The Flooring Is In. [Wood Porcelain Tile]

And on the 104th day (yes, I did the math) the Lord said, “Let there be flooring.”


And may I just thank Him for that?

Of course, I’ll go ahead and thank myself as well, because DAMNNNNNNN. That’s some fiiiiine looking floor!  I mean, once it’s grouted and cleaned up and finished, it’s gonna be fiiiine. This is just a little sneak peek.

If you are interested in using a porcelain wood tile product, I’ll go ahead and prematurely recommend, based on looks alone. Price ain’t too bad either. These are just in-stock Marazzi Montagna tiles from Home Depot in “Gunstock.”

We chose to do tile after our contractor pointed out (correctly) that after a flood ruined our wood floors, we were seriously delusional to consider wood again. I mean, God forbid we should have any water issues again, our insurance would *totally* drop us. However, I just don’t love a tile floor in the kitchen. We’ve always had wood. I have a hard time wrapping my head around tile.  Don’t get me wrong. Tile floors can be absolutely gorgeous. But for me? This whole entire house has wood floors. Some of them are even painted. Granted, they don’t match up very well, they are scratched and dulled as all get out, but still. They’re wood. I wanted the continuity. I wanted wood.

Then I saw this tile at Home Depot. I was all, “SAY WHAT NOW?” I purchased a sample piece and then promptly shoved it into the face of anyone who came through our front door, frantically asking, “WHAT DO YOU THINK?!?!!”  Luckily, I got the thumbs up from all queried.

So with my wood vs. tile dilemma solved, I began the obsessive compulsive google/Gardenweb internet forum/ Houzz research phase of the project. Obviously, I had nothing but time on my hands since this renovation didn’t want to begin, ever.  Anyway. One thing I didn’t realize I needed to know was that you want your tile to be laid like wood. I know. What? What does that even mean? Just lay it on the floor already! I’m tired of stepping on exposed nails and needing tetanus shots!!!  Ahem. Well, the point is, wood comes in random lengths. Tile does not. So you want your tile installers to lay the tile as if it does come in random lengths. Otherwise you get a very uniform (and artificial) look to your tile.  Kinda beside the point, right?

That being said, even though I discussed this with our tile installer, and he agreed, I found that three rows in, he was installing the tile in an “H” joint line– meaning the joints were lining up every other row. Apparently, this is not the proper way to install it if you want it to look like wood (thank goodness I had previously read that judgey and overly critical forum discussion in my obsessive late night porcelain wood tile research!). I just asked him if he could place it in a staggered pattern going forward- or in his words- “more crazy?”-  “yes, please”- and I think it looks great.  PS- I love how I use the term “H” joint like I have any clue what I’m talking about. Everything I know I learned on the internet.

Another thing I learned was that the smaller the grout line, the more your wood-look tile will look like, well, wood, and not wood-look tile.  If you look at old hardwood floors, you notice that the joint lines are darker than the flooring itself, so if you want to mimic this look with the tile as well, you should use a darker grout.  We (I am generously including Kase in these design decisions, but you can go ahead and read the “we” as “I”) asked for a 1/16″ grout line using the darkest brown grout we could find off the shelves. This was Mapei’s  “Chocolate” brown grout, which can be found at Lowes.  Similar dark grout can be found at Home Depot- but the “Sable” color was out of stock at our store and I’m impatient.  If you prefer a more contemporary look, go with a bigger grout line and lighter grout for added contrast.

The only issue we ran into was the transition between rooms.  Three different types of “wood” all meeting up- the wood tile, the old wood transition which was a honey oak plank, and the 100 year old 3 inch hardwoods in the family room. Wood floor party!  But no thanks.  I decided we’ll just bite the bullet and use a marble transition, rather than try to match up the old wood transition piece.  Since we’ll have the marble countertops, I figured what the heck. It will all tie in. Plus we have a pretty substantial door frame leading into the kitchen, and I think it will help to highlight the entryway. Well, that’s my story anyway. I’m sticking to it. And crossing my fingers. If you’ve got a better idea, lay it on me. Floor pun intended.

PS- If you edit this post about 30 times, the word “floor” starts to look really, really, weird. Seriously, read this 30 times. See what I mean?


5 thoughts on “The Flooring Is In. [Wood Porcelain Tile]

  1. I was so excited to find your blog! We are starting an old house kitchen remodel and it’s as if we are doing it to the same house your are! We start thinking about something and then you write about that very thing. Keep on bringing us all those decision making entries. It really helps!

  2. How do you like your floors so far? We’re thinking of doing this throughout our small home, but some people are saying, “It’s sold at Home Depot; it’s cheap for a reason.” But I love it and couldn’t imagine anything else, especially here in Florida. Any additional advice to offer? What kind of thin set was used? I think we’ll be doing it ourselves.

    • Hi! Well, we are still in construction mode but we really love our tile so far- my husband even wants to use it elsewhere. One tip: we went with a really dark brown grout, which I think has made a tremendous difference in what we have versus what they present even at HD. I think they use “Tobacco brown” at HD in their display, but from what I read, people recommended a darker brown than even that, which is what we did. There is no discernible grout line when you look at it. It is a perfect match with the tile. I think at HD the brand they carry, the color is called “Sable.”

      When I was researching, every picture on Houzz featuring wood porcelain was of Florida homes, so I would go for it! It really ties in with our real hardwood floors- of course you can tell the difference, but visually, your eye continues on and doesn’t stop at the tile. Does that make any sense?

      Also, my friend went to a home show in Michigan and the show home had our tile. She said everyone was blown away that it was tile. We also got a lot of compliments on it already from friends and family at our son’s party.

      Our contractor had never seen the material in real life, and was so impressed he was going to tell his wife he found their new kitchen flooring! (he second guessed a lot of this kitchen reno and has begrudgingly come around to the dark side….)

      I don’t know if you have kids or pets, but just from our use so far, I am so happy we didn’t go with new hardwoods. Kids and pets are tough on wood floors and I don’t bat an eye when the dog spills his water all over the floor or when my toddler drops an action figure. I’ll leave that for when they install the marble counters. 😉

      Hope this helps sway you. I think you should definitely go for it!

      • Wow! Thanks for the prompt and long reply. This is my first time actually joining the blog world and commenting on all the blogs I love and follow, and I gotta say it’s such a warm and welcoming community. Thanks for the information.

        My fiancé and I will be doing all the work ourselves to save money, which might seem like a risk, but we figure if we go in with a plan and section off what we can handle at a time, we should be good. We’re doing about 1,400 square feet so it’s not like a massive space (could be bigger); it just has a lot of cuts. I know you said your contractor did everything… Could you tell me if he had any issues laying the tile like bowing or even cutting it?

        Thanks for the grout info! We plan on going as dark as possible, so it matches well and so I don’t have to look at darker areas (in high traffic areas) over time! No matter how much you clean, it’s never the same. What type of thin set did you all use? And what was your spacing? 1/16? This is what we’d like to do but hear it’s tricky…

        Thanks again for the advice and encouragement! I look forward to reading more! My blog should be up and running soon. Gotta start getting better about taking pics and documenting moments as they occur. 🙂

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