Home » Blog » Blogroll » Buying Sealed vs. Unsealed Saltillo Tile | Advice (Updated with Photos)

Buying Sealed vs. Unsealed Saltillo Tile | Advice (Updated with Photos)

Sealed vs. Unsealed Saltillo Tile

Which one is right for your project?

Which is better – Sealed or Unsealed Saltillo flooring? That’s the question to explore to save time and money! This post will address the pros and cons of sealed vs. unsealed Saltillo tile. Read along as we cover these topics –

  1. Up front vs hidden costs
  2. Installation complexities
  3. When to customize Saltillo tiles

Let’s dive in.

Can You Really Save Money with Unsealed Saltillo Tiles?

up front & hidden costs

sealed vs unsealed saltillo tile

Here’s a little backstory. At Rustico Tile and Stone, we used to promote unsealed Saltillo tile actively. 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.’

And we sold a lot of it. A whole lot.

Then the headaches, complaints, and maintenance issues flooded our phone lines and emails. Our customers had terrible experiences trying to deal with unsealed tiles. We spent more time trying to fix our customers’ flooring issues than selling tiles.

So we learned from those experiences and made changes.

Today, based out of Austin, TX, 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.→ The upfront cost of unsealed Saltillo tile is less expensive than sealed Saltillo tile. But there is so much more to be considered.

octagon mexican terracotta tile floor
12×12 Octagon Traditional Saltillo & Talavera Tiles

rustic style flooring
Manganese Riviera Saltillo Flooring & Cement Tile

Left unsealed, this clay tile will stain easily. So, it must be sealed.  That’s where things can get expensive for those people who initially purchased unsealed Saltillo tile.

Did you know that our sealed Saltillo tiles have five coats of penetrating sealer soaked into the clay?  This process is done at our factory. We seal thousands of square feet of tile every month so that we can do it inexpensively.

Have you shopped for sealer at Home Depot or Lowes lately? It’s not inexpensive, unfortunately.

→ That’s the hidden cost. Estimate $2.00 – $3.00 per square foot of additional cost if an unsealed tile is to be properly sealed.  And that’s not accounting for the labor cost involved.

MYTH BUSTED: You will not save money by buying unsealed vs. sealed Saltillo tile

Want to See It In Your Room?

Room Visualizer Tool

Saltillo Flooring Installation Issues

soaking, grout release, & sealer

Here is the problem with buying and installing unsealed Saltillo tile – it’s time-consuming, expensive, and has opportunities for many errors! Unsealed Saltillo tile is difficult to install.

In fact, it’s nearly impossible to install unsealed tile successfully without staining it with thinset, grout, or dirt. Plus, a tile installer often charges 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
Setting Manganese Saltillo Tile with Thinset

Picture this. Let’s say you need to buy and install 1000 square feet of unsealed Saltillo tile. After purchasing it, you will have three pallets of tile arrive at your home.

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 paintbrush. Saltillo clay is porous. It takes multiple coats of a penetrating sealer to soak into and fortify the clay adequately.

Plus, there is a dry time between coats. It’s likely 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.

Unless you plan on staining Saltillo tile to a particular color, I never recommend that people buy unsealed Saltillo tile.

Why Buy Sealed Saltillo Tile

best value & least maintenance

spanish style kitchen
16×16 Traditional Sealed Saltillo Tile

Let’s shift our focus to something more positive.

You get to rest easy when you buy sealed Saltillo tile at Rustico Tile and Stone. At our factory in Mexico, we apply five coats of a 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-$0.30 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 of handmade Saltillo tile in the world.

6x12 saltillo tile
6×12 Basketweave Pattern in Traditional Sealed Saltillo Tile

Need more proof? Just do the math.

On 1000 square feet, you’ll pay $200 more for our sealed Saltillo tile vs. unsealed Saltillo tile.

Even if you buy a 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. That’s $400 additional in sealer cost (for poor quality sealer).  Good quality sealer runs $100+/gallon.

Plus, add the labor cost for sealing 1000 square feet of tile.

Was it worth saving $200 on the original purchase?

If you’re still unsure, order samples. Compare unsealed vs. sealed Saltillo tile.

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 Mexican tile experts who want you to Make Every Space Count.

Enough Scrolling. Let’s Start a Project Together.

Let us send you pricing, samples, design advice, y mas. We ship worldwide.

4 thoughts on “Buying Sealed vs. Unsealed Saltillo Tile | Advice (Updated with Photos)”

  1. I love the everything about this tile. This is the first time I have ever seen it and it’s beautiful. I’m looking at a house here in Vegas and the entire house is is done with it. How much would it cost to do a 3400 st. ft. house? Just out of curiosity.

  2. Hi Roger – Thanks for reaching out. We love this tile too 🙂 Someone from our team will email you today to gather a little information about your project. Once we narrow down the Saltillo Tile Shapes & Sizes that you’re interested in, we can send a price estimate with delivery options.

  3. Kristin Martin

    Do you offer outdoor Saltillo tile? We live in FL and need tile for our patio. Not super slick since it rains alot here.

  4. Hi Kristin – Thanks for reaching out! Our Antique Saltillo tile is an ideal solution for outdoor areas when you need a nonslip surface. We make Antique Saltillo tile to look like reclaimed terracotta, and it has a textured surface. Check it out in our Saltillo Tile Colors & Finishes.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top