Porcelain tiles that look like wood

marvelousmarvinJune 17, 2013

Would you recommend them, or stay away from them? Do you think they're a fad, or something that will stay?

The kitchen is being remodeled with white cabinets, and I know I need something to warm it up to prevent it from looking cold and sterile. When I look at pictures of white kitchens, I notice they usually use wood floors to warm the kitchen up.

But, this is for a house I'm renting out so it wouldn't be practical to put in wood floors when a tenant could carelessly scratch it up, dent it, not wipe away liquid off the the wood floors quickly, etc.. Tile seems like the most practical choice for kitchen flooring.

I was thinking about black and white tile for the kitchen floors to match the white cabinets and black granite countertops, but I'm afraid that might be too cold and sterile.

Do you think those porcelain tiles would work, and warm the kitchen up?

Also, I'm a bit concerned because this kitchen is kinda open to the family room and dining room, and I was trying to use the same flooring to connect those three rooms together. But, it doesn't like it'd work to put in tile in the family room, right?

And, when I'm ready to sell the place and put in real wood floors in the family and dining room, wouldn't it seem weird to have real wood floors in those rooms next to these porcelain tiles that look like wood in the kitchen?

In situation like that, do you try to match the porcelain tiles to the adjacent wood floors as closely as you can? Or, do you use real wood floors that look completely different from the porcelain tiles so it doesn't seem like you tried to match them and failed?

And, for the grout for those porcelain tiles, do you want the grout to match the color of the tiles as closely as possible so it blends in?

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There are a number of valid ways to proceed here, and it sounds like you have a handle on all the issues, so whatever you decide, there will be no surprises. I'll just tell you what I decided to do in my home.

The kitchen is open to a sun room, the family room, and is separated from the dining room by french doors. All of those rooms have hardwood floors (walnut stain in the DR, medium chestnut elsewhere). It is separated from the hallway (terrazzo tiles) by french doors as well.

My original plan was to use wood-look tiles in the kitchen in a shade that would match the adjacent hardwood. But I've been cooking in my sister's kitchen a lot these days, it is tiled, and tile really is tough on the knees. Since I'm not renting out my place, but living in it, I decided to use the wood-look tiles under the refrigerator wall, and use hardwood that will match the surround everywhere else. This is Marazzi Montagna tile in Gunstock from Home Depot where it sells for $2.39/sf. It matches my hardwood perfectly.

I have chosen a grout color (Tec 5 in Chocolate from Lowes) slightly darker than the tiles because the wood joint is always darker than the wood.

In your case I would use hardwood everywhere else and transition to tile in at least the wet zone of the kitchen, keeping the eating zone in hardwood. Keep the width of your hardwood floor planks consistent with the width of your tile planks, stagger the joints like you would hardwood, and choose wood and tile that match in color, and I don't think mixing materials will look weird at all.

I'm laying my tile tomorrow - oh, I mean today. Best of luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Depot

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 4:09AM
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EAM44, can you also post the hardwood that you are using to match? That is a really unique idea, to use the combination hardwood tile and hardwood. thanks!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 9:23AM
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If you find tile floors tough on your knees, do what professional kitchens do and put a rubber mat down in the kitchen. There's basically only two spots where you'll be standing up most of the time in the kitchen, either in front of the sink or the cooktop. The tile is simply more practical than all the other flooring options out there.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 9:16PM
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Holly- Kay

I usually don't like faux anything but I saw the wood look porcelain tiles at my flooring shop and I loved them! I am going to use them when I tackle remodeling our bathrooms.

Eam that was a really wonderful idea to use wood look tiles under the refrigerator. Our appliances will be delivered tomorrow and I am freaking about the fridge going on my new hardwood floors. I sure wish I had thought of using tiles there!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 9:45PM
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I am happy to see a post about the wood look tiles available at HD. We realy like the Marazzi Montagna Saddle color. I have read reviews about these tiles on the HD site and everyone seems happy with them. Has anyone here installed these? If so, are you happy with them.

Hope I haven't hijacked, thought this may be helpful question for all. Thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 10:34PM
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Oh gosh, thanks everyone. I'm glad you like the idea. One guy in the aisle at HD thought I was nuts to be spending that amount of money on a floor no one else will see. But we've had water issues, ugh, and even mice in that corner one year when we left a window open in the basement. I wanted tile there and I had to replace the sub floor anyway. At that point if you've already done that much work, you want the end result to be beautiful even if you're the only one who knows that it is.

I laid the tile today, and it really is beautiful. In my meanderings I had seen planks as long as 36", but had read that these tend to bow and are harder to install as a result. I needed tile quickly, and this went down very well. I'm pleased with the choice and the end result.

I'll post an image of the hardwood floors once I've had a chance to wash them - there's drywall dust everywhere from the soffit removal and subsequent drywalling of the ceiling and walls. I've been busy. My fridge arrives tomorrow!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 12:10AM
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Have you considered the Luxury Vinyl Tile wood-look planks? Some of the better ones look pretty real. IF you're planning to remove the floor in the future to put in wood, I think taking out ceramic would be a nightmare! We are going to have to do that in our newly purchased home and it is not pretty or cheap to do. Some of the LVT can be installed as floating, so easy t deal with removal

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 6:18AM
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I've seen several houses that have done those tiles all the way through and in some of the more modern designs I've even seen them in showers.
I would use them for a rental and not tear them out when you sell. Some people will prefer them for maintenance.
Like anything else get a really nice looking one and not a super cheap one.
I would not put wood in a rental and I would not put real wood next to them.
Make sure they lay them really close and match the grout.
I would have put them in my new house but I have sensitive feet and tile kill my feet so we went with wood.

They would be cute laid in a chevron pattern like French apts.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 12:53PM
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It will not be inexpensive to get a correct install if you want thin grout lines. There will be lippage unless the floor is very flat. i.e: one tile being higher than the one next to it. I just went through a tile nightmare trying to get 1/8th inch grout lines. You really need a good installer.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 2:03PM
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chinchette, often it is the tile that is to blame as even the best installer will have difficulty laying tile that is not completely flat. Even rectified porcelain can have issues with bowing.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 4:42PM
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I'm placing my order for 1800 sq ft of wood tile this afternoon :)
We already have it in a small apartment we built and love the look of it. Very small grout lines and matched the color to one of the medium tones in the plank. In the remodel of our main home we are putting it in the kitchen, dining room and family room and entry hall. They are all open to one another. I've had tile in our last 2 homes so the hardness isn't a concern. I'm going to put a couple of the new gel mats down.

We both really wanted wood floors, but living on 15 acres in the desert southwest with 4 dogs leads to lots of sand and grit tracking in. They would scratch wood in no time.

Here is a picture of the apartment, it's a little more washed out than IRL.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 5:27PM
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We installed wood look tiles. It even has a wood look grain and some texture. I really love it. We have it in our kitchen / family room combo. The rest of put house has oak floors. We were initially concerned about the transitions / saddles for adjoining rooms, but it looks fine to us. If we ever redo our oak floors, we might do a browner tone instead of the golden tone we have now.

We opted for a lighter colored grout.

It could be a fad. But white cabinetry could also be a fad. Most people think my tile is wood, but only time will tell how it will be regarded down the road. Some people hate imitations, others welcome 'em.

I will point out that our tile installer told us that installing rectangular tile requires a perfectly flat floor.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 6:39PM
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We're starting a kitchen reno in our country/beach home in a couple of weeks, and plan to install wood-look porcelain tiles. Likely to go with the Berkshire HDP by Florida Tile. I like that it has a hand scraped texture for a little extra "authenticity". I'll be sure to post some pics when it's complete.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 12:37AM
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Great thread. In terms of installation, was an underlayment such as ditra used?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 9:06AM
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thynes, for beachy look check out ann sacks rustico
I wanted it but my house architecture not quite

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 12:06PM
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iandl - not sure what he used under the tile in the apartment, but it was brand new construction. But, in the house where it is a remodel and several different original floors coming together he has recommended Ditra. Should see how it goes in 3-4 weeks!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 1:15PM
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Hi all. As promised, here's what the floors look like together. The wood-look porcelain is in the fridge wall, the hardwood is in the eating area and beyond. In between you can see the original laminate green pebble (so awesome, really; man the 60s must have been cool) covered by (inexplicably) light Pergo. I'm having the remainder of the kitchen finished with matching hardwood, but wanted the fridge to sit on tile.

The color tone of the tile is spot on perfect for the wood. The detail oriented among you will notice that the hardwood is variable width. This too played a role in my decision to go with wood. No matter what brand of tile I looked for I couldn't find one with widths to match my board sizes, so there would have been a lot of wet saw work involved. The tiled area will really never show, but I am glad it's there, it's beautiful, and it's really sturdy. Fridge installers couldn't drill through the baseboard so they had to pop a tile off of the wall to attach the anti-tip bracket.

Insofar as underlayment goes,I had to replace the subfloor,and - this is interesting, I don't know whether all homes are built this way, but the original floors are hardwood, and there was linoleum in the kitchen, so the kitchen lino had additional 3/4" plywood on top of the subfloor so the floors would be flush. Anyway, I removed both all the way to the crawlspace, replaced the subfloor with plywood, then used HardieBacker board, a cement board, and mortared over that.

By the way, does anyone have any tricks for cleaning up drywall dust? I just keep mopping the floors and they're still not clean...

This post was edited by EAM44 on Sat, Jun 22, 13 at 13:18

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 1:08PM
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Thanks, Terri. I have read that Ditra is the way to go if not using a cement board type product. It's expensive though, the Marazzi tile is 2.39 a square foot and the Ditra is 1.60 or so a square plus thinset to apply, so it almost doubles the cost.

Looks great, EAM44. Yes, most older homes that I know of were constructed using tongue and groove wood as the subfloor. In NYC it's sometimes sanded and finished for a rustic looking floor. T&G was also used as the roofing material instead of plywood at one point.

Sorry, no real trick for cleaing up sheetrock dust, I usually just vacuum and then clean.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 9:59PM
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terri0826, can you tell us what your floor is? It is beautiful!

We are going to put down wood look tile in the kitchen, and we have dark, reddish cabinets. The Montagna Gunstock tile at Home Depot has the same reddish tone to it, but I'm worried that it might make the kitchen so dark, with the dark cabinets and the dark flooring. I've been looking for something lighter, but not gray...

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 8:39PM
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Ours is Interceramic Timberlands in Golden Saddle. BEWARE tho, you need to carefully check the tiles for flatness before starting to lay them. I'm sitting outside in the shade where the tile guys can't see me listening to the curse words fly. They are having hell with this stuff in the house. The picture I have posted is in an apartment and it went great. But the huge great room with tons of windows show every single dip and hump in this stuff. I feel so bad for them right now. They are going their best to make it right. And where it is right is gorgeous! I'm on my iPad but will try to upload a picture of the house.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 12:52PM
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I think it's likely a fad. But I'm getting it anyway, because the kitchen is open to the dining and living rooms, both of which have hardwood, but I wasn't crazy about hardwood in the kitchen. Not a perfect match, but it will flow better than the marmoleum I was considering, and probably better than even then newer oak (my other floors are from 1949).

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 1:00PM
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ok here goes a try at posting a couple of pictures :)

These were taken when they were only half done with the room. While I do love it, it does seem to be more labor intensive for the tile guys.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 4:57PM
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terri - Oh wow! I love the way they laid it. Please post more pictures when they're completely done. Is this the same tile you used before? What grout color did you use? I like how well it blends with the tile.

This post was edited by msrose on Mon, Sep 30, 13 at 20:22

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 8:21PM
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We just had ours installed and it took me about a week to get used to not having wood! Hated them at first but now I love them. With 3 kids they are just so practical and bulletproof!

Here is a picture, I'll try and get some better ones soon. This is Hickory by florida tile.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 10:55AM
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    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 10:57AM
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Looks great. Can't wait to see more pictures. Did you put it in just the kitchen or other parts of the house also?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 7:20PM
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msrose yes it's the same. We did it in the apartment as a trial run to see how it looked. If it looked bad in there not nearly as bad as if we did it in the house and it looked bad :)

I think the grout is haystack, but I'll have to find out for sure. It really blends and you can hardly tell it's there.

Move in date is scheduled for the first week in November (I'll believe it when it happens lol) and I'll definitely post completed pictures.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 11:00PM
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Just now getting around to taking a few pics of the finished beach house kitchen. Floor tiles are Berkshire HDP by Florida Tile.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 6:02PM
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thynes is the color Hickory? We also have a beach house and looking for wood looking tile. Did you go with a white cabinet?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 4:45PM
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How does the use of wood look tile vs real wood floors affect the resale of your home?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 7:21AM
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Bfop, it probably depends on your area. Here in the south, Texas where a slab foundations are common, you'll see the entire slab floor plan tiled - even bedrooms.

Wood requires installing sleepers, which raises the floor enough to cause problems with existing doors. Engineered wood is more forgiving, but moisture from the slab can damage those, too.
Being in a hurricane area influences choices, too. Anything that can survive the potential of water damage is a win.

Laminate is very popular, here, but I don't like it and my dogs slipped on the samples we tried. The tile I ended up with is better for them. I don't have to worry about how to clean it. Warm water with some vinegar does the trick.

I doubt it would be as much of a selling point in a colder region, but it's appreciated in my area.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 4:28PM
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I have red oak hardwood floors in my greatroom and a light porcelain tile in kitchen, bathrooms and entryway. I would love to replace the tiles with a wood look tile. My question is would it be better to try to match the red oak or go with a contrasting color? Not sure how close I could get on the tiles so thought perhaps a darker color running opposite direction would be OK. I have natural cherry cabinetry so want to be sure it will complement them as well. Appreciate the advise!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 1:49PM
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I don't think the wood-look tiles ever look exactly like wood - I think they look like beautiful brown tiles with a grain. I'm not a fan of imitation (like laminate), but I think these tiles are simply a style of tile.

Klinn, in your case, I'd contrast. If you try to match the color, even if you could get a perfect color match, the texture, feel, and sheen would be very different, so it might end up looking like a poorly finished wood floor. If you contrast, you aren't trying to fool anyone into thinking it's wood like the great room - you are using an appropriate flooring material for your kitchen, next to an appropriate flooring material for the great room.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 2:16PM
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Thanks so much annkh, that was my thought as well!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 4:59PM
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my wood tile

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 5:04PM
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We are going to use Wood Tile in our kitchen & dining nook area. I looked at some at the tile store and LOVED it. Some actually looked identical to my nice oak floors that I have now. I really couldn't tell the difference. I think if you want the wood look in your tile, you will need to spend the extra $$$.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 5:17PM
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Love the barnwood/driftwood color of your tile! Unfortunately it wouldn't look right with my home or décor, but, makes me want to buy a beach cottage!! lol. I also love the poster who did the herringbone pattern, so pretty. I think I am going to go with the contrasting color but not sure yet if I will go darker (my leaning) or a lighter color. Any one else have pics of their tiles?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 1:42PM
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Walked up to my sister with my sample in hand saying, "I want to show you my new tile."

Standing within a foot of me, she replied "that's wood."

It was not until she touched it that she believed it.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 2:33PM
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mdim I love your tile. Can you tell me who makes it?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 5:52PM
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Thank you, jancy.

Not sure of the manufacturer. It is from Century Tile (888-845-3968), www.century-tile.com, item # 06 000 - 60 - K0608 76MA, description "JK060876MA field 6x36 MC Pacific 4 vint." $4.58/SF

If you are local (IL), I worked with Jack Wagner @ the Mundelein store (nice & helpful).

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 6:06PM
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We struggled with the decision to install wood look
tiles. We wanted wood but it's not practical for us,
and we were concerned wood look tiles may look "cheesy."
We couldn't be happier and those that advised us against them
now think they look great. Also, several people have thought
we installed wood, which surprised me.

I am on my phone, so not sure I can upload a photo and don't have
the manufacturer's name but can get that later I anyone's interested.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 7:31PM
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iandl: I would love to see your pics when you can load them. I am excited to install the wood look tile now that I have decided that's what I want.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 3:18AM
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I really want this flooring, but can't find anything online about installing these porcelain planks on a flared stairway (or any stairway). I want my stairs to match my flooring just as I would if I were installing real wood. Do they make matching porcelain nosing? And even if they do, it would need to be flexible for where the stairs flare. I really don't know what you would do about finishing the edges of the steps so they look really nice, and aren't in danger of chipping off. Anyone have any knowledge about this?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 8:15PM
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I have to say, the wood look porcelain tiles I saw recently looked good. For a rental, I would choose them over wood. Renters, as we learned the hard way, can be very hard on wood, carpets and such. You might want to think about a floating floor in a nice wood look vinyl laminate. We put one in a rental we had, it looked really good and was easy to install. Plus, they are not expensive and pretty tough. For your own home, wood in the kitchen is beautiful, but for rentals, a tough, durable flooring would be my choice.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 11:15PM
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This is just my humble opinion, but a lot of the wood-look porcelain/ceramic tiles that I've seen look better quality than some of the cheapo engineered or laminate "wood" floors out there. And after a year or two, I imagine the quality of the better tiles is even more evident compared worn low-end engineered or laminate flooring. Whether you're talking about tiles or engineered wood, quality makes a huge difference.

I love the more unusual looks that wood-look tiles can pull off - looks that would be hard to achieve with real wood like driftwood, etc. For example -

That would be a low-maintenance rustic chic look for my busy family lifestyle.

When I had ceramic tile in the kitchen, I generally found that wearing "house" flip-flops eased the hardness for my feet.

We just extended top-nailed site finished oak planks into our kitchen because we have an open concept living space. Love the look but it was super expensive and I am dreading the fussing at the kids (and myself) that will be required to keep it in decent condition. High traffic areas of the new hardwood were down to bare wood after 12 years before refinishing.

I think a lot of flooring looks that are popular now will look dated in a decade - including engineered wood, etc. My grey kitchen tiles weren't too bad, but the 12"x12" shape looked dated after 10 years. So, realistically, plan what will work for you for the next decade, then if you're lucky that your choices work out for longer than that, it's a bonus :) .

Here is a link that might be useful: Mission Stone Tile

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 8:01PM
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I was very hesitant to place tile against tile but in my case I think it turned out beautiful. We live in the country and it really made a difference in floor care. In the kitchen area I have white Mexican tile and the hall is the Smokey Montagna planks. I love it!!!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2014 at 12:44PM
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I think those wood look ceramic tiles look great! If I was looking for a kitchen floor I would definitely consider them. I have ceramic in my kitchen and love it. Its tough, spills wipe right up, since my grout is not white, staining isn't an issue. I would never have wood in the kitchen, as I like to mop my floor often, and with wood, that would mean wiping it dry too. Too much work! With ceramic floors, no worries about scratches, especially the kitchen chairs which, with wood, would eventually wear the finish with the scraping of the chairs. And for a rental? I wouldn't even consider wood! Ceramic or vinyl, you want something that can take a bit of abuse with a rental.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2014 at 3:19PM
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