Solid Hardwood vs Ceramic Tile with a Wood Look: The Pros and Cons

Do you love the sophistication and warmth of solid hardwood floor but are also intrigued by the idea of ceramic tiles that look like wood? Hardwood flooring is a popular upgrade that homeowners prefer, but it has a few downsides. Increasingly, homeowners are drawn to ceramic tile that has a wood look. Because of advances in the design and manufacturing of ceramic and porcelain tile in recent years, tiles mimic the look of solid hardwood. While you may not be able to initially tell the difference between the hardwood floors and wood-like tiles, there are critical difference that may influence your decision.

Pros and Cons of Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid hardwood flooring is incredibly durable when it is properly maintained. Because it can be refinished numerous times, it can remain a desirable, attractive feature in your home for decades. It is generally one of the more expensive types of flooring materials to install overall, but the longevity of hardwood flooring makes it a great investment.

In addition to being long-lasting, solid hardwood flooring is available in a wide range of styles. The species of wood, the stain color and even the surface finish all impact the style of the flooring. With so many options, there are likely several that would look amazing in your home. Aesthetically, hardwood flooring often makes a home feel more spacious and warmer at the same time. Compared to ceramic tile, it is more comfortable to walk on as well. Because of its broad appeal, it generally adds value and appeal to the home that can be recouped when you sell the house later.

However, solid hardwood flooring is not the perfect material for all areas of the home. Hardwood flooring is prone to scratching, such as from pets’ nails or from moving furniture. Exposure to standing water and even high levels of humidity can damage the wood as well. While solid hardwood flooring can be refinished many times before it needs to be replaced, the fact that it shows wear and damage easily is not ideal for some homeowners. Here at Classic Floor Designs, we prefer hardwood flooring in most areas of the home with the exception of bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements that may flood or have high humidity.

What to Expect from Ceramic Tile with a Wood Look

Ceramic tile can be produced to mimic the look of a wide range of high-end materials, and this includes solid hardwood flooring. In fact, ceramic tile with a wood look is available with smooth, hand-scraped and woodgrain surfaces. Whether you are searching for a material that looks like bamboo, cherry wood or other popular wood materials, you can likely find it in the many ceramic tile options.

While ceramic tile with a wood look delivers all of the aesthetic benefits of true hardwood flooring, this material has the physical traits of ceramic tile. It is resistant to damage from water exposure. Because of this, it can safely be used in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. Pets’ toenails and furniture will not scratch it. Because it is tile, however, it can crack if a heavy or sharp object falls on it. Compared to solid hardwood, it may feel slightly harder and cooler under your feet.

Tile is more affordable than solid hardwood flooring in many cases. However,  installation usually takes longer because of the mortaring, grouting and sealing processes. Another difference between solid hardwood and wood-like tiles is that grout lines will show between the tiles. To ensure that your flooring has a true wood look, you can stain the grout to match the wood. You can also use a thin grout width to reduce the appearance of the grout lines.  Many people skip this step, but in order to maintain the integrity of the tiles the grout needs to be sealed annually. However, depending on the level of traffic in specific areas the timing of when to seal may differ. We recommend sealing grout every six months in high traffic areas and every two years in low traffic areas.

Contact Us

Do you want to explore some of the beautiful flooring options available for your home? At, we have a large selection of solid hardwood and ceramic tile with a wood look for you to discover. Browse through the possibilities on our website, and feel free to reach out to us by phone at (202)872-9860 for personalized assistance.