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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.