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melissa_jane28

Wood look tile looks wrong!!

Melissa Jane
2 years ago
last modified: 2 years ago

We’re building a home and chose wood look tile as our flooring. The entire downstairs looks like one giant repeating pattern, The grout lines are huge and it looks nothing like wood. We did upgrade our flooring and paid a lot of money for this. Does anyone else have wood look tile that looks like this??


Comments (80)

  • Melissa Jane

    I’d love to let this be a learning lesson but we told the builders interior designer we wanted wood look tile and paid 30,000.00 for this. We were told it’s the “wood look with the tile maintenance”. We did not get a wood look. For 30,000.00 I’m not dying my own grout.

  • everdebz

    If this helps: driftwood [if it resembles it] is still wood....

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  • Bri Bosh
    Melissa, did you see Sophie’s comment regarding the color? Did you think you were getting the tile on the brochure photo?

    Unfortunately it’s always best to do a little research beyond what the builder tells you. Research in this forum even would have enlightened you that wood look tile does not really look like wood...
  • deegw

    Yes, and unfortunately there is a fine line between accepting the professional's word as gospel and over analyzing and interfering with the process. I sympathize because I have been in your shoes and have learned expensive lessons.

  • Melissa Jane

    We chose to build in a neighborhood that lessened the choices on us vs building custom. Had I known I needed to specify grout lines or lay patterns, we’d have not built with them. We trusted their name their expertise to achieve the look we we going for. And I feel deceived. And not one google image pops up with the lay pattern I have. None.

  • Melissa Jane

    Can any pros show wood look tile they’ve laid that looks like this?

  • suser123

    Am curious too if you were expecting the tile in the screenshot. What color did you order? We did saddlebrook farmhouse color. Asked for random our pattern is similar to yours.


  • Mrs. Beasley
    Gpeach, your pattern is not the same as Melissa’s. Yours is the same repeat and distance 4 in a row, then the 5th, it changes for variety. Hers is the same repeat over and over and over and never stops. There is no variation.
  • jellytoast

    I don't see a repeating pattern here and the setter used 1/16 inch grout joints (the picture is from THIS thread:


  • kudzu9

    Melissa-

    On a totally unrelated issue, there may be a problem with the weatherstripping on the door in your first photo. It looks like you can see light near the bottom of the door. If so, have the contractor fix it. If you can see light, it's not sealed properly.

  • Melissa Jane

    They installed the wrong doors and are going to change them. But thank you!

  • Melissa Jane

    Gpeach1, we selected the gravel road color at the builders design center. I was not informed I needed to tell them what pattern to lay it, I was relying on them to know how to lay wood look tile as they are in the field and I am a stay at home mom. I had didn’t suspect they were misinformed about how to lay it as they do this everyday.

  • Mrs. Beasley
    Melissa, we are having a 100k addition put onto our existing home. Our contractor is excellent and he has recommended the subs for tile install, etc. The very 1st thing our tile installer asked us was, “What pattern are you hoping for me to lay the tile?” Then we discussed it. I do not blame you at all, and this is not your fault.
    Melissa Jane thanked Mrs. Beasley
  • roarah

    What jelly toast shows could have very well cost thousands more in labor than your floor for it requires more material, a lippage system, and time to get it to not be a tripping hazard.

    Your tiler laid it according to spec for he knew to do otherwise is even more of an up charge due to lippage problems with LFT. My herringbone pattern in a 104 sq ft floor before the lippage system was even purchased was an extra grand in labor. Do a google search of what more often happens with people's LFT wood when not laid according to grout and pattern spec and you will think your floor looks great like I do.

    I specifically asked for a herringbone pattern my tiler told me the upgrade labor charge than asked specifically do you want a very thin grout line I said yes. He should have warned me about the issues that always seem to arrive with out a lippage system for I would have spent extra for the system then.

    This was the first product, the quarters represent the uneven lippage areas.

    It was repaired mostly at no cost to me, other than the price of the lippage system, and time but I felt bad because had I done my due diligence and my tiler had told me why this pattern was not a good idea this waste could have been avoided.

    It was fixed to look like a nice job but not worth the hassle it would have been a nice job laid by spec the first time around.

  • tatts

    Jellytoast: Some tiles (rectified tiles) are more uniform than others and can be laid in a more random pattern. The 1/3 overlap is designed to minimize lippage in tiles that may have a slight bow in them (and that's common in long, thin tiles like yours). The wider grout line also allows for smoothing out the effect of any lippage between adjacent tiles.

    One additional reason that your joints are more obvious is the recessed grout line allowing a shadow to be cast by the tiles because of the window/door.

  • Jolene
    It is pretty but the tiles are not laid in a random pattern so I think your eyes are drawn to the pattern that repeats and staggers.
  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    You can get happy just as quick as you can get sad in those same britches, was one of my granny’s sayings. It applies here.

    The job is done correctly, to industry standards.

    If you want anything else done, you are going to need to pay for it.

    It’s better to choose to be happy, as your attitude is the only thing you are going to change here at no cost. An inexpensive 100K addition ain’t all that, and it looks fine. Pull your lip in and move on. Next time, hire a designer to do more detailed specifications, and plan to spend more to get the expensive designer look that costs double.

    You have been offered an easy and acceptable choice to fix your issue of you choosing a poor grout color. You don’t want to put any personal effort or additional money into the floor. Which is fine. But then you don’t get to gripe about it if you won’t do anything about it. You are not entitled to an upper end designer look without the budget to get it.

  • Melissa Jane

    We did not have the option to hire an outside designer, we had to go to their design center and use their designer. We hired an interior designer for furniture but she got no say in what the builders options were us to choose from.

  • roarah

    This is more likely the results one finds with a staggered random pattern paying only 30k and are not like the picture jellytoast posted at all because those tiles and labor cost substantially more than yours.

    this is what your budget would look like random.

    They look like real wood popping up after a flood! Yours is so much better than that look. Hope these true pictures of 30k worth of whole first floor wood tile installations help you like your install better now. Jellytoast's picture is a different budget result.

  • suzyq53

    Yes I think you will get used to it over time. Its always a shock to see a vast expanse if anything different. Once your furniture and rugs are in place it will all tone down.

  • Melissa Jane

    Roarah, I don’t have any budget restrictions and would have happily paid more for the tile to look like wood.

  • Melissa Jane

    They didn’t give me what I was promised ‍♀️ Why should I pay? If they said from the beginning “it’s gonna look like this” I’d have chosen something different. We should have been consulted regarding the layout. I didnt suspect they didn’t know how to make it look like wood. I will certainly make different decisions in the future, thanks for all the advice.

  • wantsideas

    On my monitor your floor looks grey which doesn't convey wood look. If the color is the one you picked and it was installed according to the manufactures specs I'm not sure what your recourse is.

  • Mrs. Beasley

    @Roarah. They are not my floors, and I am not complaining about my floors. They are Melissa's floors. Please read through Melissa's post from the beginning, and you will see why I posted what I did. My point was that I had a 100K addition put on, and my tile installer asked how I wanted tiles installed pattern-wise. We discussed the pros and cons of each pattern, which is my point. Melissa may have been happier if she had a convo with her installer prior to installation, that is all.

  • suzyq53

    Sorry but no one can make tile look like real wood. They can't even make fake countertops look like marble. Maybe if you stop thinking of the floors as wood and instead think of them as gray tile you'll be happier.

  • kudzu9

    Melissa-

    Though I am not a fan of wood-look tile, I think if you are going to install such a product it is better to go with something like yours where it is clearly tile, rather than an almost-wood look that fails. I like the color of your tile and think when you finish your interior decor and have rugs and furniture to break it up, it will look classy. You have to remember that any large expanse of floor, regardless of what the finish surface is, can look overwhelming at this stage.

    I understand that you are feeling somewhat regretful at the moment that it turned out differently than you were expecting, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear after you have lived with it for a while that your concerns have dissipated and you actually have grown to like it. I certainly wouldn't be tearing it out if it were my house.

  • jellytoast

    tatts, did you look at the thread I linked to and the specific post I referred to?

    roarah, the tiles in the picture that I posted came from Lowe's.

  • roarah

    Sorry Mrs. B I confused you with Gpeach who posted her floors to show a similar pattern to Melissa's.

  • roarah

    Jellytoast,rectified tiles are also sold thru lowes and the tiles are only half the cost or less. Install plus leveling systems for entire whole first floor would cost a lot more than 30 k labor up charge is what I am trying to pointing out. Too many unknowns if it is not you own experience one is sharing. It does not help resolve this poster's remorse or future posters disappointed expectations.

  • Liz Lemon
    Melissa, are you in Canada? We’ve purchased a new build here and I know that Tarion is the go to when it comes to legal issues and compensation/ warranties for new builds in Ontario. Do you have something similar where you are? I know someone who upgraded their tile to a polished 12x24, the matte was installed and the builder had to tear it up and redo because it was their mistake. Can you prove that the builder did not fufill specific requests? Did you discuss how it would be laid or did they show you an example pic? I would fight as hard as you can for a change if you feel strongly that you were mislead. I know how it is paying an arm and a leg for upgrades( we almost did the wood like tile ourselves but the cost and the cold Canadian winter deterred us so we did a major wood upgrade throughout). I wish you luck because I know many builders need to be hounded to make things right. Ignore everyone, it’s all a cranky shtick, a few posters are basically parodies of themselves at this point. All the best.
  • curlycook
    I think it looks fine. When you add your furnishings, it won’t be the only thing you’re focusing on and you’ll love the durability and upkeep!
  • Liana
    I'm not a huge fan of the wood looking tile, but I think it looks good! Granted I can't see the entire area, I like it. I'm building a new home too and know how ridiculously stressful all these decisions are. You're not married to it. My advice is to live in the space and over the course of a couple years decide what/where you want to change it to something else. Good luck!
  • PRO
    Kristin Petro Interiors, Inc.

    Unfortunately, while it would have been awesome for them to do so, it was not your builder's responsibility to educate you on the number of ways the flooring could have been installed. I know you showed them a photo, but they may not have understood specifically what you were referring to in the photo. Just telling them you wanted it to look like a wood floor may not have been enough information for them to understand what specifically made your photo look like a wood floor. The brochure photo is a different color and taken from more of a distance, so perhaps your requirements were not clear to them. I think this was just a misunderstanding between you and the builder, and not negligence.

    I know it's frustrating. We deal with this all of the time with our clients. It's amazing how many questions we often have to ask to truly understand each other. For the record, it looks like a fine install to me, and I may have recommended a slightly lighter grout, but I wouldn't know unless I saw it in person.

  • PRO
    The Cook's Kitchen

    Grout is an important design detail to create different looks. Right now, the dark grout creates a noticeable outline, which is what is bothering you. Having the grout blend with the lighter main background color of the tile will make it look like a whole piece rather than the individual pieces look that the dark grout creates.

  • jmm1837

    I think the bottom line here is that the builder and his tiler appear to have installed the correct tile, as selected by the OP, and have installed it to industry standards. The result was not what the OP expected or wanted, but that's not really the builder's fault. I certainly don't see it as cause for a lawsuit.

    Let's face it, wood-look tile is still tile, after all, not wood, and while it can mimic wood to a greater or lesser extent, it's never going to be indistinguishable from the real deal. The grey color doesn't help, either.

    So what's the solution? Ripping out the floor and replacing it at the
    OPs expense is probably not on the table. Hiring someone to stain
    the grout if the OP isn't wanting to DIY it might be a (comparatively)
    inexpensive "fix." Alternatively, accept the reality that, while the floor may not look like real wood, it doesn't mean it can't be a great looking floor, especially with some good area rugs on it to give it a bit of warmth.

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    Using one single length, you do not get away from repeating patterns. You physically can’t. This looks more random than it is because of the more varied colors in the tile. The OP’s tile has varied color within the same tile, which is not at all the same look.

  • PRO
    Kristin Petro Interiors, Inc.

    Also, tile cannot/should not be cut to random lengths like an actual wood floor. There would be a ton of waste and you would notice the cut edges. And it requires grout joints that a wood floor doesn't. Add to this, you should ALWAYS take what you see in a photo with a grain of salt, as retouching could've softened up the details that would have clearly shown it to be a tile floor, not a wood floor.

  • suzyq53

    Maybe someone already asked but how many square feet do you get for $30,000? Was that the up charge or does it include the flooring allowance?

  • Holly Stockley

    Sadly, this is more of a communication issue than a product or install issue. The OP had certain expectations. She is upset because those expectations were not met.

    However, was it the responsibility of the builder to inquire about the details of her expectations?

    Or was it her responsibility to educate herself as to the possibilities and limitations inherent to her design choices?

    The problem with not going fully custom so that you don't have to make all those choices - is that you don't get to make all those choices. So, you got to pick wood-look tile, but you didn't get to pick how it was installed. It's entirely possible that narrow grout lines and a random pattern were not options with the installer that was available for your project. Worse, your color choices have exacerbated those things you dislike about it.

    The trouble is "tile that looks like wood" is a subjective analysis. For some people, this is perfectly acceptable and looks enough like wood for them. Your builder may be one of these folks.

    Because the tile was selected by the OP and is laid in an acceptable manner, I don't think you're going to get any joy out of trying to get it changed at the expense of the builder or installer. Your options have been delineated above (Sophie is a bit acidic, but correct): Pay to change it, color the grout so it's less apparent, or learn to live with it.

    And, going forward, as more questions about the ins and outs of your design choices. Yes, it's a lot of work. But delegating that work gets you someone else;s choices, as you have found.

  • jellytoast

    I don't disagree, Sophie, but that floor is not an even repeating pattern, over and over and over. To clarify ... my posting that picture was not intended to challenge what everyone else had said about the OP's floor being installed to manufacture's recommendations ... ie. big grout joints and a 1/3 offset. I'm not disputing that. I posted it to show that floors can be installed, and look good, when they are installed using other than what is recommended by the manufacturer.

    I've been in the construction business for many years and in recent years have seen countless wood-look installations done in a random-look pattern (yes, there will be some stairsteps in there, too, but not one endless stair to eternity!) with 1/16 inch grout joints. I've seen very few installed in a repeating pattern. So the OP isn't nuts for thinking her floor would be installed that way. Wood-look floors ARE being installed that way, all the time, by legitimate tile contractors.

    It's very unfortunate that the OP didn't get what she thought she was going to get. IMO, her unhappiness has much to do with the the contractor and tile installer not setting her expectations correctly. A simple conversation and written specifications in the contract could have accomplished that easily. Her tile choice and her budget could have been adjusted to accommodate (or not) her desired outcome. Contractors are in the business and they deal with these materials every day. They really need to use their knowledge and experience to inform their customers.

  • jellytoast

    mdln, those tile end joints are not all equal lengths apart and don't create a
    perfect, even stairstep like the OP's tile does. I think she might have
    been happier with a little variation.

  • roarah

    We are only hearing one side of this story. For all we know , by the info provided in this thread, her contract may spell all those specifications out. She has bemoaned the 3Ok price more than once in this post alone so the installers may have wrongly assumed she would not pay for an upgrade. A conversation takes two to work. She could have asked more questions and amended her contract to specify more clearly her expectations as easily as her contractor could have made his install results more clear.

  • jellytoast

    Since when do we hear both sides of the story? If we have to wait for that before commenting, this forum would be dead.

  • mick50

    Melissa, I'm sorry you're unhappy with the installation of your floor. I understand what you're saying...that you'd think for that amount they'd know what they're doing. I disagree with sophie that to get the preferred installation, you need a designer. Why wouldn't the tiler just know? It's unfortunate that it wasn't caught early, but like everyone has said, it meets the basic installation standard. So, you have 3 courses: 1. Get really firm and gritchy with the builder and pitch the case that it was installed incorrectly (evenly) for wood tile. Maybe he'll at least agree to restrain the grout (his cheapest option for a fix). 2. Pay for it to be completely redone. Not a feasible option in my book. Or 3. Furnish the room and live with it as is. I know it's all you see (the pattern) but honestly others won't notice unless you point it out. I think it's a gorgeous color personally. With furnishings, it will be a beautiful neutral. Take heart and remember, even with the pattern of installation and wide grout, your floor and room are very, very nice. Most people would give anything for that problem!! Post pics when you get it furnished. :)

  • PRO
    Mint Tile LLC

    We are only hearing one side of this story

    This is the case with all threads here on houzz. Dare i say especially the debacles.

  • sonni1

    For the look of wood with the benefits of tile. I'd do it. Confession: I've got slate look tile in my bathroom!!!!

  • suzyq53

    Give it a chance. Very sorry you didn't get what you were expecting, but here are some nice looking spaces with tile. They even ran it up the wall. But even though it is "wood look", hand scraped, random placed, with matching grout, it is patently obvious that it is not wood. Never the less, its a gorgeous, easy to live with surface. Hoping these pictures help you feel better about it.

    Pender Island Retreat · More Info


    Pender Island Retreat · More Info


    Pender Island Retreat · More Info


    Pender Island Retreat · More Info

  • dogsog11

    I’m sorry you are disappointed. Personally, I think it looks really nice and that repeating pattern that you see will “go away” one you put in rugs and furniture, and lighting, and other materials such as kutchen backsplash, details around fireplace, etc. I suggest you have a designer help you with all of that and your place will be amazing!!

  • PRO
    B&C Seamless

    Your picture looks like wood.

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