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Authentic Mexican Saltillo Tile – What is it?

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Perfectly Imperfect

Terracotta Tile Flooring

I know you’re losing sleep over this question.  What exactly is authentic Mexican Saltillo Tile?  And why does it matter?

Well, if you’re in the market for a type of quarry flooring, it matters a lot.  First, let me tell you what Mexican saltillo tile is NOT.

It is not machine-made. It is not perfect.  It is not all one color.  It is not consistent in shape.  It is not flat.  Sounds terrible, right?  Bear with me…

Paw Print in Mexican Saltillo Tile
Animal prints on Mexican Saltillo tile are a mark of authenticity.

Authentic Mexican Saltillo tile is clay tile that is made by hand.  An occasional paw print is considered good luck!  Every piece is crafted with care by artisans in Mexico.  Not a machine touches authentic Mexican saltillo tile until it’s loaded onto a truck by a forklift and departs for our warehouse in Texas.  Each tile represents a learned trade.  This trade has been carried on from family to family for generations in Mexico.

Do I sound a bit nostalgic about these clay tiles?  Well, I am.  It not only puts food on my table but also on the tables of our staff and hundreds of our people in Mexico.  I’d rank our collection of people as some of the hardest-working folks in the world – but then again, I’m a little partial.  We’re blessed.

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Enough of the warm, fuzzy stuff.  Moving on.

Because authentic Mexican Saltillo tile is handmade, it has all sorts of rustic characteristics.  These include variations in size, thickness, and color variation.  There are variations in shape due to the hand molding process.  

Some tiles are more pillowed than others, depending on the rate of moisture evaporation during the kiln-firing process.  Color patterns vary based on the placement of a tile and its proximity to heat in the kiln.  

Handmade Saltillo also comes with chips and bumps along the edges and surfaces of the tiles, pillowing, smudges, paw prints, lime pops, and even occasional hairline cracks.  These rustic characteristics are not defects but are highly sought after by people who desire rustic-style floors worldwide. Regular Saltillo and our decorative-shaped tiles display these qualities more prominently than Super Saltillo.  Sizes 18″ and larger also display rustic characteristics more prominently. Quite literally, no two tiles are the same.

mexican saltillo tile colors
We make 4 Mexican Saltillo Tile Colors.

Each finish has a different color range and is available in any of our shapes and sizes.

Lastly – let’s talk about the clay.  A natural Saltillo tile will be made from riverbed clay that’s dug from the areas are Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico.  It’s a muddy mess, but it’s some of the most durable clay in the world.

How does that help you?  When you buy authentic Mexican Saltillo tile, you get an extremely durable floor tile that will outlast generations with proper care.

manganese saltillo tile
Stair Coping & Hexagon Manganese Saltillo Tile

So that’s that.  Authentic Mexican Saltillo tile may not be for everyone.  But it IS for those who want a low-cost flooring option for a rustic interior design style.  We love authentic Mexican saltillo tile in southwestern and Spanish-style decor. It’s also complimentary in Mediterranean and Tuscan homes.  

Got a beach house, hunting lodge, or mountain cabin?  Authentic Mexican Saltillo tile works there too.  And don’t forget these floors’ warm ambiance in wine country establishments.  Wineries are often adorned with decorative shapes found in Saltillo tile options.

Not sure which authentic Mexican saltillo tile is right for your space?  Give us a call – we’re here to help! (512) 260-9111  Make Every Space Count!

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