Porcelain planks with simulated wood grain and texture have their benefits—and drawbacks
By Tobie Stanger
Wood floors are high on the wish list of many a homeowner and buyer. And it’s easy to see why: Wood has a unique character and glow, especially when polished. It feels warmer to walk on than other flooring types, and it can be more comfortable to stand on for long periods. Wood flooring exudes comfort and tradition—even history.
But because it typically scratches, dents, and wears easily, wood floors aren’t ideal for high-traffic areas like hallways, kitchens, laundry rooms, and mudrooms. For those places, Consumer Reports’ tough flooring tests show that durable porcelain tile reigns supreme.
But now you can have the best of both worlds. In recent years, flooring manufacturers have developed durable tile flooring that looks a lot like wood in its color and grain—and even its texture. So if you fancy a wood look but don’t want the hassle of wood-floor maintenance, tile that looks like wood may be the answer.
Unlike wood, porcelain tile doesn’t scratch, stain, or wear out, explains Enrique de Paz, who leads Consumer Reports’ flooring tests. Its color stays consistent; it doesn’t fade. Unlike wood, it’s waterproof, so it won’t be damaged by spills. "And it is surprisingly slip-resistant, even when wet," de Paz says.
Consumer Reports’ flooring ratings include five wood-look tile flooring products, and generally, we’ve found them to be highly durable. The one area where they fall short is in our denting test, in which we drop heavy objects from various heights and look for damage. "One has to be aware that the tile may crack when something heavy is dropped on it," de Paz says. Nonetheless, he still says porcelain tile is a solid choice for most areas of the house.
Below are three stellar wood-look tile products from our flooring ratings. We tested only one color of each, but our test results apply to other colors of the same product.
Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2022, Consumer Reports, Inc.