Ceramique Internationale’s Peter Vann explores how evolving tile technology has given us unlimited opportunities to get creative with wood-effect tiles, and why this natural trend is here to stay.
It’s no secret that ink jet printing has catapulted the evolution of the wood-effect tile market, with the latest technologies enabling the recreation of literally hundreds of types of wood.
With hyper-realistic wood grains and finishes now being perfectly replicated on porcelain and ceramic tiles, anything and everything possible has been created.
Capturing the beauty and warmth of the original material but with all the added benefits of porcelain, wood-effect tiles are a hugely desirable and versatile solution to suit any room, both in the home and in commercial spaces. The stoneware compounds of porcelain give the tiles waterproof properties, meaning they don’t warp or rot when wet like real wood can, and their stain-resistant and scratchproof qualities give them a much longer lifespan – even in heavy-trafficked areas such as hallways, living rooms and conservatories.
But it’s not only the practicality element that is winning consumers over – thanks to these new technological advances, the opportunities are endless when it comes to creating the specific wood effect desired – from a traditional natural timber to soft Scandinavian neutrals and even reclaimed aged-oak effects.
While wood effect tiles are now available in an array of woods, grains and colours, classic oak continues to prove a popular shade. Soft pale greys and crisp, clean whites have also come to the forefront, offering a more fashion-forward finish – perfectly captured in multiple trending tones by Marazzi’s 200 by 1,200mm Sistemu range. Wood-effect tiles can also be recreated in dark, intense tones such as deep red and black, which offer a rich, luxurious finish.
In terms of sizes, the classic 200 by 1,200mm plank is by far the most in-demand size in the UK – and is especially popular for entire ground floor schemes, as the long boards create an elongating effect in any space.
In contrast, for kitchen and bathroom schemes, a shorter 150 by 900mm tile or the even more exclusive 100 by 700mm size is preferred.
With all the advancements in novel wood-effects, colours and sizes, comes a new world of creativity in terms of laying patterns. One of the biggest success stories has been wood-effect chevron tiles. A visually compelling design, the diagonal shapes help create the illusion of space – especially useful in smaller rooms.
Their popularity is further enhanced by our new Treverksoul collection, which is helpfully sold in a set of two: a left tile and a right tile.
Also reflecting the diagonal visual trend is the herringbone fixing pattern, which has become increasingly popular thanks to the intricate interlocking effect it creates. 100 by 700mm planks are without a doubt the best suited format for creating this pattern, as they suit all room sizes, small or large.
Even more recently, we’ve seen a vertical stacking design being used to produce a modern, contemporary twist, as well as an introduction of new shapes – such as hexagonal wood-effect tiles – although planks are still leading in the UK.
And the possibilities don’t end at the floor! Wood-effect tiles make a unique statement in wet room projects – for example, our unique Treverk wood-effect mosaic tiles add an extra element of interest to the wet room floor. Pairing wood effects with complementary concrete or natural stone styles also works to great effect, creating the uber-modern ‘rustrial’ look –– combining industrial design with rustic elements.
Thanks to innovative technology advancements, each wood-effect tile created today features unique textures, knots and tonal variations – offering more realism when choosing porcelain replications than ever before.
And as the beauty of this natural material is paired with the perfect practicality of porcelain, we ‘wood’ be inclined to believe that this trend is going nowhere fast.
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