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Uncovering Mexican Saltillo Tile: All You Need to Know

Want to learn more about the Mexican Saltillo tile? Well, you’re in the right spot.

We get it; picking out flooring can be a real challenge. It’s a long-term decision, and we want to help make it easier for you. 

Understanding the basics of this Mexican tile can help relieve some of the stress of choosing the right flooring, leaving you more time to think about other important decisions, like what color to paint your walls.

Let’s get right into it.

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

Understanding the origins of Saltillo tile flooring is crucial for appreciating its unique qualities as a handmade, rustic tile.

  • Saltillo tiles originate from Saltillo, located in Coahuila, Mexico.
  • Authentic Mexican Saltillo tiles must come from this region to be considered genuine.
  • The whole region is characterized by a riverbed serving as a natural resource for the clay used to make Saltillo floor tile. If the clay tile does not use clay from this riverbed, it cannot be classified as authentic Saltillo.
  • Saltillo tile is also called Terracotta tile, though it’s important to note that not all are Saltillo tiles. Explore more about the differences between Saltillo and Terracotta tiles.
  • The tradition of crafting Saltillo tiles has been passed down through generations within Mexican families. While manufacturing processes have improved over time, the handmade production of this terracotta tile has remained unchanged for generations.

Genuine, handmade Mexican Saltillo tiles meet specific quality criteria, ensuring the authenticity and quality of the product.

Saltillo tile is made today much like it was over a century ago, maintaining its authenticity through a manual, hands-on process that embodies tradition and cultural significance. 

Each tile’s uniqueness and rustic charm stem from its artisanal production, ensuring that no two tiles are alike. The handmade aspect is crucial for authentic Mexican Saltillo tile, as the finished look and durability cannot be replicated through machine manufacturing.

The process begins with the extraction of clay from the riverbeds of Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico. Strong individuals then mix water into the hard, compact clay, creating a malleable and workable consistency, though the process is labor-intensive.

Craftsmen proceed to hand-press small portions of clay into tile molds, shaping wet clay versions of the tiles. These tiles are then laid out on the ground to bake in the sun until they achieve the necessary firmness for stacking in a kiln.

The kiln-firing process is a fascinating spectacle. Tiles are manually stacked layer by layer in a vast hole in the ground, with large-scale producers loading up to 6,000 square feet of flooring. The kiln is ignited and left to burn for 18-24 hours, with constant monitoring to ensure a successful firing. This transformative process turns sun-dried Saltillo clay into exceptionally durable tiles with a unique, random, natural look, which is what makes Saltillo tiles so popular.

Once the tiles cool in the kiln for an additional 24 hours, craftsmen move each tile by hand to an area where several coats of penetrating sealer are applied. Some tiles remain unsealed based on specific requests, and the importance of sealer is highlighted later.

Due to the artisan process of handmaking super Saltillo, it’s easy to understand why their rustic characteristics exist.

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There are many reasons to love Saltillo flooring. Fortunately, the clay tiles have evolved beyond conventional square tiles, expanding its global presence with a collection of captivating shapes and patterns. 

No longer confined to mundane squares, homeowners and businesses can now enhance their spaces with elaborate designs, adding both value and beauty. The Mexican Saltillo tile primarily features square, hexagon, octagon, and rectangle tiles, setting the standard for Saltillo tile flooring.

Saltillo tile products have five distinct colors: Traditional, Manganese, Spanish Mission Red, Antique, and Antique Mission Red. These clay tiles are also easy to customize with stains, sealers, and paints, making them an excellent choice for custom projects.

Explore Saltillo Terracotta Colors made by our skilled artisans by watching this video.

  • Traditional Saltillo: terracotta shades with a full range of color variation
  • Manganese Saltillo: overall brown shades of color with terracotta undertones and a full range of color variation
  • Spanish Mission Red Saltillo: dark terracotta shades with minimal color variation
  • Antique Saltillo: hand-textured tile in terracotta and copper shades of color with moderate color variation.
  • Antique Mission Red: hand-textured tile in dark terracotta colors with minimal color variation.
  • Custom Colors Available

Tile floors generally offer beauty, durability, and cleanliness, but Mexican Saltillo tile brings a distinctive aesthetic to your home that you’ll truly desire. Whether you’re aiming for a Southwestern, Mediterranean, or French style, this tile can beautifully spotlight your home.

Want to know more? Contact us today!

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Yes. Saltillo tile installation poses unique challenges due to its thicker and more individualized nature. Installers must exercise careful precision in applying the right amount of adhesive and ensuring proper spacing between the tiles.

Saltillo tile is known for its durability, making it a popular choice for flooring. The natural clay used in its production contributes to its robustness.

Mexican Saltillo tiles can be purchased from specialty tile shops and online retailers. Look for trustworthy suppliers who offer a range of authentic Mexican tiles in different shapes and colors.

If you shop for Saltillo terracotta flooring, you’ve reached the leading Saltillo tile company – Rustico Tile & Stone. We offer wholesale-direct prices, a huge selection, world-class customer service, and worldwide shipping!

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