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Hardwood Flooring Versus Ceramic Tile Flooring Comparison

The following chart provides a comparison between hardwood and ceramic tile flooring materials.



Ceramic Tile


Elegant - Class

No two floors are ever identical due to variance in wood grains

Numerous installation patterns and designs can be created

Additional information on hardwood flooring patterns and designs.

Numerous board widths

Domestic & exotic woods

Array of stain colors, gloss factors, edge details

Ornamental insets available

Glazed and non-glazed

Thousands of surface colors, designs and patterns

Numerous installation patterns and designs can be created

Additional information on ceramic tile flooring patterns and designs.

Variety of shapes and sizes

Typical Warranties


Structural Integrity - Lifetime

Finish - 3 to 25 years


Varies dramatically

Better quality ceramic tiles will have warranties for surface fading and stains of 10 to 25 years.

Lower quality tiles will not carry any warranties.

No warranties available for cracking on any ceramic tile.

Note: Warranties vary dramatically between on and off-shore manufacturers.

Life Expectancy

Pending no damage from external sources, the hardwood itself will last for hundred's of years.

Reasonable quality tiles should last at least 50 years.

Child Friendly

Can be scratched

Liquid spills can damage surface and cause boards to warp and rot

Very hard surface that can bruise knees and elbows.

Pet Friendly

Can be scratched

Pet urine can damage surface and cause boards to warp and rot

Very pet friendly

Care & Maintenance

Vacuum & mop using non-wax cleaners

Recoat with polyurethane as needed

Can be refinished - refinishing required every 15 to 25 years

Sweep & mop using manufacturer's recommended cleaners


Nails, staples or glue

3/4″ or 5/8″ thick: Nail to wood

5/16″ thick: Staple or glue to wood, concrete or existing floor with the exception of carpet

Adhesive, thinset mortar and grout

Thinset mortar or adhesive is spread using a notched trowel

Grout is applied to fill in gaps between tiles.

Sub-floor must be sound and stable

Grade Levels

Below grade only in very dry regions

On grade

Above grade

Below grade

On grade

Above grade

Room Installation

All rooms with following exceptions:

Full & half bathrooms - not recommended - hardwood is very sensitive to humidity fluctuations and water

Below grade basements - not recommended - hardwood may buckle or warp with fluctuations in moisture level

Note: As hardwood scratches consideration should be given to installations in foyers as dirt brought into the home can scratch the surface.

All rooms no exceptions


Material cost $3/sq. ft. to $30/sq. ft. - very dependent on quality and dimensions of hardwood boards, finish and species.

Installation cost (contractor):

Prefinished - $2/sq. ft. to $6/sq. ft.

Unfinished hardwood, finished on site - $6/sq. ft. to $10/sq. ft.

Note: Sq. ft. installation prices do not include the material or installation costs of underlayment, or repairs to sub-floors.

Note: Installing hardwood flooring on steps is not included in the pricing.

Additional information on budgeting for hardwood flooring

Material cost $0.75/sq. ft. to $20/sq. ft. - dependent on quality

Installation cost (contractor):

$2/sq. ft. to $6/sq. ft.

Note: Installing ceramic tile flooring on steps is not included in the pricing.

DIY Complexity - Scale 1 to 5 with 1 being the easiest.

3/4″ or 5/8″ thick, with nails - 4

5/16″ thick, with glue or staples - 3

Simple patterns - 3

More complex patterns - 4 to 5

Additional information on flooring materials

Other Flooring Comparison Charts

    Hardwood /

      Engineered Hardwood


      Vinyl Sheet

    Vinyl Sheet /



      Vinyl Tile

    Laminate /

      Engineered Hardwood