I have resisted faux wood porcelain tile, without good reason, just for the sake of installing something new. I have believed that it is great for a Long John Silver’s fast-food place attempting to convey the look of a wharf, fish shack etc…it is also good for a grocery store produce department – again, trying to depict a grower’s market with barn-wood floors while all the time being easy to maintain and virtually indestructible. But for a home (unless it too needs to be indestructible), chic restaurant, office lobby – I find it way too cold and faux.
Furthering the disdain for the material is poor specification and poor installation. Having grout joints accentuate the tile making even less believable than it already is – is the worst.
But as usual, if you wait long enough the trend will either fizzle or bloom and bloom it has- check out these really fun porcelain pieces of plank in colors – yes colors on purpose to exaggerate the idea!!! Now this is a trend with which I could have a little fun!!!
The first generation of the faux wood porcelain planks took themselves too seriously and so did the designers who used them (except in the smart applications aforementioned and perhaps an ultra contemporary beach house desiring an ease of maintenance flooring material). Not to mention, they were not the finest examples. But with all embracing this trend and using it everywhere – walls, floors etc…I found myself in boxes of cold wood-like tile – fun? I think not.
The evolution of the product has advanced its aesthetic and applications. Inserting shocking contrasts of grain and color just for the sake of design. Yay!!
So yesterday we had an all-day continuing education marathon. It was comprised of several independent courses on a variety of interesting subjects well delivered by entertaining and informed speakers, a trade show of great design sources, a lovely lunch, and finishing with a festive cocktail hour. During the course of cruising the trade show along all the vendors’ displays, I stopped at a familiar one presenting tile of all manner – including wood-grained porcelains. I engaged in conversation with one of the reps and specifically about the tired over-use of this trend. We were in perfect harmony regarding our agreement on this subject. While there I did admit a straying from the natural integrity of the materials that I generally embrace when recently I specified a vinyl wood flooring material in a residential application. This particular installation was prompted by the desire to have the look of wood flooring but with the resilience, durability and soft cushion that this unusual product offered. We had wet area conditions right off the pool area where traffic patterns to the restroom and kitchen were constantly traveled by adults, kids and dogs. The pliable product installed with a tight tongue and groove detailing and the remarkably beautiful faux wood-grained finish had great color, texture and dimension. To further belie the true content of the material, we placed stunning hand-knotted wool rugs on top of it making it more believable to the eye of the beholder. We have successfully fooled everyone to date while offering a water and dog toenail impervious, super easy to maintain floor!!!
So there is a time and place for nearly everything…just don’t settle because the trend is set-forth. Take each material and make decisions for the right materials in the right places – and never shy away from having a little fun!!!