In this article, Andrew Turvill takes a look at wood effect porcelain floors:

Real wood flooring has been used extensively in interior design, with engineered floors generally being more affordable than solid wood flooring as well as being easier to fit. They are also more suitable for use over underfloor heating and due to their better dimensional stability are less prone to moisture damage.

Being a natural material however one needs to treat any wooden floor with respect. Wooden floors are prone to scratches and marked by heavy furniture, stones stuck to the bottom of your shoe soles or high heel shoes. Accidental spills need to be mopped up promptly, if one is to avoid any water damage or staining, particularly from red wine.

Depending on the finish, they may need periodic applications of wax or oil to maintain their appearance and subject to the thickness of the wearing surface there is the potential to sand and refinish the boards.

To counter these issues, many manufacturers and designers have spent a long time perfecting wood-look tiles to offer a beautiful alternative so that all homeowners can enjoy the stunning appearance of wooden surfaces that can be installed in any room, including wet areas. There is now a huge range of wood effect porcelain tiles to choose from. Being generally water and stain resistant with a high resistance to abrasion, porcelain makes one of the most durable flooring materials, that will not fade or change colour when compared to wood exposed to direct sunlight.

Many of these high quality floor tiles replicate real wood with exceptional grain texturing and tone that they are almost impossible to tell apart from the real thing

We are particularly impressed with some of the Italian wood effect parquet floors such as that shown above.

Regrettably these could only ever be justified for one off bespoke projects due to the time they take to lay. There are 44 individual tiles in each square metre !!