and misinformation abound about these centuries old terra-cotta pavers
made only in Northern Mexico. Many people mistakenly believe that these
natural clay tiles are merely "sun dried", although sun drying
is indeed one step in its production, Saltillo tiles are kiln fired.
The way in which these handmade tiles are stacked and positioned in
the kiln produce their natural soft shading and range of color from
amber to terra-cotta.
These versatile tiles definitely have a look all their own, and as we become increasingly automated and industrialized, demand and appreciation continues to increase for the beauty and uniqueness of these hand-made tiles.
My slab foundation is not recessed. Can I use Saltillo Tile?
Yes, it can be set directly to your slab or it can be set in a mortar bed. When height and clearances are critical, consider thin setting 8" x 8" which raises your floor approximately 3/4" overall, versus 12"x 12" which needs approximately 1".
Why are some tiles reddish in color and others yellowish and yet others striped?
It has to do with their placement in the kiln. The closer to the flame, the more yellow in color. While those that are in the upper section of the kiln fire red. The stripping is caused by the overlapping of tiles when they are stacked in the kiln.
What is the difference between regular Saltillo and Super Saltillo?
Regular Saltillo has square edges and corners and is the best selection for the person who likes the more rustic look of handmade clay tiles. It has lots of character or as we say, it is "perfectly imperfect". Super Saltillo on the other hand has a smoother surface rounded corners and edges, yet retains all the beauty and soft shading of the natural clay colors. They are molded differently but fired in the same kiln and are made of the same clay.
What are the advantages of buying Saltillo tile pre sealed?
Consistent quality, thoroughly tested finishes to give you maximum performance, and you can move onto the floor the next day, are some of the advantages.
Can I use Saltillo Tile outside?
It can be used outside in temperate climates, since they are not frost resistant. There are special sealers available for outside use or it can be ordered from the factory with an exterior grade sealer and finish ready for use.The sealing of Saltillo tile is optional and is done only to protect the tile from stains.
Isn't the finishing and upkeep of Saltillo tile floors a lot of trouble? My neighbor had to strip and reseal her Saltillo floor in the house she just bought? Can this be avoided?
The old method of maintaining natural terra-cotta floors was to oil
and wax them. Today, however with durable sealers and finishes
that are safe and easy to use, the elegance
of a handmade tile floor can be yours. Proper maintenance of Saltillo
does not require stripping. Like in anything else "An
ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".
How do I maintain my new Saltillo tile floor?
Wipe up spills immediately and keep it free of surface dirt. Dust or damp mopping is best (never flood the floor with water). Use only mild cleaners if necessary. Individual conditions determine when to reapply a top finish. When you see areas starting to show wear it is time to apply a top finish. Use am appropriate sealer for terra-cotta tile, and follow the manufacturer's directions. Apply to a small test area first to insure satisfactory results.
Never soak or acid wash Saltillo tile. Grout doesn't leave a film on the surface of the tile during installation. Cover the completed tile job with Kraft paper or corrugated paper during construction for protection. The installed tile must be 100% dry before it can be sealed.