decor, Walls and Floors

Q&A: Tile Africa

Tile Africa
HL chatted to Tile Africa’s retail and display coordinator, Liza Watermeyer, to provide some background on wood-look ceramic and porcelain planks tiles. She also shares some tips on using these tiles as flooring. What are wood-look tiles? Wood-look ceramic and porcelain planks combine the natural beauty of wood with the durability and practicality of tiles. Medium and lighter shades are currently trending, as well as patterned tiles. The inspiration for many of these wood-look patterned tiles comes from the original inlaid tiles as seen in many Moorish designs. Ink-jet printing technology allows for very high definition printing on uneven surfaces. This has led to the development of tiles that look exactly like wood and natural stone. Inkjet printers give realistic and detailed patterned finishes, allowing every tile to be different. Are they a popular choice amongst home owners? Wood-look tiles are popular because of their natural look. They work well with most design concepts as they provide a natural base colour from which to work. There is an increased demand for butt jointed and virtually seamless flooring. This is specifically the case with tiles that are pretending to be something else, like wood lookalikes. It ruins the effect if there are wide grout joints. In which areas of the home would you recommend fitting them? Wood-look tiles complement open-plan living areas beautifully and work just as well in the kitchen, bathroom and on the patio. They are ideal to use in the bathroom and outdoors as they offer a complete water resistant finish. Do you have any recommendations when choosing a tile for a specific space? Select a tile with a slight grain to give slip-resistance in wet areas. Wood-look tiles (with a textured finish that looks like decking) are perfect for the patio, as they have the aesthetic appeal of wood without the maintenance, such as the sanding and sealing associated with real wood decking. You can choose the same shade for inside and outside or you can use a lighter hue inside and a darker shade and textured finish outside, which will be more forgiving with dirt. Liza also suggests buyers consider the following before deciding on the right type and shade of tile for your space: 
  • What will the area be used for and who will use the space?
  • A smooth surface finish will be easier to clean.
  • Consider a matte glaze with good texture for a more slip-resistant installation.
  • Lighter neutrals will enhance the space in a small area, while mid to darker shades will create dramatic effect.
  • Ceramic wood-look tiles are suitable for walls and floor indoors, while a porcelain tile would be better suited for an outside area that experiences dramatic drops in temperature.
What are the costs involved? Wood-look tiles are available from R119 per square metre. For more information, contact Tile Africa on 0800-002-783 or visit