Floor Vs Floor: Tiles or Engineered Wood Flooring?
Choosing the right flooring for your home or commercial space involves weighing the pros and cons of different materials. For those who love the look of natural wood but are environmentally conscious, wood design tiles and engineered wood flooring stand out as popular options, each presenting unique characteristics that impact functionality, aesthetics, and long-term suitability. But how do they compare head-to-head? Let’s explore:
1. Overall Cost of Tiles vs Engineered Wood Flooring
In terms of material cost, tile prices can vary widely depending on whether you go for ceramic or porcelain, as well as your choice of surface and design. Engineered wood, on average, tend to be priced higher than tiles as well per square foot of installation. Of course, installation costs for both tiles and engineered wood flooring would fluctuate based on the complexity and laying pattern, which can drive up labour costs – but on average, we would say that engineered wood flooring is most pricey than tiles.
2. Durability of Tiles vs Engineered Wood Flooring
As tiles are fired at high temperatures from clay, they are highly durable and resistant to scratches, moisture, and are known to last decades while maintaining their appearance even in high-traffic areas, if they have the right PEI rating. Engineered wood flooring, on the other hand, is made from a combination of real wood and composite materials, and tends to be less durable, eventually requiring replacing after a number of years. While comfortable to walk on, the softer surface of engineered wood flooring is also more susceptible to scratching and water damage in comparison to tiles.
3. Tiles Maintenance vs Engineered Wood Flooring Maintenance
Because tiles are so resistant to abrasion and water damage, they are incredibly easy to maintain, requiring regular sweeping and occasional mopping, while their grout lines only need periodic attention to prevent staining. When doing periodic maintenance for engineered wood flooring, you would have to conduct regular sweeping and gentle mopping, making sure to avoid excessive moisture and use appropriate wood cleaners to prevent damaging the panels and maintain the finish of engineered wood flooring.
4. Health and Safety of Tiles vs Engineered Wood Flooring
When it comes to health and safety, tiles are naturally the safe option, as they are VOC-free, hypoallergenic, and do not trap allergens or bacteria. Not to mention, they also come in surfaces that help prevent slips such as structured, micro structured, and Slip-Stop surfaces, making them a safe choice for both indoor and outdoor settings. In certain ways, engineered wood can also be a suitable option for those without specific sensitivities, however, its seams are where dust and allergens may be trapped if not properly maintained, and it is not very suitable for wet or slick areas where it may become slippery.
5. Physical Comfort of Tiles vs Engineered Wood Flooring
It is true that tiles can feel cold and hard underfoot, especially in colder weather, which is where engineered wood flooring tends to shine more, as it provides a warmer, softer, and overall, a more comfortable experience, so you could say that in terms of physical comfort, engineered wood flooring takes this category. For those who wish to enjoy the benefits that tiles provide without the trade-off of physical comfort, area rugs can be used to soften the flooring and enhance comfort, or consider newer surface technology such as tiles with Silky surface that is softer than conventional tiles.
6. Surfaces and Design of Tiles vs Engineered Wood Flooring
Through digital printing, modern tiles offer a vast array of design possibilities, including various colours, patterns, and textures, and can mimic not only the look but even the touch of natural elements such as wood, stone, and marble, which provides versatile aesthetic choices. When it comes to engineered wood, the main draw is that it exudes the elegance and warmth of natural wood, with all the options in terms of colours, finishes, and wood species. While tiles provide more options overall, you would find more wood-specific options within the engineered wood range, so it is up to your preference in the end.
7. Eco-Friendliness of Tiles vs Engineered Wood Flooring
The environmental impact of porcelain and ceramic tiles varies based on production methods and materials used. While ceramic and porcelain tiles are fired from clay and other naturally and abundantly found materials, their environmental footprint can vary, so it is important to look out for third-party verifications such as an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) that assesses the overall impact a tile might have over its complete lifecycle. For engineered wood flooring, while it can be considered a more sustainable option compared to solid hardwood flooring (as it utilises fewer natural resources), it is also important to look out for similar verifications, such as the FSC certification, that can help you make an informed choice.
In summary, here are the pros and cons of using tiles versus engineered flooring:
|Engineered Wood Flooring
|Medium to High
|Low to Medium
|Requires some care to clean, as well as special cleaners
|Easy to clean without external assistance
|Health & Safety
|May trap allergens and dirt in between the seams
|Allergen-free, and prevents the growth of bacteria and mold
|Slightly softer than tiles
|Can be cold and unyielding, due to its toughness
|Design & Surface
|Limited to wood designs
|Many types of designs available
|Made from combination of natural and synthetic materials
|Made from naturally and abundantly found materials