones. Even after all that, you can always stain the wood yourself, changing the inherent colour and effect to your own tastes! It’s is important to keep in mind that the colour of wood can change over time due to sun-bleaching or ageing.

Whilst we are talking about the ability to change the appearance of your wood floor, we should touch on refinishing. Being able to refinish a wooden floor via stripping or sanding it makes real wood flooring an attractive investment. The scratches and scuffs they accumulate over time can simply be sanded away. Real wooden flooring can be refinished multiple times as long as the work is carried out with care.

Perhaps this ability to change their appearance is why wooden floors last so long, never out of favour or out of style. In fact, because of their longevity real wood floors often outlive their owners! With this in mind, why would you realistically choose anything other than real solid wood flooring for your home?

Wood Warping London Tile

Real wood flooring doesn’t stay put or stay in a uniform shape – part of its rustic charm, but it can also be a costly lesson for homeowners. Wood naturally expands when it comes into contact with moisture – that’s the downside of using a natural product. And because it’s not waterproof, all the steam and splashes you find in kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor areas can cause your floor to expand and contract. When the wood moves and warps away from its original position it often opens joints when it later dries.

Water spillages can also lead to the wood going black, and more serious spillages will put the floor beyond repair, making wooden floors unsuited to bathrooms and kitchens. In addition, they really don’t get along with underfloor heating. The changes in wood temperature can cause further movement, joint opening and warping.

Plus, wooden floor won’t retain heat for very long, making it an expensive prospect to run over time with your underfloor heating system. Wood is also quite a good insulator so energy will be lost in overcoming this resistance rather than radiating the heat.

Whilst it’s great to embrace a natural stance, it’s also worth thinking about where your wood is coming from. As a general rule we advise to avoid tropical hardwoods as these come from tropical rainforests. Forestry Certification schemes attempt to avoid the problems of deforestation there is growing evidence of criminality and false certificates.

Is there any other substitute for wooden floors?

Wood Effect tiled flooring in a dining area

Enter the wood effect porcelain tile. With wood effect floor tiling you get all of the looks and charms of real wood wall and floor coverings, with no maintenance or re-sanding and all at a competitive price.

Porcelain tiles are made from firing clay under immense heat and pressure to create a tile that is dense and solid. They then have their designs printed onto their surfaces to make them look like real wood with state of the art high definition printers. But it goes further than that, our wood look tiles have textured surfaces, meaning that they have the same graining, knots, and rustic surface textures that you would find in real wood, creating the most realistic wood effect tiles around.

Unrestrained by the woods and colourings available, your range of choice expands greatly with wood effect tiling. You can choose a design from many different types of wood, graining, tones, staining and tile surface textures. There is enough variety here to satisfy even the most discerning interior designer. We love the sun bleached and smoke wood tones for outdoors, whilst retaining rich mahogany and chocolatey colours to create a warm and rustic interior.

Outdoor wood effect decking tiles

Valverdi Indoor-Out wood effect porcelain tiles allow you to seamlessly synchronise the interior and exterior of your home. Perfect for expanding your living space if you have sliding or bifold doors. And the best part about all this – next to no maintenance!

Whether you’re putting a range of wood effect floor porcelain tiles indoors or outdoors, porcelain wood effect tiles arrive pre finished, require no sealing, no stripping and next to no cleaning.

Tiles over time London Tile

All our porcelain floor tiles are impervious to water, stain resistant, and even weather and frost resistant too. Not to mention they are completely colour fast and fade proof, in fact, they will look as good in 20 years as they do on the day they were laid! Moisture will not affect porcelain tiles and the adhesives used to lay them and they will not be affected by floods – although if laid on a timber floor the underlying timber may fail.

Okay – so right now it’s looking pretty close between real wood and wood effect, so do wood effect tile floors play nicely with underfloor heating systems?

You bet they do – we’ve already mentioned that they are un-phased by temperature changes, but did you know they can help to make your underfloor heating more cost effective too? Porcelain floor tiles are very dense meaning they retain heat for longer and you get more from your system. They also disperse heat more evenly from the entirety of the tile surface, so no more arctic edges or cold spots – unless your house is haunted of course…

So, which one is better then?

Real wood flooring may be initially marginally cheaper, but with the upkeep and maintenance products (not to mention time), wood effect tiles become the financially better option. And whilst they’re not real wood, this means they don’t get the inherent problems that natural wood does, like warping or movement, water damage and wear. Wood effect tiles are also completely waterproof and perfect to use both indoors and out, creating a matching flow to your home.

All these factors coupled with the added benefit of being able to use modern inventions like underfloor heating puts wood effect tiles one step ahead in our opinion.

Woodland Wood Effect Floor Tiles

Okay, so you’ve made some good points, but why should I listen to you? Who made you the experts!?

Over sixty years’ experience trading in porcelain and ceramic tiles have made us the experts. Here at the London Tile Company we’re part of the Hampshire Tile Warehouse Group of Companies, a select trading group and the premier tile suppliers in the UK.

We specialise in in ceramic and porcelain tiles for inside your home and out, marrying quality with value to give you the best flooring solutions around. You can browse and order tiles on our website using our easy online ordering system, or pop into one of our branches across the South of the UK!

As you may have guessed we stock a wide range or wood effect floor tiles for both indoor and outdoor uses. Browse our ranges and benefit from free delivery on all tile orders over £300!