A friend is thinking of installing new flooring in their Living Room / Great Room and they are trying to make the choice of a wood floor which they want or a tile alternative that looks like wood.
They are considering the ceramic tile alternatives not the commercial grade fake rubber wood that you see in restaurants but in all reality neither product is wood and neither product is going to give them that wood floor feeling that they want in a large room with exposed flooring. For commercial installs they might be an alternative. For a basement that has moisture issues that would warp wood over time they also might be an alternative but for the largest primary room in their home if they want wood they really need to go with wood.
You really have to think about these considerations when you are remodeling a home. This is a home they just bought and they intend to live there for a long time. However resale value is going to be an issue in 10 to 20 years probably and a buyer is going to see the flooring and always question why a wood look tile instead of actual wood. No matter how good it looks its going to look imitation.
Think about this what if you have a large wood fireplace and then try to paint it to look like granite or marble. Its never really going to look right. Everyone that sees it will wonder why you did it even if it is executed perfectly. From a distance its going to look nice but up close it won’t and a rooms floor is always just feet from you.
On the other hand if they really want the tile because they don’t want to deal with wood then they should select a tile that looks like tile or maybe put in a stone product. Either of those choices would be good because both would add value over carpet but materials of that type also hold heat which is necessary in a large room.
One thing you do want to remember though is that any hard material of this type either wood or tile will tend to cause noise problems. You will have sounds echoing off it and this could be a problem if your great room is also your media room.
So, in this case I would really have to steer them away from any material that is trying to be something it isn’t. Tile might be a great choice or Stone but if they desire a wood floor then thats what they should go for.
Fads like this often fade over time. Some might catch on such as a laminate countertop with a stone like or wood like appearance but even executed to its best it will never be what it is imitating to be.
When you are making decisions that you will have to live with for a long time then its best to go with what you know you want and not short change yourself.
Hardwood with a poly finish is easy to maintain and it won’t chip and crack like tile.
Since this is the main room of their home instead of going with a boring standard oak they might want to look for something unique. Maybe reclaimed wood from a barn that would let them have much wider boards. Oak is nice but maybe they can find a small shop that mills their own lumber and get something really special for not very much more than basic standard oak. Well maybe twice or a little bit more but you are talking something with a much higher visual appearance.
Whatever decisions you make in your home always take time to look at all your options and then decide if you can live with the choice for many years to come. Resale is also an important factor but you are the one that will be living there so make it your home.