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Hardwood Flooring vs. Ceramic Tile Flooring

Wood Floors vs. Tile Flooring

Hardwood and ceramic tile flooring both boasts functional and aesthetic purposes. Choosing one may depend on your preferences and aesthetic taste, but let’s weigh down some of the advantages and disadvantages of both!

Hardwood Flooring

Cherry Hardwood 4″ Flooring

This flooring option exhibits its natural beauty showcasing knots and different textures. When walking into a room with a hardwood floor, one’s mind will immediately think of warmth and coziness.

Some Advantages

  • Environmentally Friendly

      Hardwood floors are one of the most popular choices when it comes to flooring especially in countries with a vast supply of wood from large forests. As stated by the National Wood Floor Association (2016), this type of flooring is considered renewable due to the ratio of tree harvested to the tree planted, further explaining that the “standing volume is significantly greater today than just a few decades ago.”

            While renewable, it is also recyclable. Reclaimed and salvaged hardwood can even be considered as architectural features in homes, providing a rustic charm and sustainable element!

  • Warmth

            Aside from its cozy look, wood flooring provides insulation properties that help in retaining heat from a home’s heating systems.

  • Home Value

            Further reiterating the demand for hardwood floors, a survey conducted by the National Wood Flooring Association indicates that “99 percent of the real estate agents participating believe that homes with hardwood floors are easier to sell” (Howard, 2013).

Some Disadvantages

  • Shrinkage and Expansion

Hardwood floors are prone to shrinkage and expansion, depending on the humidity of a room. And thus, it must acclimate before the flooring’s installation in the home, meaning that it must first get used to the average humidity and temperature of the home. For instance, if there is a high amount of humidity in the room, the wood will expand which might lead to it looking swollen. And in the case when air is very dry, the wood shrinks, leading to gaps between the flooring or cracks forming.

  • Cupping and Crowning

These forms of wood warping create a wavy appearance on the flooring. Cupping is observed in areas of the floor where water has accumulated and absorbed by the wood. The water goes to the floor underneath it, and the wood will form a U-shaped cross-section. Whereas crowning happens when there is more moisture content or water on top of the wood than on the floor underneath it. An example of a situation leading to crowning is when there are “high humidity levels and a dry substrate” (NWFA, 2017).

Ceramic Tile Flooring

24×24 Tile laid in traditional style on kitchen floor

A ceramic tile is composed of clay, sand, and other inorganic materials pressed into a thin slab and fired at high temperatures. Tiled flooring is known for its durability as well as creative opportunities. Having a wide variety of designs that can be applied on the tile, or the tile layout for the flooring, it sure has endless design possibilities (TCNA, 2014)!

Some Advantages

  • Durability and Fire Resistance

This flooring can be continually used for a long time due to its durability. According to the Tile Council of North America (2018), the reference service life of ceramic tiles is at 75 years, “assum[ing] the product was installed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.” Its surface also includes scratch-resistant and water-resistant characteristics, making it applicable to different spaces in your home, from the living room to the bathroom.

Ceramic tile flooring also offers fire-resistant and non-combustible properties in which when fire meets the tile surface, it will not discharge toxic vapors (TCNA, 2018).

  • Easy Care

            Its impenetrable feature against moisture greatly contributes to it being easy to clean and maintain. Indeed, wiping with water is mostly all it takes to clean this, without needing to use harsh chemicals!

  • Health

Materials used for flooring definitely contribute to the home’s indoor air quality. In the instance of ceramic tiles, it is good to emphasize that no volatile organic compounds or VOCs are present due to the process of manufacturing ceramic tiles. Connected to it being easy to maintain, this flooring option is resistant against “dust mites, mold, germs, and bacteria” is also a great choice for “people with allergies or asthma” (TCNA, 2018).

Some Disadvantages

  • Hard Surface

Due to its durable surface, its hardness may withstand the impact of objects falling on it, but those objects will most likely break instead, compared to other flooring options that may somehow cushion the fall.

  • Cold Material

This flooring option is colder to touch, compared to other flooring types. During winter, it will be colder, whereas if exposed to a good amount of heat, it will take some time to cool off.

  • Cracking due to poor installation

According to TCNA, whenever tiles crack, one of the most common causes is due to a movement of the concrete subfloor on which the tile was installed. Some preventive measures to prevent cracking include allowing concrete to cure at 14 to 28 days and making sure to have movement joints (Simpson, 2008).

With these advantages and disadvantages listed down for both hardwood and tile flooring, which option would YOU choose?

If you’re interested in more articles about home features, see our Ultimate Real Estate Guide which can be helpful for you!

Below are the resources used in this blog post:

Bibliography

Howard, A. (2013). Fabulous Floors. National Wood Flooring Association. Retrieved from https://www.woodfloors.org/Fabulous%20Floors%20NWFA.pdf

National Wood Flooring Association. (2020). Consumer Outreach Toolkit. Retrieved from https://nwfa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Consumer-Outreach-Toolkit_forweb.pdf

National Wood Floor Association. (2016). Wood Floor Styles and Trends. Retrieved from https://www.woodfloors.org/ConsumerLookBook_final.pdf

National Wood Floor Association. (2017). Moisture and Wood. Retrieved from https://www.peacheyhardwoodflooring.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/NWFA-Moisture-Wood.pdf

Tile Council of North America. (2018) Environmental Product Declaration: Ceramic Tile. Retrieved from

TCNA. (2014). TILE: The Natural Choice. Retrieved from https://www.tcnatile.com/images/pdfs/2014_Tile_the_Natural_Choice_locked_web_PDF.pdf

Simpson, K. (2008). Cracked Tile: Common Causes and Misconceptions. Retrieved from https://www.tcnatile.com/images/pdfs/Cracked%20Tile%20-%20Common%20Causes%20and%20Misconceptions.pdf

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