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  • Why wood tile?

    Hello! Apologies for the slow posts lately, I mentioned it earlier but this flooring stuff is a real bottleneck! Good news is, both bedroom floors have been sealed and the base boards & door trim are just about finished. Hopefully we can put our bedroom back together tonight! ALSO, last night I pulled the trigger and started re-painting Zano’s room in one of my favorite colors ever. It already looks a thousand times better.  My husband teased me in front of our contractor over the fact I was so concerned about North facing light. What? It’s a real thing!!!

    As promised, I wanted to share with you everything we went through during this process, from making the decision to install wood tile over hardwood floors to actually selecting the look best fit for our house.

    Before diving into this whole shebang, there were a few things we knew for certain that would influence our flooring decision:

    • We have dogs, 3 of them, that’s 12 little doggy feet! We needed a hard, durable floor that would withstand scratches, dropped bones, and other animal behavior
    • We have a baby who will grow into a toddler that will spill and drop things on our floors
    • We might rent our house out someday, we did not want to worry about future tenants scratching up the floors
    • We also wanted to consider potential resale and wanted to make the best investment possible; we eliminated laminate from the equation. Laminate just doesn’t hold it’s value here in CA.

    I definitely spent substantial time researching hardwood flooring. Having animals with heavy feet limited our hardwood flooring options. During our hardwood flooring research, we learned about the Janka Hardness Scale: the higher the Janka score the harder/more durable the flooring. If we were to install a high Janka rated floor, we were looking at more “exotic” hardwoods like Brazilian cherry or Hickory, which comes with more $$$. Oak, being the most popular flooring choice, actually falls in the middle of the Janka scale – so, yes it’s affordable but it’s too soft for our needs.  I was also afraid if we spent a lot of money on a high Janka rated wood floor it would still scratch and dent (because it would). I needed something more durable than that, I mean, I would be very upset if I spent a ton of $ on some super special, high Janka rated wood floor and days or weeks later see it start to scratch and dent. THIS, friends, is why we turned to wood tile.

    Tile comes in a few different mediums: cement, porcelain, and ceramic – porcelain being the most durable. I actually started looking at styles before I realized what medium the tile was made from. I didn’t realize it, at first I thought shopping for wood tile would make the selection process easier, but believe me, shopping for wood tile is just as overwhelming as shopping for hardwood. The options seem endless!

    We looked at a lot of wood tiles, like A LOT a lot. We visited Lowes (3 different locations), Home Depot (3 different locations), The Floor Store, and browsed websites including BuildDirect and The Tile Shop. Each vendor offers extremely different options, so I can’t recommend one over the other.  One piece of advice I will tell you now is – don’t rely on your big box home improvement store to offer all, or the best, options. I learned first hand these retailers carry what happened to be my least favorite wood tile options. We were able to find better quality tiles from local mom & pop retailers that were even more affordable than the big box retailers! I would never have guessed! Not only did we find the perfect tile, we felt really good about purchasing from a smaller retailer (and good news! they have an online shop!). Supporting small business is extremely rewarding. You should do it any chance you get!

    So anyway, we brought home a bunch of samples from various retailers. Hands down the hardest part was choosing a style. For a hot minute I got pulled towards the exotic look, I LOVED this acacia tile from Lowes. It looked incredible in this photo!

    acacia wood tile

    All my Instagram peeps loved it too! The problem with this is, yes, it looks amazing in this small scale, but picture this crazy grain across your entire house! Talk about busy, right? As much as I loved the look of this tile, I knew after bringing it home that I needed to find something more neutral – something that would just exist in the background and not bother anyone.   This acacia-look tile would be too busy of a pattern, fighting to be the center of attention, and I could foresee it giving me headaches and I probably wouldn’t ever know why!  I had to remind myself that my kitchen is the star and I couldn’t have the floors fighting for the spotlight.  After this realization I was happy to finally focus on finding the perfect neutral looking tile.

    Below is a chart of 9 of my favorite samples that we considered for our floors. I split them into 3 categories: grainy (lots of wood grain!), exotic (like that acacia!), and neutral. We ordered #8 for our house.

    My favorite wood tile options // brittanyMakes

    1. Casetta Oak | 2. Emser Alpine | 3. Briarwood | 4. Brazilian Pecan | 5. Acacia | 6. Botannica Cashew | 7. Napa  | 8. Allways | 9. Marazzi Montagna Saddle

     We were THIS close to ordering the Napa walnut tile. My husband’s favorite was the Allways (also in walnut, but not so dark). We brought both samples home – the Napa was 6″x24″ in size while the Allways was 8″x48″, and a bit more pricey than the Napa. This brings me to my next tidbit of advice – make sure you bring your samples home and lay them in your space. The size of the tiles make ALL the difference! My husband and I were utterly in love with the Allways tile, it’s scale was perfect – super wide & long planks. The other little test that sealed the deal was the dirt test. Our house was kinda dusty at the time since we were already tearing up flooring. We stepped in some dust with our shoes, then stepped on each plank to see how much dirt showed. You could see our full foot print on the dark walnut Napa tile, whereas the Allways tile hid almost all the dirt.  Winner!!!! As much as I wish I could, I just can’t clean my floors daily. We needed something that wouldn’t show every little speck of dirt.

    There you have it! Some real life advice and insight on how we selected our new floors. I just can’t wait for them to be finished so I can share! If you’re curious about anything, ask away in the comments!

    PS: my favorite post on wood vs tile LoveB

    1. exactly!!! We realized there were so many other options (outside of Lowes & HD) that were much closer to real wood.

    2. I TOTALLY GET THE NORTH FACING LIGHT THING! Sorry for “shouting” but it drives me bonkers! I currently gave up. I am currently battling a NO natural light bathroom! (Any Advice?) I can’t wait to see how little mans room turns out! We have Oak hardwoods throughout and I’m going to say it….HATE THEM! Every single matchbox car dropped has put a dent in my floor!

      1. haha thanks Stephanie! And it’s such a bummer watching your floors get dinged and scratched from everyday use. I truly hope our investment in wood tile holds true!

    3. Girl I must tell you how much I LOOOOOVE our hardwood lookalike tile floors in the LV house – like I want to smooch and make out with them I love them so much. But beware the grout lines, our installer insisted we use 1/8″ as did the manufacturer and I wanted 1/16″ but because the planks were longer the wider grout was necessary, didn’t expect that. But if you match your grout to perfection it’s no biggie in the end. xo ~ Kate

      1. AH! so true! I forgot to mention that. We went with a line between 1/8 and 1/16 to allow for sanded grout. I will have to do a follow up post because this is serious info [smacks head].

    4. It looks fantastic and you guys definitely did your homework! Thank you for sharing your experience and advice. I’m curious how the wood tile makes your house sound. When things drop on the floor, does it sound like its dropping on tile? Does your house have an echo because of the wood tile?

      1. Hey Courtney! It actually doesn’t sound weird at all! I would say it sounds like normal flooring, like wood floors i suppose. Our dogs have already dropped quite a few bones on the floor and it’s not especially loud or anything. I don’t know what it is about some tile, but I know what you mean. I think with the layers of subfloor + hardiebacker, it really absorbs sound.

      1. interesting! I don’t spend more than an hour in the kitchen at a time, maybe folks who cook in the kitchen all day long might notice this impact. I would think tile flooring would be just as flat/hard as if your house was built on a cement slab, no?

      1. Soon!!! I have to take the pictures! seems like an easy thing to do, but it requires cleaning and a napping toddler lol. Soon, I promise :)

      1. We live in northern california, which might just be slightly colder than socal :P honestly the floor temp has never been an issue for us, although we are house slipper people…

    5. I know this is a crazy questions but….How do your dogs like the tile floor? Are they able to run without slipping? We have a 65 Australian shepherd and I’m so tired of seeing her dark fur all over the carpet! My husband is afraid that she won’t like the tile floors because she already slips on our shiny kitchen tile! Thanks so much!

      1. Good question! we have 2 low-energy dogs, one is kinda a puppy still so she has more energy, but I don’t notice them slipping on the tile at all. They tend to prefer sitting/playing on our rugs anyway because it’s softer, so I do have to still vacuum the rugs to get rid of their fur lol!

    6. Where are these wood tile floors from? I am very interested and want to get them from a reputable source. Thank you for sharing!

    7. I’ve read not to tile over hardwood due to expanding and contracting would/could cause breakage, grout issues. Did you ever read that or have had any issues?

      1. You’re correct, tiling directly over hardwood is definitely not recommended. Prepping the surface for tile requires a layer of cement board, which is fully secured in place with screws etc. Once the underlayment is prepared it’s ready for tiling!

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