Wood-look tile has become its own permanent category in the tile industry. But not all wood-look tile is the same. If you want to find the most realistic wood-look tile on the market, you’ll need to know what you are looking for. Here are some tips from Daltile experts to help you find it.Emerson Wood in Ash White 3D Mosaic
The first thing you notice with wood-look tile is the graphic. This is the wood grain and color that is printed on the tile. Daltile uses specialized technology that scans real wood and replicates it on tile with ink jet printing.
Realistic wood graphics should have color variation with highlights and lowlights. Knots and other irregularities make the graphic look more realistic. Also look for a high number of “faces” in the wood-look tile. Faces are how many individual tiles in a series have a different graphic before it starts repeating. The higher number of faces, the more authentic the tile looks.
Saddle Brook has a gorgeous and realistic graphic that’s great for the whole house. Pair it with Saddle Brook XT in your outdoor space for a floor plan that flows from indoors to outdoors seamlessly. Or if you prefer the aged grain detail of reclaimed wood, try Season Wood, a barnwood-look tile in vintage wide planks.
Structure is produced by the tile mod and puts texture on the surface of the tile that enhances the grain. Shelly Halbert, product designer at Daltile says, “wood-look tiles are more realistic if the structure actually reflects the same look as the graphic.”
Other elements of structure that lend authenticity are hand-scraped textures, divots, and chatter marks. These all are found in real wood flooring and add to the rustic nature that is inherent in natural wood. Gaineswood is a beautiful example of a tile with good wood structure. The grain is touchable, not just an optical illusion.
Woodbridge in Spruce
The surface finish is another thing to look for when looking for the most realistic wood-look tile. As with natural wood flooring, some finishes are polished and bright, others are more matte and rustic. Wood-look tile offers the same thing. “Softer finishes are great for vintage and reclaimed wood looks and semi-glossy are for more traditional looking wood tiles,” says Halbert. Newer to the market is a higher gloss tile finish for a clean, polished, and modern looking wood floor.
Daltile’s Woodbridge has a soft, matte finish that forms a good foundation for all types of designs from modern to traditional.
Shapes and Sizes
Most hardwood floors are narrow planks. Tile comes in planks as well, in fact they come in several widths. Wider wood planks tend to warp more readily than narrower planks. Plus they can be more costly. Wood-look tile allows you to create designs that are much more intricate for much less cost and worry than hardwood, especially if you want a parquet floor or wide planks, or other specialized shapes and sizes.
Finding a realistic wood look is really about the details. A complex grain, touchable texture, and a finish that echoes real wood make for tile that’s hard to tell apart from the real thing without a very close inspection. Visit your nearest Daltile Gallery or Studio to experience wood-look tile in person.