Review: Porcelain Wood-Look Floor Tile

by Darwin Hall

before grout bathroom flooring

I decided to check out the latest trend in porcelain tile this week.

Many home improvement centers have television commercials promoting “wood-look” tiles for walls and floors.

And since I’m in the process of tearing out an old ceramic tile floor and installing something different for a bathroom remodel, I thought I would give this new product a try.

So I headed out to the home store to take a look and see what options were available.  The bathroom I’m working on will have wood-look subway tiles installed in the tub area.  I wanted to complement that, so I looked for a flooring style that will closely match the tub surround.

I went directly to the flooring isle and snapped a picture of their options, and later after arriving home matched up the color with what I’m installing on the walls.

See also:  Review Of DAP Plastic Wood Professional Wood Filler

At first glance, the panels look surprisingly realistic.  They have deep graining and a hand-scraped look, showing many different patterns in the pieces.

Not only do they have wood patterns embedded in them, but they also have grooves that you can actually feel when running your fingers across the surface.  It “feels” like real wood.

wood look porcelain tile flooring

wood look porcelain tile floor

The underside of the pieces have a standard grid pattern on them to hold adhesive.  I like porcelain tiles because they are very strong, and won’t crack like ceramic flooring.

There were six distinct styles to choose from, with each costing a few dollars a square foot.  The home store recommends a specific grout color for each style, which will blend in the space and complement the color tile you choose.

porcelain wood-look floor tile

What I like about this kind of flooring is that you can install the tile in basements and other areas of the home that before, you couldn’t with real wood.  Now you can add that warm, comfortable feeling authentic wood brings.

I chose the light gray color for my installation in the middle of the picture above.  It’s a product by Piazza Montagna called, “Dapple Gray”.  It comes in 6 x 24 inch pieces that are 9mm thick and can be installed in three different patterns.

You can create a herringbone pattern, which is an old trend that is appearing again.   You can also lay the tiles in a random offset, which in my opinion is similar to installing traditional wood flooring.  I’ll be installing it this way.  The last style recommended is a brick pattern with a 33 percent offset.

The manufacturer says to not install the tiles with a brick pattern at 50 percent, which is a common brick pattern with subway tiles.  It defeats the purpose of a “wood” floor, where random pieces are placed as you go along.

You install it just like any other stone floor, in the interior or exterior of your home.  Just don’t use it for pool decks, because it can become a slip hazard.

I used 3/16 tile spacers to keep everything separated evenly, then finished with sanded grout in the joints.  At the start of this project, I simply cut a piece and laid the tile in random order to start, using thin-set over backer board.

I also left a ¼ inch gap at the walls.  Then I used whole pieces and made cuts as necessary.  Everything was laid in a staggered fashion.

wood-look floor install

After laying the floor, I grouted the joints with Delorean Gray, which the home store suggested.  Next, I let that dry and then covered the entire floor with builder’s paper in preparation for the next phase of this small bath remodel.  I’ll seal the floor once I’ve got the walls finished.

gray flooring install

grout wood look flooring

This porcelain tile has a P.E.I. Rating IV, which has high resistance to abrasion and is suitable for heavy-duty residential and commercial floor installations such as entrances, commercial kitchens, hotels, exhibition and sales rooms with some dirt conditions.

What that means to me is that is virtually scratch-proof.  It’s also completely frost resistant for indoor or outdoor applications.

The only drawback I found is the subfloor must be totally level.  If not, a two foot long panel may have some lift at some point in the installation.  When you do notice this, you simply cut that piece down so it will lay flat.

The only giveaway that the floor is not real wood is the grout lines.  That’s why you should find a color that closely matches the floor.  The pieces of tile are kind of heavy, too.  A good idea would be to have someone available to help lift the cases of tile and place near the work area of your project.

Other than that, I give these wood-look tiles a 4 out of 5 stars.

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