Saltillo floor tile (click to enlarge)

Saltillo floor tile (click to enlarge)


Yellow saltillo tile

Yellow saltillo tile


Fancy saltillo tile

Fancy saltillo tile


Saltillo tile with talaver insets

Saltillo tile with talaver insets


“Saltillo tile is a type of terra-cotta tile that originates in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico. Saltillo-type tiles are now manufactured at many places in Mexico, and high-fire “Saltillo look” tiles, many from Italy, compete with the terra-cotta originals.

Saltillo tile vary in colour and shape, but the majority range from in varying hues of reds, oranges and yellows. Saltillo tile is highly porous, and soaks in liquid easily. Unlike most ceramic tile, there is no glaze on the top surface of the tile. It is difficult to install as it absorbs water from the thin-set mortar, grout, grease pencils, etc. Once placed, it stains and scuffs easily if not properly sealed and maintained with a quality sealant. Saltillo is probably a poor choice for outdoor installation in freeze-thaw climates, although is a popular choice in warmer climates. During installation the tiles should be handled carefully to avoid stains that can even occur from body oils on the installer’s hands.

Another method involves soaking the tile, setting the tile then allowing it to dry, sealing the tile, then grouting. This method prevents the grout from sticking to the tile. A penetrating sealant will maintain the natural look of the tile. You should periodically test the seal by putting a few drops of water on the tile in various places. If the water is absorbed, then another coat of sealant should be applied.”

Source: Wiki
Image source: Ken’s Custom Tile
Image source: Fort Worth Brick and Tile
Image source: Mexican Saltillo Tile
Image source: CMC Design Studio


Comments

Saltillo Tile — 7 Comments

  1. I am trying do do the same. I have what I believe are faux Saltillo tiles because the finish is coming off and underneath is just plain red. I think mine are terracotta that they faux finished. I can strip and stain and put a clear finish on if I want, but I can’t find a good yellow stain to use. I have a few extras that were not used. They have the yellow and red color but are dry. If is sand a tiny area I can see that the color is only on the surface. I believe real Satillo would have the color variations all the way through. You can fake them if you have terracotta and color them just right then finish them with a lacquer finish. I just can’t find a good yellow.

  2. Breathtakenly beautiful pictures on Saltillo Tiles!

    Some time ago I came accross a webpage with info on how to make similar tiles (faked Saltillo tiles). Its from Fernco Metal Products, USA. They also make small Hydraulic CEB machines and a Cinva Ram.
    For their tiles section here is the weblink:
    http://www.ferncometal.com/products.htm
    You need to scroll down to see the “Saltillo Fake-O” information.
    It may be interesting to look into this as a DIY tile project!

    • From the Products page, click on Bricks and Tiles. Here’s the text:
      The Saltillo Fake-O Tile Kit
      “We call them “Saltillo Fake-O” — they look a lot like Mexican-made Saltillo tiles, but unlike real Saltillo tiles, these tiles are tough as nails and will last a lifetime with minimal care. Real Saltillos are earthen — sometimes fired, but usually sun-baked — and tend to be quite fragile, not to mention highly irregular in size and thickness. With our Saltillo Fake-O kit, you can make your own tiles that are consistent in size and thickness, comparable in price to Saltillos, and amazingly durable. Use them indoors or out and install them as you would any other kind of tile. The Saltillo Fake-O Tile Kit comes with a four-gang mold (i.e., you can make four tiles at a time) and complete instructions for making your own 10″ x 10″ tiles. Use one kit for small projects and two or even three kits for large projects. Need larger or smaller tiles? Just let us know what size you need and we’ll make a custom mould for you.”

      This looks real interesting. I suggest trying to make a custom mold that creates rounded, irregular edges and a texture on top to mimic actual saltillo tiles. Perfectly square tiles won’t look right at all. Also, I don’t see any information on how to get the right color.

  3. For those who don’t know, saltillo tile is one of the most popular types of floor tile in the southwest US. People really like the warm, natural blend of colors. Every tile is a little different and so it looks much more natural than standard tile.

    I think the Wiki coverage is a bit harsh or overly cautious. Satillo tile is used in countless restaurants and other retail establishments and obviously it must hold up quite well. Yes, you need to seal the tile, but don’t let that be an overriding concern that puts you off.

    The top photo shows my favorite color of saltillo tile. Notice how it looks perfect with wood trim.

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