Tiles vs Hardwood – What is The Difference Between Tile and Hardwood?

Tiles vs Hardwood

Many are still in the dark about the differences between tiles and hardwoods though both of these two are very popular materials primarily used for flooring. Tiles are curved blocks of fired clay, concrete, ceramic or stone. They are typically used for floors, walls and roofs. The distinguished trait of tiles lies in their ornamental value just as much as functionality. Hardwood which was originally used most for its structural value is now popularly used for modern home and office flooring. Hardwood installation is done perpendicular to wooden supporting beams and joists. With both tiles and hardwood gaining equal popularity the following comparison table on tile vs hardwood would come in handy to make an informed choice in any specific construction project.

Difference between Tiles and Hardwood


The following comparison table of tile vs hardwood outlines individual merits and differences.



  • Ceramic tiles contribute towards very sturdy floors
  • Hardwood floors can be either engineered planks or solid planks. Solid wood are used mainly if the sub-floor is of a wood type. Engineered hardwood is available in both narrow and wide planks and has an outlook of several planks joined together.
  • Installation is on a cement mixture spread on concrete slabs or on a double layer of exterior-grade extra thick plywood. The tiles have to be grouted for total sealing.
  • Solid hardwood floors are nailed down while engineered hardwood can be glued down, stapled to or floated over the sub-floor.


  • Ceramic tiles carry a glazed finish. When scratched these tiles start showing the underbody color. Tiles can be purchased in different geometric shapes, sizes, colors and designs
  • Hardwood can be obtained in narrow or wide planks featuring different grain patterns. They can be used both for decorative accents and fine furnishing in homes, offices and other structures.


  • Pricing of tiles can range anywhere between $1 per square foot to several hundred dollars depending on their quality, design and style.
  • The floating installation method used in engineering hardwood is less costly compared to solid hardwood installation as well as ceramic tile floor installation.


  • Durability of tiles can be greatly enhanced with proper installation, quality maintenance and depending on standard of the sub-floor. Using chair pads, regular removal of dirt and grit from tile surface helps prevent damage to the glazed finish.
  • Durability of hardwood also depends on the quality of sub-floor. There should be no dips and high areas.
  • Ceramic tiles are ideally suited for wet areas including kitchens, bathrooms and front foyers. In warmer climates tiles can be used throughout the entire building.
  • Solid hardwood is generally suited in areas where humidity is not dominatingly present.  However, since engineered hardwood is more stable dimensional-wise they can be used in different areas of the building and even on concrete slabs. Hardwood is not recommended for wet areas like bathrooms. If used in kitchens the floor should be ideally covered with rugs in areas with high likelihood of spilling which can damage the floor’s finish.  Hardwood floors also benefit from chair pads to prevent scratches.  In areas exposed to bright sunlight there may be slight changes in color after a period of time, particularly when used on patios.


The distinctive appearance of both tiles and hardwood and their respective merits in installation, maintenance and aesthetic qualities should be considered when making customized decisions for home or office building and renovation projects.

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