wood porcelain?

alermarFebruary 6, 2014

Hi all. I know nothing about design, and have little vision. So, for our S.Fla new home renovation, an architect/designer/friend is helping us. He loves the look of wood porcelain. He has wonderful taste, but I'm not sure I get this one. I always thought that you shouldn't try to fake natural. I don't want the upkeep of wood. Any thoughts on the wood porcelain -- here is an example

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I have a friend who did her whole main floor in wood-look porcelain tiles and I think it looks great. Just be sure to get an installer familiar with the product who can lay the tile with minimal grout lines and try to match the grout as closely as possible with the tile. My friend has dogs and wanted something that was easily cleaned and that could be easily installed on a slab foundation, but did not like laminate.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 6:20PM
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I have had it for years, before it became as popular as it is now. The newer products do look very much like wood.
Mine is a light beige and you really wouldn't see a wood this color. That said, i love it. It is in our tv room which is off the garage. So, this is a busy entry.

Look at what is available. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. i know you said that your designer has good taste, but just go with your gut and get what YOU like.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 6:40PM
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I agree with your friend about how wood porcelain looks, but I'd be a bit concerned with which rooms you put it in.

It would work great in a place like the kitchen. But, I don't know if it would work so great in a room like the one that's pictured.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 12:26AM
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I would tend to agree with you, but I've seen some very nice looking examples of this.

I tend to think of it not so much as faux wood, but wood inspired. It's not as though it is cheaper...

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 12:36AM
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Thank you so much for the responses -- it does help to know that you've seen it and that it looks good. I'm going to try to see it installed somewhere.
Marvelousmarvin -- why do you think it wouldn't work in the room pictured?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 6:45AM
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I actually LOVE that tile, and agree that "wood inspired" is a good description. It is not meant to "pass" as wood, but IMO it is a very clever use of tile with a more natural pattern embedded in it. I think it is perfect in the room pictured, and in fact I think it looks best in lighter colors that aren't pretending to be wood.

My dd and I ate lunch in the Munich airport at a restaurant that had the floor pictured in a sort of grayish white, and it was spectacular. I kept commenting on it to the extent that dd joked the floor was ruining her lunch!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 12:04PM
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I really like it and it definitely works in Florida....

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 2:11PM
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We used the wood look porcelain tile throughout our guest house. It is more of a man/teen-cave so I wanted something that went with the Spanish style of the property, but was very very low maintenance. Very happy with it.

You need to look at several tile shops because they all carry different brands of wood-look tile and there are large variations in looks and quality. We used the Cerdomus, Barrique tile in Brun color. Used the 8" wide in both the 24" and 40" lengths laid "randomly". Link below

Here is a link that might be useful: Cerdomus Barrique tile

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 4:50PM
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Thank you for all of your comments. I'm beginning to feel much more comfortable with it, and the description of it being "wood inspired" helps conceptually. Kswl -- your comment about lunch with your daughter made me laugh. Chispa - that floor is lovely! The idea would be to use it in the large common area that opens up onto the patio -- kind of like the inspiration photo above (not with those windows unfortunately).

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 5:36PM
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ellendi - Can you post a picture of your floors? I'd love to see it in the beige color.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 10:04PM
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I just installed "wood inspired" tile in my MCM home. With two kids, a big dog, and living by the beach, wood was a no go. I have no complaints with the tile, except that I have to wear socks all the time now. But it is so much less maintenance than the wood we had in our old house.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 9:39PM
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Love it. I have seen it in some models and it looks fabulous. Great choice for Florida.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 10:13PM
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Thank you all for the comments-- It is very helpful -- and pipdog -your floors and your VIEW are amazing!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 2:04PM
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What if you didn't want any carpet in your house and you used wood look tile in the main areas, what would you put in the bedrooms? I don't know that I would like real wood next to wood tile, but yet I don't know if I could see tile in the bedrooms.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 9:46PM
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Great question msrose -- I hadn't thought that far ahead. I know we don't want carpet (allergies). I'd love some opinions on that!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 5:44AM
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alermar - I've given this a lot of thought! I've thought about getting hardwoods, but I've never had them before and I'm a very low maintenance kind of person. There's another post going right now on dusty hardwoods. I've thought about wood porcelain, but I also worry about the idea of "fake" wood and I worry it may be an "in" thing now, but lose it's popularity later on. I also get stuck on the bedroom thing and I wonder if having it everywhere in the house is too much. I have dogs though and tile makes so much sense.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 9:03AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Put it in the bedrooms too. You can always put a sumptious rug on top of it to add softness and warmth.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 9:14AM
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I have become a wood tile convert. Initially did not like it because it was "fake."

However, wanting porcelain tile for the bathroom - that was going to be "fake stone," decided the "fake wood" tile looked better than the "fake stone" tile.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 9:16AM
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mdln - Is that your floors? Tell us more. I've never seen any that look like that.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 9:55AM
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@ msrose - not yet, just added it to the design; thanks to this thread which helped me make the decision.

I kept looking at porcelain tile - that I didn't really like (esp. compared to real stone) and when I saw this tile, I liked it far better than any porcelain tile I saw.

Saw it at Century tile and it comes in 4 different shades. (note: I do NOT work for them.)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 10:10AM
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I installed it in our main living area and halls to the bedrooms. I'd like to take it into our master and bath when we do our bath remodel. We live in the south, so it's a great material for the weather and dirt/sand.

My house is on a slab and in a very middle class neighborhood, so have a lot of flooring options. I contemplated laminate (very popular here), vinyl (old dogs slip too much), and tile (most expensive).

I don't regret the choice, at ALL! Love the easy maintenance, how it looks, and that it's slip resistant. I don't have to worry about daily damage, like I would with softer materials. I have 2 dogs, 3 young kids, and a messy husband so I mop once a week when the tracked-in stuff gets too much for me. Otherwise I vacuum every day.

Ceramic or porcelain tile looking like stone isn't questioned and I think the wood-look will become the same.

This is mine. Mohawk Stage Pointe Toasted Walnut. I put in the baseboards and painted after these pics. I wish I had better finish photos :)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 10:48AM
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@ alex9179 - great pics, looks like your one child and dog are deep in serious conversation, while the other 2 are having fun - so cute!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 11:01AM
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I've been looking into this recently as well, but for a NYC apartment. Some that I've seen recently are just so gorgeous. If you go to the Flooring forum you'll see a lot of information about it, along with many photos of floors people put in.
What seems to matter a lot is to get quality tiles which have many variations, just like real wood. Additionally, it's important not have them laid in an obvious pattern, like subway tile, say. The more random look works much better for this.
Most important, get someone who really knows about laying tile. Many of the wood look tiles come in long planks, and those are a lot trickier to lay than the usual squares.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 12:01PM
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Holly- Kay

When I was looking for hardwood I saw the wood inspired porcelain tiles. As soon as I saw them I knew what flooring I would be using when I redo the master bath!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 2:13PM
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The wood-look tile in our guest house main floor and basement are connected by a real wood staircase. At the top the tile meets up with the staircase threshold. Our floor guy matched the wood stain to the tile and did a great job. I don't think most people even notice that they are going from tile to wood to tile as they use the staircase.

If you are in the south I would just use the tile for the bedrooms too. If you have to do hardwood in the bedrooms then do site finished and stain it so that it complements the tile.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 6:43PM
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helou - Thanks! I'm headed to the floor forum now!

I went floor shopping today and I started out telling the guy I wasn't really sure what I wanted, but later I mentioned one thing I was thinking about was wood tile. He asked why I was thinking about that and he said it in that tone of voice like "Why in the world would you want that". We told him our reasons and he said real woods floors were just as good of an option and they both run around the same price. I was going to ask why he was turned off of the wood tile, but then he had to go help another customer and we left before he could get back to us. I just don't want people to walk in my house and have that same reaction.

Alex - I'm glad you posted. I'm in the south also. I see wood tile in the stores, but I haven't actually seen it in anyones house around here.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 7:31PM
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Everyone likes different things. Where I live I prefer site finished hardwood floors for my main living & bedroom spaces. If I lived in the southeast or my house was on a slab I would have to consider other options. The wood look tile was perfect for our guest house and basement. Maybe the floor guy makes more money from the hardwood companies than the tile companies.

If you love it and it works for your lifestyle, why wouldn't you use it?

Here you go, 40,000+ photos of wood look porcelain tile floors ...

Here is a link that might be useful: Houzz - wood look porcelain tile floors

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 11:14PM
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Those kids :) They went nuts when I put the rug down. They were also FASCINATED by the tiling process and watched him work for hours.

If I hadn't been stuck with a slab foundation, I probably would have gone with rustic pine wood planks. Something that had patina and looks good as more is added!
Wood can go over slab, but then we would have had to install sleepers for the type of flooring I liked, dealt with door clearances because of the added height, and still worry about moisture.

I'm glad I chose this material. Zero worries!

I chose 24" long tiles after reading about them on the John Bridge forum. Longer tiles can be bowed and then you have lippage (that can happen with straight tiles and a bad tiler, too!). There are a few of mine that aren't perfectly even with the next tile, but don't cause a trip hazard. The longer the plank, the more likely it will develop a bow when fired, the more difficult it is to set for a nice, even floor. That can be alleviated with larger grout lines, but the wood-floor look depends upon narrow lines.
Also, use a darker grout than what matches. The second darkest was a perfect match, but I chose the darkest they had and prayed it would lighten up when dry. Turned out exactly as I had envisionedâ¦when does THAT ever happen?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 10:31AM
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msrose, You have to exercise a lot of your own judgement with a salesperson's suggestions.

I have found that far too often salespeople who operate on commission have their own agenda in steering you towards a particular product. Then there are the ones who aren't working on commission, but who might, or might not, know what they're talking about. You have no way of knowing. Sometimes it's a retired tile layer working at Home Depot with years of experience, sometimes it's an old guy who used to teach high high school English and is just working to keep busy.

And sometimes, it's just a matter of taste. I bought carpet recently that I love, a gray geometric pattern, but when I was shopping the lovely saleswoman obviously didn't care for my selection and kept pointing me towards brown/beige florals.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 10:54AM
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alermar - Do you know what brand the tile is in your picture? I found a similar one and it looks like it's sold at Floor and Décor, so I wonder if the quality would be as good.

Mediterranea Urban Stone Ash

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 10:57AM
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Alex9179 -- great floors! And adorable kids! You are blessed :) I'm glad you mentioned the bowing issue with the longer tiles. I know that's what we're considering, so I'll look into the bowing issue.
Chispa -- thank you for that link -- now that I've seen more pics, I'm much more comfortable with the idea of wood look tiles, and this process is becoming more fun and less stressful !
Msrose-- I have no idea what those tiles are -- I think I found the pic during a google search. I LOVE your inspiration photo -- beautiful. Is that the look you're going for? We will probably use Porcelanosa (we have a contact and hopefully will get a good price).

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 6:34AM
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I went to lowes yesterday and got some wood porcelain and wouldn't you know it my 8 year old camera is stuck with the lens going in and out, if I can fix it I'll post some photos,

I was looking at the porcelain wood look tiles for my small bathroom floor and shower, the color I likes has a linen look to it. There were quite a few other colors and selections.in stock there.

Here is a link that might be useful: wood look porcelain at Lowes

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 9:55AM
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I did not think I would like wood porcelain so I have all hardwood save the baths. I love hardwood. Beautiful, but I have a cat and a dog. It is easier to clean fur balls from porcelain and hair from porcelain than wood. I think so much cleaning on the wood is probably not as good for it. Cat paws and dog paws are not either. My neighbor who has 3 dozens cats installed the wood porcelain in her glass house where the kitties live and she is able to keep it looking and smelling nicely and if she can do that with 36 cats, I could do it with one cat and dog. Wish I'd done that.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 10:29AM
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Let me offer a counter view to all this enthusiasm. This look is hot right now...but my crystal ball is cloudy on how long this will be for. I've seen so much of it, that it's starting to look cliched (at least to me). I agree that it looks good in many applications, but tile is a fairly long-term choice. I've been remodeling homes for decades and some of the choices I made that I thought were trendy and great at the time turned out to look as dated as avocado blenders 10 years later. Before you decide to do this, ask yourself how sure you are that you will still like it years from now. There are many other tile choices that are beautiful and timeless, and may be more acceptable to some future buyer of your home.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 10:39AM
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It's important to remember that the subfloor prep is critical for a good job. Take as long of a straight edge as you have and lay it on the slab. High spots need to be ground down, and low spots filled. You can't just hire a tiler to show up and put the floor down.

Also, quality is somewhat dependent on price. There are a lot of lower quality red body ceramics out there at a low price point. Those just won't be durable for the long haul. If you're going to pick something to walk on for the next 15 years, it should be of a good quality from an actual flooring store. F&D is mostly seconds or imports, which can be fine for a backsplash, but on something that is so dependent on tight quality tolerances, you will be better off choosing a real flooring store and a major name brand tile. Daltile, Crossville, Happy Floors and Florida Tile all have good quality wood look tiles.

The manufacturers also recommend using no more than 1/3 offset, and using a medium bedding mortar (NOT thinset) to lay the tiles. That gives you a bit more adjustability to be able to keep lippage to a minimum, even on the longer tiles.

The truly important part of the equation is finding a good installer who can accurately assess and do the needed prep, and who has experience with this type of flooring. I do have a recommendation for an installer for you to interview. He's a member on another board that I frequent and he has some gorgeous pictures of his work shown. Precision Flooring (772)237-9900. You might also try over on the John Bridge Tile Forum for installer recommendations. Just remember that good guys aren't cheap.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 10:55AM
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Has anyone ever heard of Ariostea Legni? I found one I really like, but the company is in Italy, so I'm not sure if it's sold in the U.S.

Ariostea Legni Rovere Scuro

Here is a link that might be useful: Ariostea Legni Rovere Scuro

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 9:34PM
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kudzu9 - from your experience, what tiles do you see as "timeless" (this is a real Q -- I am just learning about all of this). We originally installed marble-look ceramic tiles in our house 17 years ago. We were trying to mimic the look of tumbled marble, which was very "in" at the time and which we could not afford. I hated the grout with a passion. So, about 6 years ago, we put large shiny marble tiles over the ceramic -- I still love the look, but I feel like the marble goes in and out of style as well (shiny is in, then it's out, then it's back). But as you said, this is a very permanent decision, especially since our common area is "great room" style. So I share your concern with the wood-look tiles. We would be using them for the entire common area, not just a bathroom, which is a huge commitment.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 7:13AM
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My floors are not the wood look (I have a gray marble look), but they are from Ariostea. Even my tile contractor said it's one of the best tiles he's eve worked with - they are extremely uniform in size. And they're strong! I was doing a kitchen at the time and they dropped a 450 pound Viking oven on the floor - the oven dented and had to be replaced, but there wasn't a scratch on the floor. I get compliments from everyone who comes in to my house. It's been about 5 years now, and the floor still looks brand new. I don't know how they manufactured it, but it's a marble and every tile looks different.

I bought mine from a dealer in Staten Island New York (see link). The dealer was OK, all in all. I found the saleswoman annoying and obviously obsequious, but I liked the tile, and I had no problems with delivery; took a while coming from Italy, but they arrived when they were supposed to. At the time I did some research and found a store in Brooklyn that was also selling them, but I didn't go there and don't remember the name.

I'd use Ariostea tiles again in a minute.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tile store I used for Ariostea

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 7:37AM
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Kudzu, I disagree with your premise because it seems most people are installing wood look tile in search of the appearance of hardwood without some of the usage flaws...and that is generally a long term floor option. Most folks who like HW like it, IMO, in part because it is a timeless classic flooring choice. The wood-inspired tiles are designed to mimic that look very closely.

Generally there don't seem to be a lot of people here or in real life with an attitude of 'oh, I put down hardwood 5/10 years ago and it's so dated.' The very point of the look is that it doesn't get dated.

And that is my opinion, worth just what you paid for it :).


    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 7:43AM
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I'm just posting my opinion, which is no more or less valid that anyone else's. My interior design ideas are: 1) less is more (i.e., keep things clean and unbusy), and 2) don't use materials which look like something they are not. I never liked wood grain formica, or fake wood grain on dashboards, and I can't fully appreciate the idea of porcelain pretending to be wood (or denim, or metal, etc.). So, to answer your question, I personally like to stick with classic colors like black, white, grey, tan, beige, etc.; other, more vibrant colors can work if they aren't used on huge areas; and I feel that pastels can be tricky because they are likely to quickly become passe. I also like tiles that look like slate, or marble, or other stone. This may sound boring, but there are tens of thousands of choices that to me are prettier, safer and more timeless than wood grain porcelain. I'm not trying to insult those people in this thread who like that look; in fact, there have been some very nice pictures posted here. I'm just not convinced it will have been as good a choice ten years from now.

So Ann...make a note on your computer for us to resurrect this thread in 2024 and we'll see what we think of this design choice then!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 2:58PM
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@kudzu9 - I very much agree with you. I even have a problem with "fake" slate, marble, travertine, etc.

However, what is porcelain tile supposed to look like? Single color, without texture?

That can be a large area when you consider the shower/tub and the floor in a bathroom.

Thus, I have reluctantly progressed into accepting "fake" stone & "fake" wood.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 4:48PM
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the porcelain wood sample I got at Lowes, although it said it was a wood look, in person it looks like a soft matt linen texture, which to me would be timeless and classic; and I really like it. I think it would be nice on walls or a floor, it is a silvery gray color, sorry my camera is broken I can't post the photo.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 5:39PM
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I agree that texture and variegation are fine. It helps liven up large expanses. I'm just a purist about not wanting to use porcelain that is trying to look like some other material entirely. When I saw that there were already 40,000+ photos of wood-look porcelain on Houzz I started to wonder where we are on the trendiness curve....

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 6:23PM
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Thank you, helou!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 6:47PM
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kudzu9 -
Am also a purist (e.g., refuse to use any vinyl siding).

Perplexed as to what to do with tile. At least the wood tile looks better & more like real wood, than IMO the stone porcelain tile.

Just left tile store and again looked for a tile that I liked that did not look like fake stone - cannot find one. Have been to at least a dozen tile stores.

Will be putting plain white tile in one area, but want to use something different for other areas.

Maybe people are like me, putting in the fake wood - just because it looks better than the fake stone.

Need porcelain tile manufacturers to come up with more choices that do not look like an imitation of somthing else.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 9:58PM
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This is such a hard decision because it's so permanent. I give up -- let's resurrect wall-to-wall shag carpeting (just kidding) :)

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 4:54AM
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I know how you feel. It took me a few years to finally decide on what to do because it IS a costly and permanent decision. I was also dithering on the trendy issue. In the end, I knew I needed tile and decided to say the heck with whether something was trendy or not and get what I liked.

I lived with concrete and icky carpet for quite a while.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 1:01PM
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Has anyone ever dropped something and chipped their wood tile? I saw one in the store that had a chip and the chipped area was white. I thought someone told me one time the color goes throughout. Just wondering if different brands are made differently.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 10:20AM
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Glazed porcelain tiles sometimes are of the "color body" type, which means that the clay material under the glaze has pigments that are a fairly close match for the color of the glaze that sits on top. However, the pattern does not permeate through the tile.

Besides, once the tile is installed properly in a home, chipping is not usually an issue. Tile does get chipped in handling, but once it is installed and the edges are supported by grout the likelihood of dropping something and chipping it is fairly small. You could crack it if what you dropped is heavy enough, but you are not too likely to take out a chip. Where chipping is most likely to occur is where you would have an exposed edge, like using the tile on steps or where it forms a threshold into another room.

Here is a link that might be useful: Color body and through body tiles

This post was edited by kudzu9 on Sun, Feb 23, 14 at 12:48

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 12:47PM
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