Wood-effect stoneware

Wood effect stoneware

"Wood-effect stoneware" or "faux wood stoneware" refers to a wide range of porcelain stoneware tiles that imitate wooden floors in terms of appearance and size. In the years 2017/2018 wood-effect stoneware floors have conquered a large share of the market, becoming the most popular ceramic floors in the residential sector, stealing a slice of the market from real parquet, which they manage to imitate incredibly faithfully. 

On this page we will talk about these tiles that look like wood, and in particular: 

Wood-effect stoneware floor in Vicenza

On the upper floor of this house, a light-coloured wood-effect porcelain stoneware was laid to reproduce the shading of wood and its grain: we will also find faux wood in the bathroom!

Take a tour of the house:

floors in Verona: a house in Albaredo d'Adige

Who buys wood-effect stoneware?

The faux wood tiles- i.e. porcelain stoneware tiles that imitate wood- are the perfect answer for this group of buyers who are looking for the aesthetics of wood but are afraid of the critical aspects of parquet, in particular the fact that wood scratches and is damaged by humidity.

Ceramic tile offers mechanical, abrasion, scratch and chemical resistance, as well as not absorbing liquids, which puts it among the best floors in terms of functionality. Of course, it will not have the warmth of real wood, it will feel colder to the touch and it will not give the same sensation when walking on it. 
In short, the true lover of wood, as well as those who have had parquet in their homes for many years, will immediately recognise the "fake" tile and prefer real parquet. 


Wood-effect tiles laid in a bathroom

Faux-wood tiles won the objections

An architect client of ours from Vicenza described it as "aberrant" to even think of choosing tiles over wood. And other architects think more or less in the same way. But many of our other customers, families, but also owners of shops or public places, think in a completely different way. 

In short, faux wood tiles have been the subject of debate between protesters and admirers. 

But it is always the end customer who decides the success of a product, and there are many who prefer to have a floor that is easy to sanitise (think of a public place or, worse still, the bathrooms of a public place) without giving up the feeling of a parquet floor. 

If you too are planning to create a floor that has a natural flavour but, at the same time, the resistance of a tile, I suggest you continue reading this article: you will find a lot of useful information to help you choose the best! 

Wood-effect stoneware and mosaic, Verona

Which wood-effect stoneware? Rustic, modern...

There are many types of wood-effect stoneware tiles with costs that can vary from just under €10 per square metre to over €40 per metre. It depends a lot on the format, the surface processing, the number of "faces" (i.e. how many moulds are used to make a batch of product). There are rustic, modern, polished or textured surface products, suitable for outdoor use. 
We have analysed the various types in a specific article:

wood effect tiles: types

As far as the prices of this type of tile are concerned: there are wood-effect porcelain tiles in very small formats (e.g. 17x50) which have a lower price than, for example, narrow and long strips (15x120) or very long staves (20x240).

I'll try to give you some quick pointers: the small 15x60 or 17x50 unrectified format will cost you around €10 per metre plus VAT (perhaps one or two euros less if you buy it from the large French chains, Bricoman or Leroy Merlin) but I don't recommend it. The rounded edge (not corrected) does not work well at all on this type of floor. The rounded edge and the small format contributes to completely distorting the idea of the wooden plank and the floor will be unsatisfactory

The 20x120 format with the rectified edge is now the "standard" format for stoneware that "decently" imitates parquet. Let's say that here you can get an "honest" product at a limited price ranging from 15 to 20 euros per square metre for a product of decent quality.

The size alone is not enough to determine the price: it's as if I told you that all 2000 cc cars cost the same. But it is already a first step because, as mentioned, a "squat" product imitates parquet very poorly, while a long, narrow plank imitates it much better. 

In addition to these aspects, consideration should also be given to the processing that can make the surface wavy or saw-like, with the knots and wood grain slightly raised. 

Faux wood tiles in kitchen

The styles of wood-effect stoneware

Whether you have to do the floor of a living area, a sleeping area or a basement, the important thing is to think about how the space will look once the furniture is complete. 

The floor is the backdrop against which the furniture should stand out because it is the real protagonist. For this reason it is important to know what style you have decided to use.

One of the many advantages of wood-effect stoneware is that it allows you to choose a product that suits various styles. There are some very minimal products, with grey or white tones. Others have the refinement and elegance of walnut or elm grains, perhaps enhanced by the glossy surface. Some products are suitable for a classic style, others for country. Finally, there are products that are perfect for a rustic decor.

Speaking of rustic wood effect tiles: we have selected the best ones for you: 

the 3 best rustic wood-effect tiles

External staircase in wood-effect stoneware, Vicenza

External staircase made of wood-effect tiles in Vicenza.

See all the materials used to cover outdoor stairs:

how do you clad your external staircase?

Do you sell more faux wood tiles or real parquet?

In 2017, wood-effect stoneware became the best-selling type of flooring in Italy, far outstripping real wood.  
Not only that: parquet manufacturers say they are suffering from competition from these wood-looking tiles that steal market share from parquet.
Statistics on the sale of wooden floors confirm this fact. So the answer is YES, there are many more wood-look tiles being sold than real parquet. 
Obviously it is also a question of price: a wooden floor (as long as they are not imported or 'fake Italian', as found in Brico stores) costs about twice as much as a wood-effect stoneware tile of the same size. Furthermore, there are areas where real wood could not be used, for obvious reasons, and where stoneware is used without any problems. 

If you would like to know more about market statistics you can find a lot of information here: 

the wood flooring market

Wood-effect stoneware bathroom, realisation phase in Vicenza

What sizes for wood effect stoneware?

As we have already mentioned, the realistic effect of wood-effect stoneware is also favoured by the size of the tiles: the narrower and longer they are, the better the imitation works. 

If, on the other hand, the requirement is to respect an economic budget, one must opt for an economical format such as 15x60 with a natural border.
The "standard" format that has established itself on the market is 20x120, which is also the one that offers the greatest choice of colours, surfaces and styles. Here you can find hyper-modern, industrial products, but also rustic, glossy... in short, this is the format on which the most important producers in Sasssuolo have concentrated.  

Some, however, offer lengths of 180 or even 240 centimetres. In these cases, the imitation reaches remarkable levels of perfection, also because the wooden boards in these formats are often bevelled at the edges, so that there is a small joint even in real wood. 

But that's not all: some manufacturers offer square formats that imitate the ancient inlaid wooden squares used as floors in the noble palaces of the 1800s, re-proposed in the form of porcelain stoneware:

go to the article "wood-effect stoneware in inlaid tile format"

Wood-effect tiles

Where should wood effect stoneware be laid?

One of the revolutionary aspects of wood effect stoneware is its ability to be laid almost anywhere. We ourselves have used it in residential areas as well as in shops, offices and restaurants. 
In fact, thanks to the technical characteristics mentioned above, wood effect stoneware can be easily combined with any style of furnishing. But not only on the floor! 
This type of tile is also used to cover walls, perhaps in the living room or bedroom or in a hotel lobby or on the staircase wall in an office. 
You can find some examples in the article:

go to the article "wood effect stoneware on walls"

Wood-effect stoneware laid on the wall in this bathroom

Is there any wood-effect stoneware for outdoors?

Certainly! Wood-effect stoneware is also produced with non-slip surfaces and frost-proof characteristics that make it absolutely suitable for outdoor use.

In order to facilitate the combination with interior spaces, many companies offer two versions of the product: with a natural surface for interiors and with a non-slip surface for exteriors.
In this way we can achieve the continuity of surfaces between interior and exterior that is a "must" in today's interior design trends. 
In many cases we have combined real parquet floors indoors with wood-effect stoneware in similar tones outdoors, as we did in this house in Arzignano:

Renovation in ARZIGNANO

Wood-effect stoneware terrace in Vicenza

Can faux wood tiles be used in the garden?

If your aim is to lay slabs directly on the ground or on gravel/chippings, you will find wood-effect porcelain stoneware also in the version with increased thickness (2 centimetres) which does not require gluing but can be laid "dry". 

It is an extraordinary product that allows you to easily create, even without the need for an installer, pedestrian paths in the garden that are also easily removable over time. 

You will find some applications, photos of installations and all the information and advice you need to create dry floors using thick tiles in the article:


"PORCELain stoneware with increased thickness"

Wood-effect stoneware in outdoor swimming pool, Vicenza

Wood-effect stoneware: the weight

If weight is also an important factor in your decision to use parquet or tile, perhaps because you have to work on an old floor with low load-bearing capacities, you should know that tile weighs much more than parquet. 

You can find all the information here: how much does a tile weigh?

Wood-effect stoneware floor

Laying wood-effect stoneware

As we have said, the narrower and longer the format of wood effect stoneware, the more successful the imitation of a wooden floor will be. But be careful! These types of formats must be laid with extreme care. 

The narrow and long formats, in fact, immediately highlight any irregularities of the laying surface. If it is a renovation where we are overlaying an existing floor, we must carefully check the flatness of the floor. In houses built up to the 1970s it was rare to find flat floors, and the situation becomes more complicated if internal partitions are removed, hiding even considerable differences in level between one room and another. 

Even if the floor is laid on a screed, it is very important to check that there are no major differences in level. 

The rectified edge, which characterises almost all wood effects, is another element that requires greater attention during laying and for this type of floor we recommend laying with levelling wedges, which we discuss here:  posa con cunei livellatori

Wood-effect stoneware stairs

The availability of wood-effect stoneware in large sizes now allows us to create internal (but also extermal) stair treads using tiles. This makes it possible, in the case of two-storey dwellings, to have the same material as for the floors in the stairs as well

The advantage is obvious: a continuity of surface improves the aesthetics of the house. We always say that there should be three or four colours in a house, no more. That is why choosing a staircase in the same colour and material as the floor is always a winning choice. 

To do this we have three options: 

  • buy the steps from manufacturers
  • have the tiles processed by specialised companies 
  • work the pieces on site and build the stair treads "on site".

In addition to the various tile sizes, the best manufacturers also offer special pieces for immediate delivery, such as skirting boards and steps. The advantage is that you can have everything you need in a short time. The disadvantage is that the measurements are those proposed in the catalogue, while it is often necessary to cover stairs with steps of different sizes.

This can be solved by companies that specialise in obtaining steps from tiles. We often have to do this and we turn to Graeba. It involves buying a few extra tiles, sending them to the workshop which will cut and glue the pieces to form the step and then you go and collect the material. 
The whole thing takes about 25 days, but it allows you to have pieces made to measure. 

There is also the possibility of having the staircase made directly on site. In this case you need a good fitter with the right equipment, who can make a 45 degree cut and fit the tiles together. Clearly, in this case, a little more tolerance is needed on the part of the customer because it is impossible to have the same level of precision as with a machine. But it can happen to be forced to make the staircase on site if there are steps of particular shapes and sizes. 

Wood-effect stoneware staircase - Vicenza

Wood-effect stoneware and cement tiles in the bathroom

Wood-effect stoneware on the terrace

Wood-effect stoneware in Vicenza

Wood-effect stoneware staircase, Vicenza

Other examples of wood effect stoneware floors

Make an appointment to choose your wood effect stoneware floor:

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