Flooring selection is one of the most important elements of the design process. The flooring material not only adds to the overall look and ambiance, but also has a bearing on the function of the space.

Whether you are designing a house, apartment, townhouse, hotel suite or office, it is important to invest in floors that can add value while presenting your space in the best way possible. Tiles and timber are the two most commonly used types of flooring, each with their unique aesthetic appeal and functional benefits.

However, when it comes to choosing between the two, it’s important to compare their unique strengths and disadvantages. For instance, tiled flooring is easy to maintain but tends to get damaged more quickly, whereas timber is tough, resilient and long-lasting. In terms of environmental benefits, timber is a renewable material, making it a more sustainable choice than tiles.

The following comparison will help you decide on the flooring for your next project.

Tile floors

The tiles market is humongous with an amazing variety of choices in terms of colours, patterns and textures. Tiles are relatively low maintenance and long-lasting, and have the ability to deliver a contemporary and clean look to any room. Although tiles are easy to maintain overall, they often require intensive cleaning – more than other types of flooring.

Tiles have grout, which can accumulate dirt and stains over time, requiring special cleaning products to remove the collected grime. Dirty grout is unsightly and will affect the overall look of your space.

Tiles are also slippery, creating safety issues and can crack, discolour or chip over time, especially in high traffic areas. Unfortunately, tiles are harder to repair than other types of flooring. Due to limited stock, it can be difficult to find the same tiles if a replacement is necessary. If one tile is damaged, often all tiles need to be replaced, so it is advisable to order extra tiles and store them, which can significantly increase the final cost. These repair constraints make it unwise to install tiles in apartment buildings that are likely to be used as investments.

Tiles are also hard and cold underfoot, which can be unpleasant in winter – unlike a natural product such as timber, which is warm in winter and cool in summer. Tiles being a harder flooring material, dropped items are more likely to break or shatter than on other types of flooring.

Timber floors

Timber is forever on-trend, with this classic flooring choice providing an option that will never go out of style. With so many colour options and styles to choose from, timber offers a versatile material for any project. Timber is a very durable material, which is ideal for flooring as it is quite low maintenance. Timber flooring only requires a brief vacuum, sweep or light mop, whereas tiles show the dirt much more easily and need to be cleaned far more frequently.

Scratches on timber floors caused by everyday knocks tend to blend seamlessly with the natural appearance and texture of the material, unlike tiles, where scratches can look ugly and chips will require replacement.

“Timber is so easy to maintain and looks clean with little effort. As one architectural client said about the floors in their office, ‘we do absolutely nothing, we’re rough with the floors, we don’t maintain them but they continue to look good’”, says Tilly Cefai, Style Timber Floor.

Timber is also a renewable material, making it an environment-friendly choice for your project. To add to your project’s green credentials, consider the new range of Cadorin flooring from Style Timber. Made in Italy, Cadorin timber flooring is produced without formaldehyde, making it an incredibly eco-sensitive choice, especially in projects where the environment and carbon footprint are key considerations.

Timber floors come in a broad range of colours and textures that exude a sense of warmth.

“I love the textural element of timber. It adds another layer to the design, and complements and enhances it,” adds Cefai.

When designing your next space, consider embracing a darker toned timber as this colour palette can suit a range of designs, including the ever popular Scandinavian decor.