Is wood look-alike tile easier to maintain than regular wood?

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If you've shopped around for new flooring, you know that wood look-alike tile is notoriously cheaper than hardwood and looks almost exactly like the real thing. It sounds like a dream come true, but what happens after it's installed? Will the tile floor continue to look as good, last as long and be less expensive to maintain than a real wood floor, too?

Tile Care Basics

We spoke with Josh Levinson, President of Artistic Tile in Secaucus, New Jersey, for the inside scoop on tile floor maintenance. Says Josh, “Porcelain floor tiles are easy to maintain, requiring only sweeping or vacuuming to remove loose debris, as well as damp mopping with a mixture of water and suitable tile cleaner.” Sounds simple enough, but what about the problem of dirty grout?

Dirt and grime building up on the grout—the cement-like filler that goes between the tiles—over time and to the point of its original color being lost, has been an issue. However, these days, high performance and stain resistant grouts are eradicating this problem, making it easier than ever before to keep grout looking clean and lasting longer. Josh advises, however, to make sure your tile floor is installed by a qualified technician and maintained properly over time. If you do run into a problem with your grout, just the grout can be redone or repaired, without needing to replace the tile itself.

Another worry you might have about tile flooring is what happens if a tile becomes chipped or cracked. If a tile floor is installed and maintained properly, it can handle large amounts of foot traffic. However, dropping a heavy object directly onto the floor can potentially damage it. If the crack is in an isolated area, it should be simple enough to replace the damaged tile or two—it's always a good idea to keep a few spare tiles just in case.

Looking to do a full comparison of the two floor types? Get the rundown on wood care tips on our FAQ page: “How do I maintain my wood floors?” Both types of floors have their maintenance pros and cons. No matter which type you decide on, make sure your new floor is put in by a qualified technician and diligently maintained to keep it looking as beautiful as the day it was installed.

Artistic Tile offers stocked tile and natural stone products as well as in-house design services and custom capabilities. Learn about artistic tile at

—Carrie Pope