One of the hottest design trends to emerge in recent years has been 'bringing the outdoors in'. We've seen everything, from the use of earthy hues to the installation of bifold doors, which break down the barriers between traditional indoor and outdoor spaces. However, one of the biggest features of this trend has been the incorporation of natural materials into the home. Wicker and bamboo are now extremely popular, and more and more homeowners are opting for wood flooring over carpet or lino.
The Wood Flooring Concern
While real wood flooring may seem like a good choice on the surface, it does have it's limitations, and it's important to remember that, as a natural material, it can be quite temperamental; it's not manufactured to behave in a certain way. Wood isn't always the best choice for some homes, and for some home spaces, so what is a suitable alternative? Have you considered using wood effect porcelain tiles?
It may sound strange, but wood effect tiles have fast become one of the best alternatives to real wood flooring. They're remarkably similar in appearance, and tend to be much more affordable, which makes them great choices for those decorating on a budget and striving to find a good balance between value and quality. Wood effect tile may also have a few advantages over real wood, too, including:
Believe it or not, wood effect porcelain tile can actually be largely indistinguishable from natural wood (yes, really!), as long as you purchase your tiles from a reputable and experienced supplier. This is due to the invention of new, revolutionary technologies that are able to quickly, easily, and cheaply emboss the surface of porcelain tile with highly realistic images. These include seemingly random colourings, knots, and wood grain patterns, mimicking the irregular patterns found in natural environments. Varying tones add depth to the tile, leaving you with the appearance of real wood, but the stability of porcelain tile.
Longevity & Durability
Real wood can be an excellent addition to the home, but it has its flaws, and the aim of wood effect porcelain tile is to address these concerns. Wood is naturally very delicate; it's porous, which means it doesn't hold up well in areas of high moisture, like kitchens and bathrooms, and it can fade in direct sunlight. Porcelain tile is different. It's manufactured to be strong, dense, and much less porous than wood (and even less porous than other types of tile, too), which means it's pretty stable and sturdy. This opens up doors to bringing the natural wood look into rooms where wood wouldn't normally thrive.
It's simple to achieve your desired look through wood effect porcelain tile; perhaps even more so than through other types of real wood alternative, like wood veneer. Consider parquet flooring, for example. Veneer has the pattern printed onto the surface which looks good, but it lacks the definition of the design. Individual 35 x 8.5cm wood effect porcelain tiles are arguably much closer to real parquet patterns, and enable you to create herringbone, chevron, or any other type of parquet pattern relatively easily. In many cases, you can do so for much less than it would cost for wood veneer mosaics or real wood blocks.
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of wood effect porcelain tile is that it allows for a more 'primitive' or unrefined look – without having to use primitive and unrefined materials, which could prove to be dangerous for use underfoot. There's a wide range of 'different' types of wood effect tile, such as shanty wood, burnt wood, and graffiti wood which replicates the look of rustic crates. There’s no limit as to what type of design can be embossed onto porcelain tile, creating unique opportunities for homeowners to design more eye catching, dramatic looks in the home using safe, high quality materials.
Are Wood Effect Porcelain Tiles Right For You?
If you're looking for a more affordable, more durable, and more environmentally-friendly alternative to real wood flooring, then wood effect tiles are the answer. Of course, some people may prefer the look and feel of real wood – it all comes down to a matter of taste – but in terms of price, quality, durability, and overall appearance, wood effect porcelain tile really is the best alternative to real wood, and may even prove to be a better solution than real wood, thanks to its long lasting nature and low maintenance needs.