Lately I've fallen in love with a few things...long summer days, polka dot dogs that won't pay attention and design trends that make sense. The commonality among these things is that they possess a certain resilience, unmitigated beauty and qualities unique unto them. Each one different, each with their own allure.
The design trend recently spotted was the use of the wood-look porcelain tile in residential application. These tiles range in cost, size and quality just like everything else. A porcelain tile is a through-body tile. The body of the tile is clay, not ceramic and is far more durable. Porcelain holds it's color and doesn't have the screened-on pixilation that is sometimes prominent in a ceramic tile.
The wood-looks were most often seen in commercial applications such as hotels or restaurants. That they have come into home use is largely due to the functionality aspect - and their appearance has greatly improved. The tiles can be purchased in 12"x12" squares or 6"x24" planks. Colors mimic the real thing - Wenge, Maple, Cherry, Oak. While they will show a grout line, the application is important, as is the pattern. Mixing them as a border is an option - with a porcelain tile rug in the center. Or run them like planks for a seamless effect.
The texture helps in the slippery factor - or coefficient of friction. All tiles are rated for this factor - how slick they become when wet. Kind of like getting your hands on a wet puppy that only wants to play. Check the back of the tile board for the rating to see where it stacks up.
Some tiles are available for LEED points and are made of recycled materials. In a residential application, these tiles are best paired with a floor warming system such as Warmly Yours or Nu-Heat. This is always a winning combination with any floor tile.
These great impostors won't let you down. They will continue to delight you on their own merits. They have the longevity of a summer day and will reside happily in your home with their steadfast performance and unabashed charm for many years to come. Like that spotted pup you are hoping will one day graduate from obedience class.