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Wood Look Tile Flooring vs Vinyl Plank

Wood Look Tile Flooring vs Vinyl Plank

2020-07-22

If you love the timeless look of hardwood flooring without the high upkeep and issues associated with water and moisture now have two great options. Enter luxury vinyl flooring and porcelain plank tile. Both mimic hardwood in their look and in their long narrow plank format.


Which, though, is better? Both have their pros and cons and limitations as most flooring options do. We compare the two options so you can make the most informed purchasing decision for your personal needs.


Let's compare the two from the following perspectives:

Durability

Waterproof

Cleaning and Maintenance

Installation


Durability

Hardwood floors are durable and can easily last for many years with proper care. However, as pet owners and parents know, hardwoods can be scratched and dinged, requiring pricey refinishing or even replacement over time. This is why many households are now turning to hardwood alternatives such as vinyl plank and wood look tile.


Manufacturers have created faux wood planks that look similar to expensive hardwoods. While vinyl plank isn’t as hard as wood, it does offer its own set of benefits, including being more pet- and kid-friendly. Vinyl plank is more resistant to scratches that occur from pet claws, children, or everyday traffic.


Vinyl plank flooring will typically not show wear from everyday use, but it’s not completely immune to damage. Because it is a much softer material than wood or tile, it can be cut or torn, such as when a sharp object is dropped or furniture is dragged across the floor. Once ripped, the plank will need to be replaced.


Vinyl plank flooring may also fade if exposed for long periods to sunlight. Owners should make sure to keep blinds or curtains drawn during the day to limit exposure, or use area rugs to cover flooring that is exposed to heavy sunlight.

 

Vinyl plank may also dent over time because it is a softer material. This commonly occurs when weight is placed on the vinyl for long periods of time, like underneath furniture or heavy appliances.


Wood look tile flooring is ceramic or porcelain flooring that is designed to look like hardwood flooring. In addition to its beauty, it also boasts many benefits that make it a preferred option over hardwoods for some homeowners. Durability is one of these benefits.


Tile flooring is extremely durable. Because it is a harder material than wood or vinyl plank, it is more resistant to scratches, dents, fading, and other types of damage. However, like vinyl, it isn’t completely indestructible.


While wood-look tile can easily withstand everyday use, it can crack, just like any other porcelain or ceramic tile. If you drop something heavy, for example, the tile can break or chip. When this occurs, you will need to remove and replace the damaged tile.


When put head-to-head, best wood look tile is superior to vinyl plank when it comes to durability. You cannot fade, scratch, or otherwise damage it through daily use, and it’s one of the most resilient flooring types on the market today.

Waterproof

Hardwood flooring looks great, but everyone knows that wetness can ruin it. Enter vinyl plank and wood look porcelain tile. When put to the test, which can hold up to water exposure?


Vinyl plank flooring is completely water-resistant when installed correctly. This flooring can become wet without warping, staining, or buckling. You can install it in rooms where there’s moisture—such as bathrooms, kitchens, and sub-grade basements—without fear of damage.


However, it is important to note that if there is any gaping in vinyl plank flooring, moisture can get underneath. This could lead to the growth of mold or mildew. Adhesive on peel-and-stick planks could also become loose and require a replacement plank.


Tile is also resistant to water. You can expose it to water without causing damage, making it a great choice for bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. With proper installation and grouting, moisture will never reach the subfloor underneath tile flooring.


Even though both types of flooring are resistant to water, wood-look tile is the superior choice. This flooring won’t buckle, warp, or stain, and it doesn’t have the gaping issues seen with vinyl plank.


Care & Maintenance

One of the worst things about hardwood flooring is taking care of it. You can’t get water on it, and you need to clean it with special products. You need to wax it to retain its shine. If the floor is old or damaged, it will need to be refinished, which can easily cost thousands of dollars.


This is why more homeowners are turning to other bare flooring types like vinyl plank. Vinyl plank is one of the easiest flooring types to care for and maintain, requiring no special procedures or products to keep it looking its best.


You can perform daily vinyl plank cleaning using just a broom or dust mop. You can also use a vacuum designed for bare floors for removing dirt, dust, and debris. For heavier cleaning, you can use a no-wax cleaner with a wet mop.


Even if a vinyl plank floor loses its shine, never use wax on it. This will cause a buildup that you will need to strip. Instead, use a no-wax polish designed for use on vinyl.


For marks on floors such as ink that won’t come up with regular cleaners, you can use acetone or nail polish remover to remove the mark without damaging the floor.


Wooden style tile is to clean. You can tackle daily messes using a broom, dust mop, or vacuum for bare floors. You can also use a mild cleaner and warm water with a sponge, cloth, or mop to clean up bigger messes.

 

The grout of tile can get quite dirty, and often a mop just won’t do the trick in getting it clean. You can use a mild cleanser or a mixture of white vinegar and water to keep grout looking fresh. Apply this with a scrub brush to fully clean the grout.


Over time, the grout may become stained and very dirty, especially when it is a lighter color. If this happens, products are available to restore the grout’s original color. You can also buy grout pens to change the color of the grout.


Although both types of flooring are easy to clean and maintain, vinyl takes this round. The amount of work you need to do to clean and restore dirty grout on tile floors puts wood-look tile at a disadvantage in this category.


Installation

When considering the costs of flooring, one of the expenses that should be calculated is installation. This is why many homeowners opt to do the job themselves, potentially saving thousands of dollars. When it comes to vinyl plank versus wood-look tile, which offers the easiest installation process?


There are two different types of vinyl flooring. The first kind is a floating floor. This is similar to laminate in that people do not glue or nail it down, but instead click it together piece by piece.


This type of flooring has a tongue-and-groove design that allows installers to easily snap the planks together. You can easily cut and score each flooring piece using a utility knife. Other than measuring and ensuring you lock the planks into place, there are very few installation steps you need to follow.


The other type of vinyl plank is peel-and-stick. These planks come with a paper backing that you peel off to reveal adhesive. You cut the planks using scissors or a utility knife, then apply them directly to the subfloor underneath.


Peel-and-stick planks are one of the easiest flooring types to install. Even homeowners with no experience in remodeling can tackle this project in just a few hours. Likewise, with a little know-how, installing a floating floor is also fairly simple and straightforward.


On the flip side, ceramic tile installation can certainly prove to be a difficult DIY project. To begin, you must properly prepare the subfloor, otherwise the tile will be uneven and may crack soon after installation.


Once the subfloor is ready, you stick tile to the floor using mortar. Place spacers in between tiles so that you can apply grout between them. You will then apply and clean off the grout, which can prove to be a very messy process.


Tile will have to be cut throughout installation, and you will need to do this using a wet tile saw. These saws can be expensive, although renting one from a home improvement store can cut down on cost. While cutting, tiles can chip, crack, or break, resulting in the need for more tiles to finish the job.


While it isn’t impossible for someone inexperienced in flooring installation to install porcelain tile flooring, it’s important to note that this job can be very tedious and time-consuming. If done improperly, tiles can break and you will need to pry them up and replace them. This is why most homeowners opt to hire a professional.


In terms of installation, vinyl plank is the clear winner. Most homeowners can easily install this flooring themselves. On the other hand, professionals usually need to install wood-look tile. That can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the cost of flooring.


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