Hardwood vs. Tile Flooring – Which Is Better?

Hardwood vs.Tile Flooring – Which Is better?


As a homeowner, a floor remodel is a huge investment. With different flooring options, it’s great to look at everything available before going all in. And one question we get a lot — tile or hardwood?

Whether you go for the softer, homey feel of hardwood or the sturdy, scratch-free tile, it can be a tricky choice if you don’t know all the pros and cons of each.

In today’s blog, we’ll review the features of each tile vs. hardwood flooring option to help you decide which one is best for your home.

Pros and Cons of Hardwood Floors

Let’s begin with a cult favorite – hardwood. Hardwood is a classic for a reason. It’s easy to clean, looks great, and it’s sturdy too. Hardwood floors are a great foundation that can add warmth to any home, but are they worth it?

Do hardwood floors increase home value?

If the home you’re remodeling isn’t your forever home, you might wonder if it’s worth it to add hardwood floors.

According to Forbes, the average cost for a 500-square-foot living area can be between $3000 – $10,500, while tile can range from $3,000-$5,500. The cost varies depending on the material, labor, and underlayment of the floor, but it’s clear that hardwood is a higher investment.

Does higher cost mean a significant return on investment (ROI)? In the case of hardwood floors, yes!

According to real estate experts, hardwood flooring ROI is about 70-80%, and new wood floors can boost selling prices up to 2.5%. In comparison, the ROI of tile can range from 55-70%.

Now, there must be a reason why most homeowners prefer hardwood floors over tile.

Let’s dig in.

Benefits of Hardwood Floors

2022 Cabinetry

1. Hardwood floors are a classic

There’s a reason classic wooden floors have such a high ROI compared to other flooring options. With the evolution of interior design trends, hardwood floors are a timeless base that can evolve and change with trends over the years.

Perhaps it’s the natural element of wood, but hardwood floors make a home feel extra warm and cozy while withstanding the test of time.

2. Softer on the feet

One of the most noticeable features of hardwood floors is that they are much softer on the feet than tile. While tile can feel cold and rigid, hardwood floors are gentler on the feet and joints. With fewer grout lines, your foot can comfortably glide across the floor.

3. Easy to maintain and clean

Hardwood floors are a fan favorite because they’re easy to clean and hassle-free.

With seamless connections between each wood pane, dirt and grime don’t have a place to settle or seep into, making cleaning a breeze.

A simple vacuum and sweep with occasional mopping are enough to keep your hardwood floors in excellent condition for years to come. To ensure the quality of the wood, it’s good practice to refinished it a few times throughout its lifespan.

4. Sturdy and long-lasting

Hardwood, with average wear and tear, can last up to 100 years with proper maintenance and care. Within this timeframe, rest assured your flooring will be in good standing when or if you decide to sell your home.

Downsides of Hardwood Flooring

1. Much more expensive

Good quality hardwood flooring can cost thousands more than tile. Hardwood comes from old trees that have been growing for centuries, and with high demand and low supply, it’s natural for hardwood to be expensive.

2. Hardwood floors can warp and expand

While hardwood can withstand the test of time and trends, it’s not as strong when exposed to water.

Hardwood may not be the right choice for your home if you live in a humid area, as excessive moisture can cause wood to warp, expand, or even mold. Since water is frequently present in the kitchen and bathrooms, we don’t recommend using hardwood there either.

Also, accidents happen when it comes to the fridge, laundry machines, or bathroom leaks which can rack up the cost of repairs for your hardwood floors alone.

3. Hardwood floors are more vulnerable to scratches and dents

Hardwood floors are sturdy, but they can’t handle everything. When it comes to the softness of hardwood floors, there’s a downside — it’s more susceptible to scratches and dents.

If you have a busy family with kids and pets, your hardwood floors are likely to scratch up and possibly hold dents.

If you have furniture sitting on your hardwood floors for a while, you may find indentations setting in overtime.

Tip: When choosing wood finishes, consider lighter colors since scratches and kinks are more obvious on dark wood.

4. Hardwood floors can be discolored by sun exposure

The sun is powerful and, with enough exposure over time, can also cause discoloration of your hardwood floors.

If you’re located somewhere sunny and your home gets a lot of light, your floors may not maintain their original color and lighten over time.

To combat or slow discoloration, window treatments or moving around furniture can help slow down the process.

5. Hardwood floors have fewer color options and variations

Compared to tile, hardwood floors have less variety in colors and designs.

Most hardwood floor colors range from light brown to dark brown.

If you’re looking to spice up your hardwood floor designs, you can look into the different ways to install them. From a traditional horizontal layout to diagonal installations, there are many creative ways to spice up your floors.

Pros and Cons of Tile Flooring

While hardwood floors are a classic, tile is not far behind in terms of style and durability. Depending on where you live, tile can be the preferred flooring material over hardwood. Besides location, there are many other reasons why tile is another excellent flooring option.

Benefits of Tile

1. Less expensive than hardwood floor

Made up of water, sand, and clay, tile is a much cheaper alternative than hardwood. It’s mass produced and easy to get. Hardwood on the other hand is in high demand and low supply so prices are higher than ever.

2. Tile is more sturdy and durable than hardwood

When it comes to toughness, tile is as sturdy and durable as it gets. Tile can withstand the most brutal impact and not crack when set correctly.

With tile, you don’t have to worry about scratches or indentations from long sitting furniture. It can also last for years with proper maintenance and care.

3. Tile is easy to clean and easy to replace

Tile floors are easy to clean due to their water-resistant nature. Spills of any kind will be a breeze to clean up. A simple sweep and occasional mopping can keep your tiles clean.

While mopping, you don’t have to worry about using too much water since tile can withstand moisture.

Cracked tile? Just change the missing pieces. Tiles are easy to replace and regrout. For tile, you only need to change the cracked pieces and it should look as good as new.

It’s so easy to change out one or two pieces of damaged tile, which is why many of our in-house experts recommend ordering a few extra tiles in case an accident happens. They also recommend storing the extra tiles in a safe place so you can access them years later.

4. Tile is less affected by weather and water

Unlike hardwood, tile doesn’t warp when met with excessive amounts of water. That’s why tile is commonly seen in kitchens and bathrooms.

When it comes to humidity, tile still wins and holds strong, which is why it’s commonly found in more humid locations and around pools.

If there’s a spill or water leak, you don’t have to worry about ruined tiles because they will be just as strong as they were before — no warping or expanding here.

5. Tile flooring offers more design options

When it comes to design options, tile takes the crown. The variety of tile designs is endless with manufactured designs, colors, and patterns.

  • Looking for natural color tiles to fit into your nature-inspired home? You got it.
  • Looking for a luxurious feel with minimalistic black and white tile? We have it.
  • Love fun patterns and bold colors? There’s a tile for that too.

You can make your space yours with various sizes, styles, colors, and patterns available. The options are truly endless.

Downsides of Tile Flooring

1. Lots of options

For some, having lots of tile options can be paralyzing, especially when you don’t know where to start looking or what kind of tile you want for your home.

Working with a tile expert will help you narrow down your choices to your perfect tile. You can read more about the tile selection process here.

2. Grout cleaning and maintenance

Many people don’t like dealing with grout lines because they can be a hassle to clean. Grout lines can catch dirt, debris, and even mold when not sealed properly.

A simple way to reduce the number of grout lines is to opt for larger tiles, making cleaning easier.

By regularly cleaning and sealing your tiles, your grout should stay clean and debris-free.

3. Tile is hard on your feet and makes the home feel cold

Many people opt out of tile because it doesn’t provide the same warmth hardwood does. The sturdiness of the tile doesn’t feel as soft or comfortable.

This one also has a quick fix that you can do for the hardwood floor too. Rugs are a simple way to add warmth to your home and cushion your feet.

While cold tile may be a dealbreaker for some, having tile flooring in hot and humid weather is a plus since it keeps your home feeling cool all year long.

The pros of tile don’t have to stop there.

An easy way to enjoy tile in the winter is to install heating floor mats under the tile. With quality thermostat controlled floor mats, like Strata Heat, you can enjoy warm floors and all the benefits of tile all winter long.

If hardwood is a must-have, the heating floor mats can also be installed underneath your hardwood floors.

Want to reap the benefits of tile, but love the classic look of hardwood?

Hardwood tile gives you the best of both worlds.

You can choose from a variety of warm wood colors while having sturdy, scratch-free, and water-resistant benefits of tile.

So, what’s next?

Now that you’re well informed of both hardwood and tile floor options, the next step is to decide what’s best for your home based on which factors matter the most to you and your lifestyle.

If unsure, we recommend visiting our showroom to see a variety of flooring options in person so you can interact with and feel them before committing.

At Twenty Five Company, our in-house experts are more than happy to help you better understand your options based on your needs and wants. We never tell you what to get, we just provide knowledge and advice to best guide you on your remodeling journey.

If you’re still on the fence between tile and hardwood, head to the Twenty Five Company showroom located in Marin County, CA for personalized tips and suggestions for your next floor remodel. Call 415.899.7475 today to get started.