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Tile vs Wood Flooring

There’s a lot to consider when choosing the right material for your new floor. Comparing factors such as durability, cost, maintenance, appearance and resale value is essential in order to make the best decision for your needs and lifestyle. Tile and hardwood flooring come in a variety of finishes and styles, each offering pros and cons. Let’s take a look at some types of tile and wood flooring and their characteristics.


Ceramic Tile: Considered to be part of a classification of tiles made from a clay mixture and fired in a kiln, making it strong and versatile. Ceramic tile is durable and appropriate for use in many areas of the home.

Porcelain Tile: Is also kiln-fired but at a much higher temperature making it more dense, smooth and much harder. These characteristics make porcelain tile suitable for virtually all interior areas.

Stone Tile: Marble, limestone, travertine and slate are examples of natural stone tile. Natural stone tiles each have unique patterns ensuring that no two are the same which adds character and distinction to them. Many stone tiles can be porous and require an occasional penetrating sealer. Each has varying qualities and are recommended for different areas of use within the home.

Cement Tile: Is extremely durable due to the materials and hydraulic process used to make it. Cement tiles are colored using mineral pigments on the top layer of the tile. They can be custom made (for a price!) opening the way for endless colors, patterns and designs. They are porous and require frequent sealing to keep them from staining. It is possible to sand and reseal the tiles to prevent a patina from developing.


Solid Wood: Made from a solid piece of wood, typically 3/4” thick. Things to consider when looking at hardwood flooring are species, grade and hardness of the wood. Wood floors come in a variety of widths and finishes. Solid wood is susceptible to damage if exposed to humidity and moisture so it’s not the best option for rooms where these elements are present, such as bathrooms, basements or even kitchens.

Engineered Wood: Made from a veneer layer of solid wood called the “wear layer”, which can vary from 2mm to 10mm, glued over plywood, typically 1/2” - 3/8” thick. Engineered wood floors also come in a variety of widths and finishes. Because of its construction, engineered wood is more resistant to moisture making it a better choice in humid areas.

Bamboo: An eco-friendly option, bamboo grows to maturity in about three to five years and can be harvested without killing the entire plant. It is technically a grass not wood, but is also incredibly hard making it a good option for flooring even in high traffic areas.

Both tile and wood flooring come in a wide range of sizes, finishes, colors and patterns. Tile flooring has a cooler, harder sensation to walk on while wood flooring has a warmer feel. Your decision about flooring might come down to whether you prefer warmth or coolness underfoot!

Maintenance is required for both tile and wood floors. Over time wood floors can become worn, scratched, discolored and will require sanding and refinishing, but can easily last many years if properly maintained. Tile floors are extremely durable but not indestructible, they can chip or crack and may need to be re-grouted over time.

Some notes on cost and value…In general, tile flooring is less expensive than hardwood. However, it comes down to the choices you make, as many types of tile can be more costly than certain types of hardwood flooring. Most natural stone tile costs more than ceramic and porcelain tile as well as some hardwoods. By and large, engineered wood flooring is less expensive than solid wood but keep in mind that solid wood flooring often retains its value which equates to a good return on the original investment.



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