The name of Saltillo in Saltillo tiles is derived from the city of Saltillo, Coahuila in Mexico. Saltillo is renown for its abundant natural resource of clay. This clay is particularly suitable to make Saltillo tile and is only found only in this region of Mexico.
The Saltillo clay has been used for centuries to make Saltillo tiles, it is greatly appreciated by those who like the ambience of warm of Mexican hacienda style, Mediterranean style, or California style homes.
The process of creating Saltillo tiles is similar to the old-world tradition of making tiles by hand; which is preserved and continues to this day in Saltillo.
The unique clay and the process gives Saltillo tile a unique, random, natural look which is what makes Saltillo tiles so popular.
Raw Saltillo tiles can appear rather plain, but after installation, grouting, and sealing they are very attractive, easy to maintain and will virtually last forever.
All Saltillo tiles must be sealed in order to preserve their beauty. We recommend to use a high quality penetrating sealer such as 511 Impregnator or 511 Porous Plus from Miracle Sealants Company.
511 Porous Plus is a penetrating sealer designed for the protection of the most porous surfaces. 511 Porous Plus forms an invisible barrier that is resistant to moisture and stains while allowing vapor to escape. 511 Porous Plus is not a surface coating and will not alter the natural look. All surfaces are harder and less slippery. Therefo511 Porous Plus is highly recommended for all our Mexican terra-cotta floor tiles.
The clay is extracted from mines that are nearby the hills of Saltillo, Coahuila. Once the clay has been extracted and consolidated in wells it is soaked in water.
The clay is left soaking in water overnight before it is ready to be transformed into beautiful rustic handcrafted Saltillo floor tiles.
A cart wheel is used to bring the Saltillo clay to a working area where it will be transformed into a Saltillo tile bisque.
Artisans bring some of the clay from clay pool. And make each tile by hand. The artisan makes tiles in sucession and fills rows and rows of handcrafted Saltillo floor tiles.
To make Saltillo floor tiles the clay is placed in individual wooden molds.
|And an artisan spreads the Saltillo clay with his hands.|
The creation of each Mexican handcrafted floor paver involves a laborious process.The artisan makes sure the mold is well covered with an even thickness of clay.
The artisan smooths the surface of the handcrafted Saltillo floor terra cotta tile with a piece of wood.
Artisans smooth the surface of each handcrafted Saltillo floor tile some more.
Rows of Saltillo tile pavers dry up under the sun before they are fired in a kiln.
Mexican handcrafted floor pavers are piled after they are fired, before they are packed to be shipped. Look for the ocassional bird or coyote footprints marks on handcrafted floor tiles. The variations in shades and colors are unique charateristics of handmade tiles. Handcrafted floor tiles bring warmth and interest to any environment.
How to Order Tile Samples
|You may order samples online or by phone. Sample must be purchased and shipping charges apply. When ordering samples please keep in mind there is no guarantee tile samples will match future orders due to the handmade process.|
|Body||Unsealed natural clay, irregular and concave (not perfectly flat).|
|Tile Thickness||1/2 in. thick. Larger and smaller tiles may vary in thickness accordingly.|
|Characteristics||Unique, irregular, functional, and expressive. Saltillo tiles have chipped edges, craters, perhaps animal tracks, and vary in texture. The craters or lime pops are caused by alkaline deposits. A high percentage of the batches of Saltillo tiles are subject to "lime pops". Lime pops are where you see a small crater in the tile surface with a white spot at the bottom. Lime pops, usually are inhibited, and may be completely stopped, by sealing the tile with a penetrating sealer. These sealer penetrates into the lime pocket, demystifying it, keeping water out of it, therefore preventing the lime pop.|
|Applications||Suitable for all interiors of residential and commercial floor and wall applications. If used in moist areas, apply a penetrating sealer which forms an invisible barrier that is resistant to moisture and stains while allowing vapor to escape. Outdoor use is subject to climate. Saltillo tiles are NOT frost proof.|
|Recommended Grout Type and Width||1/4 in. grout line suggested. Use sanded grout when doing grout lines of 1/4 in. or more; and non-sanded grout when less than 1/4 in. We recommend to seal tile before grouting and to seal grout after installation. For further advice, contact your professional tile installer..|
|Color, Size and Design Variation||Lay out material prior to installation to properly blend and balance color. Due to size variation, we recommend to shuffle thru tile or several boxes before installation. The application of a penetrating sealer is necessary in accordance with the sealer manufacturer’s instructions. Note: Always perform a sample test on an inconspicuous area, before applying the sealer to an entire tiled surface. Saltillo tile is highly porous, and soaks in liquid easily.|
|Care Recommendations||Clean with mild cleanser and damp cloth, do not use abrasive cleaners.|
|How Much Extra Tile to Order||Industry standard recommends adding on 5-10% additional tile to the tile needed to account for waste, special cuts, or other unforeseen problems. This is particularly important in complex installations. Specially with diagonal patterns.|
|Recommendation||We strongly recommend consulting an experienced licensed contractor for the installation of your Saltillo tiles. There are many variables that can go wrong when installing Saltillo tiles that an experienced tile installer can deal better with any issues, and may provide advice for the proper care and maintenance of your Saltillo tile.|
|Saltillo Tile: Regular vs Super||Super Saltillo tiles are distinguished for their rounded edges in comparison to regular Saltillo tiles which have squared edges.|
|NOTES:||Before making any arrangements for the installation with your tile installer or contractor, make sure that you thoroughly isnpect your order of floor tiles from Tierra y Fuego. Check for quantities, designs, colors, and damage that may have occurred during transit. If you notice any discrepancies call Tierra y Fuego\'s customer service line at 1-877-945-4900.|
|The Following instructions are provided as a courtesy only. Tierra y Fuego cannot be held responsible or accountable for information derived from the use of these instructions. Contact your professional tile installer for advice.|
|Setting Saltillo Tiles||Some saltillos are reasonably smooth and flat, others are so rough that you need to scrape the backs before installing them. If a saltillo is particularly curved, back-butter the concave portion before setting it in the mortar. If yours tiles are not presealed, apply a penetrating sealer both before and after installing. If the tiles are installed without having been sealed, the mortar and grout will stain the tiles.|
|The mortar must be wet enough to stick to the tiles, but stiff enough to hold up the tile. If mortar flows out from under the sides of the tiles, stiffen the mix by adding dry ingredients. If the mortar has started to set and will not adhere to the tiles, throw it out and make a new batch.|
|• Place and align the tiles: Make squares holding nine tiles. Position the upper left tile so that two of its edges align with the layout lines. The two tiles to the right should align with the top line, and the two tiles below should align with the left line. Place the center tile next. On the right and bottom sides of the square, however, the tiles should be one grout line short of the layout lines. Stand up and examine the nine tiles from several angles. The grout lines will not be perfect, but they should be as close to straight and consistent in width as possible. Move on to the next square only when you are completely satisfied.|
|• Bed the tiles and check adhesion: Gently tap the tiles with a hammer over a block of wood to embed them in the mortar and create a smooth tile surface. In every square, pick up at least one tile to make sure the mortar is sticking to three-quarters or more of the back surface. If not, back-butter the tiles.|
|Further Installation Details|| Saltillo Tile Installation
The successful installation of terra cotta tiles is highly affected by the installation process. Tierra y Fuego strongly recommends hiring or consulting a skilled professional tile installer, even for small projects. Tierra y Fuego is not liable for tile that has been altered from its original state due to improper handling during the installation process. Inspect the tile prior to installation as installation signifies acceptance.
For a successful installation of Saltillo tiles, please take note of the following recommendations:
• Carefully choose a skilled tile installer.
• Properly blend all tiles prior to installation.
• Make sure the installer is informed of all the procedures and products; and carefully follows the manufacturer’s instructions of any solutions such as sealers, grout releases, and cleaners that may be used or come in contact with the tile during the installation process.
• Seal tiles with a penetrating sealer of your choice prior to grouting. We recommend 511 Porous Plus Sealer from Miracle Sealants Company for the most porous surfaces such as terra cotta tiles.
• Apply a grout release (like Aqua Mix’s) before grouting following the manufacturer’s instructions; this process helps to protect textured surfaces, and reduce grout staining.
• One important consideration as part of the tile selection process is the color of the grout. Depending on the desired final overall look, there are three basic approaches to selecting the grout color: matching, contrasting, and neutral. Grout will affect the product’s final appearance.
• Use sanded grout. Premixed epoxy grout is NOT recommended due to its viscosity.
• After the grout has dried completely, if need it, clean tiles with Grout Haze Clean-up from Aqua Mix.
• Allow the entire tiled area to dry completely. Depending on environmental climate, it will typically take 24 hours to dry.
• After the installation has been completed, seal the entire area once again with a penetrating sealer.
• If desired and further protect the tile we recommend the use of High Gloss Finish Sealer from Miracle Sealants Company. This surface sealer enhances color while providing resistance to chemicals, stains and dirt.
• As part of a normal maintenance procedure, terra cotta floor tile requires re-sealing on a regular basis.
• Note: Always test a small sample tile with the solutions that might be used during installation before applying to an entire area.
This guide is intended to provide information on frequently asked questions. Opinions vary in the ceramic tile industry about the proper installation of ceramic and terra cotta tiles. However, since Tierra y Fuego tiles are porous they should be sealed with a penetrating sealer before and after grouting.
|Cutting Saltillos and Other Soft Tiles||Soft tiles like saltillos are too uneven and too thick to cut with a snap cutter. Rent a wet saw if you have more than ten tiles to cut. To cut just a few tiles, clamp a wood guide on the tile and cut with a grinder equipped with a masonry or diamond blade. It will take several passes to cut about halfway through the tile; you can then snap it to finish the cut.|
|Grouting Large Joints||Check that the mortar has hardened all the way through before grouting. Because the mortar is so thick, this may take 2 days. Purchase sanded grout that is latex-reinforced. Mix grout that is fairly stiff-just to the point where it does not pour readily. When the spaces between tiles are wide and the tiles are uneven, grouting gets messy. Work the grout in between the tiles by pushing with a grout float in at least two directions at all points. Squeegee away as much of the excess grout as you can. Drag a wet towel over the area, then wipe lightly with a damp sponge. You will need to rinse the sponge often. Once the grout starts to stiffen, use the sponge to create grout lines that are consistent in depth. Allow the grout to harden, then buff the surface with a dry cloth.|