Upgrading your floors is a major home improvement that will continue to affect your life daily. After all, these are the floors you’ll walk on the day in and day out for years to come, so you want to make sure you choose the right type of flooring for your home. Here’s a complete guide to all the similarities and differences you need to consider when choosing hardwood or tile floors for your home.
Many will agree that ceramic tile and hardwood are the most common kinds of flooring among the dozens of flooring options that are available.
Walk into any given building, and you will see the floors being made of either ceramic tiles or hardwood.
Sure, there are exceptions, and it isn’t like hardwood flooring, and ceramic tile is the only kinds of floors in existence. However, it cannot be denied that ceramic tile and hardwood are the most popular kinds of flooring, and they deserve to be analyzed side-by-side.
While the differences between ceramic tile and hardwood flooring seem very obvious, there is one aspect between the two, that is a lot more subtle: Cost.
The cost differences between ceramic tile and hardwood flooring may seem pretty obvious at first. Still, because there is so much that goes into installing, repairing, and maintaining these floors, they deserve to be measured against each other.
There is a lot more about how much these kinds of floors cost than just how much money you will need to spend on them. You should also factor in how much time you need to take waiting out the installation, and how much effort you will need to put forth in gathering supplies for installation or repairs if you wish to do them yourself.
All of these will be covered as the overall cost of ceramic tile, and hardwood gets placed under a much-needed microscope. After understanding these differences, you will know for sure which one is best for you.
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Should I Use Tile Or Hardwood In My Next Remodel?
Choosing Tile vs Hardwood is a decision every homeowner must make when considering their next remodel. It’s a very hard decision to make, but I provide insight here that I think will help make it easy!
I want to introduce myself before we get started, my name is Ray Hughey, and I’ve been installing floor and tile for just over ten years now. I run a Flooring & Tile business out of Plainfield, IL. I’ve seen it all when it comes to home remodelling, flooring, and tile!
Everything I’m going to about to tell you about tile vs hardwood comes from 10 years of experience in the business, and I’ve said nothing but my honest opinions here. With that being said, let’s get into it!
Which Is More Durable: Hardwood Or Tile?
This is a question I get asked very often. The short answer is, in most cases, and tile is going to be more durable. Hardwood scratches much easier, is more susceptible to weather conditions, and is easily discoloured by prolonged sun exposure.
Tile is a much harder surface than hardwood, so it will be able to withstand much more wear and tear. That being said, it also has to be set right. After all, if you don’t have enough mortar “coverage” on the back of the tile (a.k.a bare spots), then it can be much less durable than hardwood because it will be easier to break.
What Are Bare Spots And Why Are They Important
When laying tile, we want the mortar to spread evenly across the entire back of the tile. This ensures that a strong bond is formed between the tile and the surface we’re setting it on. Generally, we want 90% mortar coverage on the back of a tile.
So, say you only have 40-50 % coverage on a tile, if you dropped something heavy or set something heavy on the tile, that tile has a strong possibility of breaking because the bond between the tile and the surface is not strong enough.
Now, hardwood doesn’t raise off the floor, so it doesn’t have this problem. However, if we lay something heavy on a Hardwood floor, it could leave indents over time if it is a softer wood.
How Does Water Affect Tile Vs Hardwood?
For tile, if there is a large amount of standing water left for a long period, it can ruin the bond between the subfloor and the tile.
On the other hand, if hardwood is exposed to a large amount of moisture, eventually it will warp and expand. Over time it will “buckle” if the water is not removed from it.
Longevity Over Time
With tile, the only longevity issue you’ll have to worry about is sealing the grout every few years. Which, for the most part, is inexpensive. The Flooring Girl created a nice intensive guide about why sealing grout is important, and she even details how to do it yourself, be sure to read this resource!
Whereas with hardwood, the hardwood surface is easier to scratch. Simple things like having a rock in your shoe or even your dog’s nails can scratch the surface of hardwood easily. So Hardwood floors will need to be refinished every few years.
So, when looking at the lifetime durability of these two materials, it’s cheaper to seal grout on tile every few years than it is to refinish hardwood floors, which means that hardwood can be more expensive to maintain over the long run.
Hardwood flooring not only adds to the aesthetic appeal of your home, but it can also add value to your home According to the National Wood Flooring Association, homes with wood floors sell faster and at higher prices than a home without hardwood floors. Hardwood flooring is a feature that is universally attractive and tends to always stay in style. However, homeowners need to be aware of the pros and cons associated with hardwood flooring during the decision-making process.
- Easy Maintenance: Hardwood floors can stand the test of time with proper maintenance. Think about it, many homes that are over 100 years old still have their original flooring. Most wood floors need sweeping or vacuuming to keep clean from dust, debris, and spills. They also only need occasional cleaning with a wood floor cleaner.
- Versatility: We already discussed the timeless style of hardwood floors, but they are also extremely versatile. If at any point in time you want to change up the look of a room, you can quickly throw an area rug down and have a whole new look to the room! Hardwood floors make it easy to decorate and make it easy to match any style.
- Variety: Hardwood flooring can also come in a wide selection of variations to match the look and feel of your home. There are many stains, woods, thickness levels, and patterns. There is even the option sometimes to mix and match.
- Cost: Buying new wood floors is a larger investment when compared to other types of flooring options. It is more expensive than installing tile or carpet.
- Wear: Hardwood floors can be functional even after many years. However, they will still wear and scratch over time. This means that you may have to refinish and fix areas in your wood floor after installation. If you have a lot of activity in your home, this may be a bigger drawback.
- Noise: Hardwood floors can be quite noisy when compared to carpet. Once the floors are installed, the wood begins to wear and settle immediately, especially in high-traffic homes. Keep in mind that hardwood floors don’t absorb noise as well as carpets do, making steps and movement in your home a little more noticeable.
Whether you are currently building your dream home or have lived in the same house for years, there may come a time when new flooring is needed. Speedy Floor Removal is here to help you remove your current flooring to make way for new flooring.
Tile flooring is a very practical, economical, and fashionable option when choosing a new floor. Tile is still one of the most popular options when it comes to flooring. It has a diverse range of textures, shapes, colours, and materials that offer unlimited options that can satisfy any design style and budget. Just like hardwood flooring, tile floors have benefits and drawbacks.
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- Durability: Tile flooring is extremely tough—and tiles are often difficult to crack. A good quality tile can last for up to 20 years and even longer if prepared and maintained properly. If a single tile does end up with a crack in it, the process of replacing or fixing the tile is fairly simple, saving you money and stress!
- Lower Cost: Most flooring can cost anywhere between $4-$10 per square foot, but those numbers can vary to two different extremes. This makes tile flooring moderately more expensive than carpet, but it is less costly when compared to hardwood flooring. Also, depending on where the tile floor is installed, it can add long-term value to your home.
- Non-allergenic: Just like hardwood flooring, tile is a hard, solid surface that doesn’t attract dirt, dust, pollen, or other allergens. Unlike carpet, small debris stands out on the surface of tile floors, making it easier to spot and clean. Tile floor also helps to promote cleaner air in your home. With a tile floor, it makes it harder for irritating materials to make a home on your floor and in return, helps those that suffer from respiratory problems or asthma.
- Hardness: Tile is a hard material, making it very easy to clean and maintain. However, this can also make it more difficult and uncomfortable to stand on for long periods. Though the hardness of the tile floors can be offset by putting down area rugs in certain places, it isn’t ideal for some homeowners.
- Weight: The weight of the tile can be a slight problem. Tile floors are heavy, which means that they cannot be installed everywhere. Most of the time tile flooring cannot be installed on upper stories. It is possible, but it can be more difficult to accomplish.
- Installation: Any type of floor installation can be difficult, depending on many factors. But, tile floors prove to be the most difficult to install. Installation requires many tools, grouts, mortars, etc. This is a project that can be done by an amateur, but it is not recommended. Tile floor installation can be difficult, time-consuming, and prone to mistakes. This is best left to a professional.
Choosing the right type of flooring is important and should be researched thoroughly before you make your final decision. It is also crucial that you choose the right contractor for the job. Different contractors have different levels of skill and expertise. Therefore, it’s important to do your research—call around, get multiple estimates, and don’t just choose solely based on price. Instead, choose a flooring contractor that makes you feel comfortable.
Before your new flooring is even installed, it’s imperative that your current flooring is properly removed and the surface underneath is prepared for the new floor. Floor removal and preparation are some of the most important steps in installing new tile or hardwood flooring. If done incorrectly, your new flooring will not be installed properly and can give you more problems in the future.
Why are so many factors being analyzed in the cost of ceramic tile and hardwood flooring?
Before these kinds of floors can be analyzed, a little more input on what comprises the total cost of these two is in order.
There are three expendable resources that we possess: Money, time, and effort.
There are also three major aspects of flooring: Installation, repairs, and maintenance.
As you will see, the money, time, and effort that we have available to us will be related to the processes of installation, repairs, and maintenance that go into the ceramic tile and hardwood floors.
The problem with only analyzing how much these floors cost in terms of money is that it completely ignores time or effort. For example, a floor could be very cheap to install, but it could take weeks to install compared to a floor that costs a little more money to install but only takes days to install.
These can also translate to repairs and maintenance. A floor could be very cheap to maintain in terms of the time necessary, but it could take a lot of time to get the materials necessary or could take a lot of time to make the necessary repairs if you want to do these repairs yourself.
Point being, “cost” refers to a lot more than the money that you spend. It also refers to how much time you plan to spend as well as how much effort you do not mind putting into your ceramic tile or wood floor.
All three resources of money, time, and effort will be mentioned and referred to as much as possible when analyzing the processes of installation, repairs, and maintenance of ceramic tiles and hardwood flooring.
What Is The Best Flooring To Put On Concrete: Hardwood Or Tile?
Hardwood can be done on concrete, but as an experienced flooring and tile contractor, I would not recommend that you put hardwood over concrete [Just my opinion].
The correct way to put down hardwood is with glue and nails on top of a plywood subfloor. If you eliminate the nails and go with the glue, there is not as strong of a bond as there should be.
With only glue holding down the hardwood, any water or moisture that gets introduced has a much better chance of destroying the floor. Also, by only using glue, you’re taking away what makes hardwood durable. Without nails, hardwood loses its sturdiness.
So to reiterate, Hardwood Flooring in most cases is not a wise choice to install directly on concrete.
Can You Install Tile On Concrete?
For tile, I believe that doing the installation yourself on concrete is a bad idea. First, it MUST be completely dust-free. You also have to use the right set of mortar (thinset) to ensure the strength of the bond.
The biggest problem with installing Tile over Concrete is the concrete is usually not perfectly straight. So, more than likely you’re going to fight a lot of high peaks and low plateaus in the floor plane. This is why it’s not a job for someone inexperienced.
Can You Install Tile On Concrete?
Overall, I would never install hardwood over concrete. If you want to install something over concrete, I will go with tile, or in my opinion, the best choice is a floating floor. This Old House created an awesome guide for beginners, where they break down step by step how to install a floating floor over concrete. Be sure to take a look at that, and all the answer are in there!
Which Is Cheaper: Tile Or Hardwood?
What kind of material are you using? More expensive hardwood which is more per square foot? Big marble tiles or 12×12 ceramic? Depending on your material, your prices per square foot can vary a lot for both hardwood and tile, which in general also will determine your installation cost. Because more expensive material generally is going to cost more to install.
How Much Does It Cost To Install Hardwood?
When it comes to installation, there is no easy way to estimate what it will cost. Is this a new construction job? Are you remodelling your current home? If remodelling, are you tearing out existing materials? Do you have to replace the existing subfloor? Is it prefinished hardwood or raw hardwood that will need to be refinished or stained? Those are all factors that will play into how much your job will cost to install.
We have a wide range of Melbourne tiling renovations to help you choose in creating a new design for your house.
How Much Does It Cost To Install Tile?
It’s virtually the same with tile. Do we have to put down the cement board? Are we tearing out old materials? What size tile is it? What kind of tiles are they? What kind of pattern do you want to do? Those are all questions that need to be answered that will affect the price drastically. It’s not straightforward.
The only way to know is to get an in-person estimate. Odds are most homeowners looking to remodel are not going to know what the job entails.
To give an accurate price, I need to see the area, cover all the bases, see what material they want to use, what pattern they want to do and make sure I see everything that needs to be done. I have a very basic tool I put on my website to give you a tile & flooring installation estimate. Give that tool a try, but remember it all depends on your area and the going rate in your area!
As you can see, there are a few things that are similar and a few things that are different when it comes to the cost of ceramic tile and hardwood.
Depending on how you want them installed, they can practically cost the same. This is why you need to factor in more than just money when it comes to the total cost of installing, repairing, and maintaining these kinds of floors.
If you consider “cost” as a measure of more than just money spent, you’ll discover that a ceramic tile floor will be a lot more cost-effective than a hardwood floor in the area of time and effort. Maintaining and repairing a hardwood floor can take a lot of time and effort, much more than any given ceramic tile floor.
Use these comparisons to see which kind of floor is best for you.
As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to both hardwood floors and tile planks. I think they are both great options, but you’ll need to choose what’s best for you and your home’s needs. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.