8 Tips for Nailing the Wood Tile Look

One of our local clients is replacing all of her downstairs floors this fall and requested a porcelain wood tile. As I’ve been looking around for her, I’ve been floored (ha! pun.) by the amazing options available right now! Wood tile has come SO far the past few years. I do love the softer feel…

One of our local clients is replacing all of her downstairs floors this fall and requested a porcelain wood tile. As I’ve been looking around for her, I’ve been floored (ha! pun.) by the amazing options available right now! Wood tile has come SO far the past few years.

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I do love the softer feel and warmth of real wood underfoot, but sometimes it really makes sense to use a wood tile instead. Because tile is completely waterproof and scratch resistant (I wish I could say the same for my wood floors we put in only two years ago…), it is a super smart option for homes built on concrete slabs and for pet owners. Also, since the tile can be installed in kitchens and bathrooms without worry, it’s a great option for more open concept homes. It’s nice to be able to install the wood tile everywhere without transitions.

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I picked up these samples from my local Floor & Decor – they had two full rows of just wood tile options. Each of these are under $4.25/sq foot! Insane pricing!!

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If you’re thinking of wood tile for your home, here are my best tips:

1) Choose a tile with a more subtle wood texture and a pattern made by an inkjet with a lot of pattern variation. Some of these tiles have as many as ten different pattern variations in each colorway.

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2) Since there are pattern repeats, be sure to rotate the orientation of the tiles often to help break up the overall look. You don’t want to be able to spot the same pattern in one glance!

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3) Choose a tile with a rectified edge rather than a pressed edge. You can get much tighter grout lines with tile that has more exact edges.

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4) Wood-look tiles come in a few different forms – ceramic, porcelain and concrete. Porcelain is considered the best choice. It’s super hard-wearing and affordable.

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5) When you’re choosing a grout color, find the darkest color in your tile and chose one shade deeper for your grout color. This tricks the eye into thinking that the grout lines are shadow around the “wood planks” especially if you have a rectified edge tile and really small grout lines.  Floor & Decor sells a great line of pre-mixed super stain-resistant grout that comes in a million different colors. It’s so easy to find a shade that works best!

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6) Generally I like wood tile planks to be at least 40″ long, but 48″ or longer is ideal. The shorter planks can be a give away and make it harder to trick the eye into thinking the tile is actually wood.

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7) If you’ve found a wood tile that you really love, but it only comes in 24 or 30″ planks, like many of them do, try a herringbone pattern with the shorter planks. The proportions will be just right!


8) Sometimes people think it’s a good idea to lay wood tile in a stacked, geometric tile pattern (like a running bond pattern), but that’s another give away that your flooring is not actually wood. Laying the tile in a very random order, just like real wood, helps trick the eye.

Those are my best tips for choosing a great wood tile! Do you have any to add? One of my friends is putting this tile in her house in a herringbone pattern and it is looking amazing! I’m thinking something similar would be great for my client’s home.

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A big thanks to Floor & Decor for sponsoring this flooring series! Check out my last post on decorative tiles here.

Join the Conversation

92 thoughts on “8 Tips for Nailing the Wood Tile Look

  1. Where did you find (what looks like) a solid surface shower base pan that goes with the large porcelain tile?

    1. We used Classic Marble and Fiberglass in Omaha, NE. They made a solid surface shower basin for us that is perfect!

  2. I like the image of the white kitchen with the herringbone wood tile, picture seventeen with the white kitchen cabinets, the beautiful brown and white tile backsplashes, and the beautiful brown herringbone floor.

    1. I also like the image of the white kitchen with the herringbone wood tile, picture with the white kitchen cabinet, the beautiful brown and white tile backsplashes, and the beautiful brown herringbone floor.

  3. Hi, I was wondering if you have a resource page for the tile on picture seventeen. Many good points that you brought out. Grout use was very informative.

  4. What is the tile used in the floor below point 2 with the white couch? What grout color? Is this from floor and decor?

  5. When installing wood tile. What is the best size grout to use. 8th of an ing or 1/4 of an inch?

  6. In addition to what I’ve said. You can avoid a tile disaster and call in the professionals. With some careful consideration, you can find a stellar tile installer who’ll complete your project with finesse.

  7. We have finished hardwood throughout the house. Refinished 7 years ago and then again after a recent walking machine flood… Which took 2 weeks after a sanding issue. Considering wood look tile next time. Is this a good alternative?

  8. Do you have experience using this on stairs? We want it throughout the home, but worry about the stairs.

  9. The way you incorporate wood floor tiles to your flooring was really commendable. The wood finish gives off that country, earthy vibes relaxing to any human bean. Having the right knowledge for your floor tiles endeavor would surely make your redesign a success.

  10. I recommend a “Color Body”, sometimes “ColorBody” porcelain tile. “Color body porcelain tiles are created with continuous colored stains from the glaze surface throughout the body of the tile. Synchronizing the color of both the glaze and body lessens the visibility of any impact chips which may occur. The color remains consistent throughout the tile, but any surface design does not continue through the tile body.”

    If you like unglazed porcelain, you may wish to look at “Through Body”. In this tile the entires design runs through the entire body o the tile from top to bottom.

  11. This article was fabulous. So much good information and really useful tips on tricking the eye to think it’s real hard wood.
    I do have one comment to add on where wood porcelain is preferred to real wood. In hot climates it is great because tile is a degree or two cooler than air temperature and feels so good to walk on in bare feet.

  12. I see here questions about the same issue my wife and I have but no answers provided. :( What do you use to finish off edges that would otherwise be visible? Any suggestions would be immensely valuable!

  13. Can these tiles be used in a staircase? Or, better yet, how easy would it be to install them on the stairs?

  14. I installed wooden look tiles 2 days ago but the professionals didn’t do spacing or use grout.
    What should I do?

  15. Hi,

    Would this type of wood tile be sutible for a business For an area that has more than one high traffic zones. Where the exterior elements accumulate daily. In a salon where people are in and out, water spills due to hair washing and constant sweeping as well??

  16. Great article.
    Do you know what tile was used in #3 the photo of the bathroom just before #4

  17. I have an open concept floor plan with large tiles in the entry way and hallway and the kitchen in a diamond pattern. I’m thinking of replacing my plank flooring in the living area that is long and narrow with wood porcelain tiles in a herringbone pattern but worries it may be “too busy” looking in the space. Do you recommend harringbone pattern in smaller spaces?

  18. Thanks for sharing the amazing blog. Cosmo floor 2nd generation family-owned enterprise specializing in Marble, Granite, and Wood. Their experience spans over 25 years in the field of import and retail of natural stone and wood. Our passion for stone and other interior materials has enabled us to set up one of the largest single location display centers in the country.

  19. As a tile setter for 35 years , a tile with rectified edge,i.e. a tile cut at the factory with a wet saw and honed, the edge is a sharp edge.If the tile are not set with no lippage a tile that sticks up just a tad will have the edge blown off by any thing that catches it. On the other hand a tile with a slightly rounded tile edge, i.e. pressed edge, will be very forgiving . Any tile setter other than a true professional could handle laying this. Any floor that is going to accept tile should be no more than 1/8 inch out of plane in 8 foot. In other words the floor needs to be perfectly flat!

  20. Great information. How does one tell the number of different pattern variations in each color-way?

  21. Hi – Do you know the company name and color of the wood tile shown in the image of the herribone pattern with the boots visible in the pic?

  22. Hi! I’m looking to do herringbone wood look floors in my kitchen and love the two shown in the photos above — do you have links to those specific tiles? Thanks!

  23. What is the third from the bottom? I have to have this. Can you please tell me where this picture is from?

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