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Why Should You Buy Sealed Saltillo Tile Instead of Unsealed Saltillo?

This is one of my favorite questions to answer. Truly. I know what you need to know about why buying Sealed Saltillo Tile is better than buying Unsealed Saltillo Tile. Let’s find out what’s best for your project.

Unsealed Saltillo Tile
Unsealed Square Saltillo Tile – Notice the pastel shades of color

Here’s a little backstory. At Rustico Tile and Stone, we used to actively promote unsealed Saltillo tile. Why? We wanted to maintain a strategic competitive edge in pricing for this handmade Mexican tile. Unsealed Saltillo tile is a bit less expensive than Sealed Saltillo tile. So we wanted our lowest price ‘out there.’

We sold a lot of it. A whole lot. And then the headaches, complaints, and maintenance issues flooded our phone lines and email.s. Our customers had terrible experiences trying to deal with unsealed tile.

sealed saltillo tile
Sealed Saltillo Tile in the Octagon Shape – Notice the rich color tone

So we took notes and made some changes. Now we lead the market in low cost and quality for Sealed Saltillo tiles. We changed the way Saltillo tile was sold and installed for many decades.

Here is the problem with buying and installing unsealed Saltillo tile. It’s a pain! It’s difficult to install – actually; it’s impossible to install unsealed tile successfully without staining it with thinset, grout, or dirt. Also, it’s expensive to install. A tile installer will often charge a considerable amount of money to handle unsealed Saltillo due to the complexity of keeping it clean and applying the sealer.

Setting Sealed Saltillo Tile without Spacers

Picture this. Let’s say you need to buy and install 1000 square feet of unsealed Saltillo tile. After purchasing it, you will have 3 pallets of tile arrive at your home. IF (big IF!) your installer knows what he or she is doing, the installer will begin to lay out 1000 square feet of the tile so it can be sealed. And we’re not talking about a quick stroke with a paint brush. Saltillo clay is porous. It takes multiple coats of penetrating sealer to soak into and fortify the clay adequately. There is dry time between coats. The chances are that your installer can only handle doing 50-100 square feet at a time. Weather conditions must be just right since this is best done outdoors. And after the floor is completely installed, there’s still a topcoat sealer to apply. OH AND….! The COST of even cheap, poor quality sealers adds up in this process. Did I mention that you must pay your installer to take care of this special process? Should I keep going?

Unless you plan on staining Saltillo tile to a particular color, I never recommend that people buy unsealed Saltillo tile. Sadly, after you’ve spent all the extra time and money to have your tile sealed, there is still a wide margin for human error.

buy mexican saltillo tile
Sealed Saltillo is ready to install upon arrival to the jobsite

Let’s shift our focus to something more positive. When you buy sealed Saltillo tile at Rustico Tile and Stone, you get to rest easy. At our factory in Mexico, we apply five coats of penetrating sealer which soaks into the clay. This brings out rich tones of color and strengthens the tile. When your installer unpacks it from the pallet, he or she installs the tile as-is. Yes… unpack and install it at no extra cost, time, or possible sealer application mistakes.

The best part? On average, our sealed Saltillo tile is only about $0.20 more per square foot compared to unsealed Saltillo tile. For the very reason that it’s a great value and a fully sealed tile, we are THE leading supplier for handmade Saltillo tile in the world.

saltillo tile produced by rustico tile
Sealed Manganese Saltillo Tile with TerraNano Gloss Topcoat Sealer

Need more proof? Just do the math. On 1000 square feet, you’ll pay $200 more for our sealed tile vs unsealed tile. Even if you buy cheap quality sealer at $40/gallon for your unsealed tile, you’ll need a minimum of 10 gallons of sealer to put only 2 or 3 coats into the clay. Then you have to pay labor or spend the DAYS involved in sealing up 1000 square feet of tile. Was it worth saving $200 at the onset?

If you’re still unsure, order some samples. Compare sealed vs unsealed Saltillo. If you like the look of the Mexican Saltillo tile photos on our website, I’m confident you’ll believe what I’m saying when you see the samples. We are the experts who want you to Make Every Space Count.

Handmade Mexican Tile | Are You Getting the Most out of it?

You endured design planning for your home. You suffered through a messy demolition. You spent the money. You subjected yourself to construction delays, mistakes, and disheveled chaos. You achieved greatness. You made your happy place. But are you getting the most out of your handmade Mexican tile? Does it prominently illustrate your sense of style, personality, and artistry? If not, keep reading.

If you’ve read anything I’ve written in the past, you know that I’m a big proponent for your home to be a full-on expression of your most authentic self. It’s your space. Your home is where you create memories to last a lifetime. If what you create is aesthetically appealing to others too, then BOOMTOWN!

Setting Saltillo Tile without Spacers

I’ve seen a lot of homes and commercial spaces over the years that perfectly display handmade Mexican tile. The intriguing part Mexican tiles that we sell is that every piece comes with a story. It delights me when our customers ask things like “How is it made?” or “Where does it come from?” This stirs nostalgic emotions deep in my soul. I’ve been with the people who make our tiles. I speak to them every day. They’re making their own pieces of artwork which you, in return, interpret and bring to life in your home. And I talk to a lot you. (It’s a win-win for little ‘ole me!)

With advances in technology and a globalized world, people are finally paying attention to the origin and culture of products. Handmade Mexican tile should tell a story in your space, so let’s make sure that happens!

Riviera Terra Cotta Tile
The Riviera pattern is our most popular Saltillo tile pattern

Tip 1: Colors. Saltillo tile is our most popular handmade Mexican tile. Since it comes in 3 color finishes, there is a lot of room to play with color. Each color finish has its unique range of variation.  Traditional Saltillo, for example, has the familiar look of terracotta seen around the world.  Manganese Saltillo is a great solution for someone who wants neutral tones that can extend into many design styles. And Antique Saltillo has a warm blend of rustic colors and textures.

Handmade Mexican tile floors set the foundation for all other elements of your decor style. Consider your paint palette to pull out colors from the floor that you want to accentuate. Or vice versa, your paint colors can tone down the overall look of your flooring while bringing attention to other architectural elements. Play around with paint and wall finishes. You’ll be amazed at what wall colors and textures can do to cozy-up your space.

handmade mexican tile

Another strategic play on colors materializes in your chosen accents. Consider this floor with colorful Talavera painted tile inserts. These command attention as the floor has become an expression of art.

mexican tile stairs

Cement tiles on stair risers is a bold option. In this wedding venue, the bride cascades down Manganese saltillo stair coping tiles with her dress framed by a classic look of the soft tones on an old-world style design.

Tip 2: Texturize. If you’re like me, you don’t like carpet. It’s dirty, absorbs smells, and wears quickly over time. But spaces like bedrooms demand the warmth of some texture to soften the hardscape. Solution? Area rugs, plush window treatments, fluffy pillows! What’s better than a fluffy pillow that smells like lavender in a bedroom? Make it a relaxing room loaded with texture contrasts to get the most out of your handmade Mexican tile.

bedroom patchwork tile

See what I mean? This one-room apartment is a daring piece. Patchwork Cement Tile covers the entire floor throughout the bedroom and bathroom, up the wall as a backdrop for its bed, and gives a flat, decorative surface for the countertop. Now look beyond the tile at a mixture of textures.  A shag, plush carpet softens the mood. An understated, simple bedding choice pairs down the amalgam of tile designs. The antique door with metal bars is yet another hard surface but throws a vintage characteristic into an otherwise modern space. Oh Oh Oh! And FLUFFY pillows! They smell like lavender, I’m sure!

patchwork encaustic tile in bathroom

In the bathroom, metallic black tiles fill the shower alongside these handmade Mexican tiles. (Yes, cement tile can be used in a shower as long as they are sealed well. Keep reading to see more details about sealer benefits.) Do you see the chrome trim liner around the outer edge of the shower? It’s another play on the texture of metals to pull all of these design elements together. Details matter.

Mexican Saltillo Floor Tile
16×16-inch Saltillo Tile was color-sorted to remove the golden shades in this Hacienda style home

Tip 3: Function. If nothing else, handmade Mexican tile should give you a bundle of functionality. The best way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your handmade Mexican tile is to verify it’s installed and maintained properly. This doesn’t mean that your floor sucks the life out of you and your pocketbook, though. Planning is essential in this respect.

Speak with your installer and rely on the solid advice from our Mexican tile experts to safeguard the investment of your flooring. Proper tile setting and installation materials must be used for any handmade tile.  Then, extend the life of your floor and reduce overall maintenance by investing in a quality topcoat sealer. Learn more about Mexican tile sealers that we offer. Whether it’s our sealer or a sealer from another company, save yourself the heartache and unnecessary cost by applying a top quality sealer that is proven to last several years.

All of your other decor elements won’t matter if you have to rip up, resurface, or repair flooring.  Remember the messy demolition you’ve already experienced? Don’t suffer through it again. Your handmade Mexican tile floor should be extremely functional so you can focus on other aspects of your happy space.

saltillo tile paw print

Not sure what handmade Mexican tile is best for you? That’s why we’re here! We won’t try to talk you into something that’s not best for your space. At Rustico, we consider ourselves to be educators of handmade Mexican tile. If, after speaking with you, we think that our tile isn’t ideal for your style, you’ll get an honest answer from us.  But if it IS your style, we will do everything we can to earn your business. Contact us to learn more. It’s important to us that you Make Every Space Count!

How Cement Tile is Made

Posted on September 7, 2017 by Melanie

Blogroll, Cement Tile, Mexican Tile

Are you one of those people who like to know how ‘stuff’ is made? Then you’ve hit up the right post! Check out this short video to learn how cement tile is made. This is an insider’s look at the lengthy process for creating just 1 individual tile. When we talk about craftsmanship in handmade tiles… this is it!