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Expert Guide To Choosing The Right Saltillo Tile For Your Project

Welcome, Saltillo tile enthusiasts and renovation rockstars!

In this post, we are diving headfirst into the rustic world of Saltillo floor tile – those quirky, vibrant, and sometimes downright eccentric little terracotta flooring beauties that can transform your home into a fiesta of fabulousness!

Mexican Saltillo tiles are like the cool, slightly eccentric cousin of regular tiles – they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, just like a box of crayons on a sugar high.

In this blog, we’ll take you on a whirlwind tour of Saltillo tiles – from the traditional classics to the flamboyant showstoppers. We’ll share tips on how to embrace rustic characteristics and make them work in your favor. Because when it comes to Saltillo, it’s not about perfection – it’s about celebrating the imperfectly perfect.

So, grab your sombrero and join us as we unravel the secrets of picking the right Saltillo tile for your home. Let’s get tiling, amigos! 🌶️💃🕺

First Things First – Consider Your Space

Fortunately, designers and architects specify terracotta floors like Saltillo in a variety of spaces – residential and commercial. If you’ve decided that this is the type of tile for your area, consider a few factors, like ceiling height, room size, and overall style.

For example, expansive open rooms with high ceilings are ideal for large format size tiles. Working on something smaller like a Saltillo tile kitchen floor? Then consider smaller sizes or one-tile decorative shapes to scale to the smaller room.

What is your design style? Anything in the rustic, Mediterranean, Cabin, or Southwestern wheelhouse is a winner for Saltillo floors. But even modern design lends itself to tiles like Manganese or Mission Red colors.

Saltillo Isn’t Just For Flooring!

Shift those eyes from the ground to your walls. Do you have an area where you can plan an accent wall, shower walls, or decorative niche accents? Gone are the days of only using Mexican Saltillo solely as flooring. Spice up your home style by adding artisan or Mexican tiles to your walls.

Before choosing the size, shapes, and colors for your Saltillo floor, think about your project’s style and layout. Make the big decisions about sizing and design before diving into the specifics below.

If you’ve got those ideas pinned up on the board, let’s move on to the fun stuff.

Does Saltillo Tile Come In Different Colors?

Years ago, unsealed Saltillo was the only type of this terracotta available. The colors were limited to raw clay – pastel shades of pink, salmon, and cream. But today, manufacturers combine technology and innovation to produce a variety of modern Saltillo tile colors, including traditional, manganese, Spanish mission red, and antique. Whatever the space, there’s a color of Saltillo tile to blend flooring into the surrounding design style.

How do I choose the right tile color? First, consider the style of your room. Rustic-style spaces command traditional Saltillo or the textured, old-world Antique color. Need something more contemporary for a Saltillo tile kitchen floor? Modern Saltillo tile choices are Manganese or Spanish Mission Red colors. But also, balance your choice of tile color with things including:

  • Natural light – Large windows allowing for a lot of natural light are balanced with darker tile colors for flooring.
  • Wall colors – avoid making your space too dark by choosing a dark tile color paired with dark walls and minimal natural light from windows.
  • Furniture and Fixtures – if you’re renovating and don’t want to give up any existing furniture or fixtures, that impacts your choice of tile color. So, consider if you wish to complement or contrast any existing décor elements in the room.
  • New home construction – Do you have a blank canvas? Then flooring is one of the best places to (literally) lay the foundation of your décor. Flooring, while functional, should make some type of design statement. Decide whether your Saltillo tile color is a ‘wow’ staple of the home’s décor or whether it’s intended to play a humble supporting role by grounding all other elements into a cohesive look.

Let’s look more closely at Saltillo tile color choices.

Traditional Saltillo

Not only is Traditional Saltillo most common, but it’s also timeless. This color palette includes terracotta shades of brick orange, golden, cream, and tan.

Manganese Saltillo Flooring

It’s the showstopper for modern Saltillo tile floors in contemporary homes. While the rustic characteristics add unique flavor, the light, dark brown, tan, and undertones of terracotta play nicely against light walls and windows, offering natural light. Manganese Saltillo is one of the most versatile color palettes that works with lots of design styles.

Antique Saltillo Tile Floors

Reminiscent of reclaimed terracotta floors, Antique Saltillo has an old-world look with a hand-textured surface. Its copper and terracotta colors offer a neutral color palette as a canvas for playing up many styles – indoor and outdoor. With its textured surface, Antique is perfect for spaces that require a nonslip finish.

Spanish Mission Red Tile

Reminiscent of reclaimed terracotta floors, Antique Saltillo has an old-world look with a hand-textured surface. Its copper and terracotta colors offer a neutral color palette as a canvas for playing up many styles – indoor and outdoor. With its textured surface, Antique is perfect for spaces that require a nonslip finish.

Antique Mission Red Mexican Saltillo

This is a marriage between the textured Antique tiles and the Spanish Mission red’s streamlined colors. So, if you can’t decide between those two Saltillo colors, get the best of both worlds with Antique Mission Red.

Custom Glazed Mexican Tiles

Interior designers or DIY enthusiasts – this one is for you! Saltillo tiles are easily customized with glazes and stains since the base terracotta clay is porous. So, if you want a one-of-a-kind look for your project, let’s talk! We produce custom Saltillo tile colors, shapes, and sizes.

What Colors Go Well With Saltillo?

Since these Mexican tiles have terracotta colors, they are warm colors. Every warm color on the color wheel has a complimentary cool color. Popular complementary colors include whites, tans, black, greens, and blues. But also, choosing colors that go with Saltillo tile depends on whether the space needs to be monochromatic or analogous.  

Browse other colors on the color wheel for some ideas!

Want to See It In Your Room?

Room Visualizer Tool

Sealed vs. Unsealed Saltillo Tiles

When it comes to modern Saltillo tiles (and many other terracotta tiles), the distinction between sealed and unsealed can make a world of difference for your home renovation and color. Let’s break it down:

sealed vs unsealed saltillo tile

Unsealed Saltillo Tiles

They showcase their raw, natural beauty, boasting a rustic and authentic appearance. These tiles are usually porous, meaning they have tiny pores and spaces that can absorb moisture and stains more easily. This can make them vulnerable to spills, stains, and even wear and tear over time. Unsealed Saltillo is a light pastel color in shades of pink and cream.  

We recommend buying and installing unsealed terracotta tiles only if you plan on customizing the floor with a decorative stain or glaze.

And – pro tip! If you think you’ll save money buying unsealed Saltillo, think again. It’s far less expensive (with most sellers like us) to purchase and install presealed tiles. Learn more about the cost of sealed vs unsealed Saltillo tiles.

Sealed Saltillo Tiles

On the other hand, Sealed Saltillo tiles have been given a coat of protection – think of it as a fabulous fashion accessory for your tiles! In fact, Rustico’s Saltillo has at least 5 coats of penetrating sealer soaked into the clay tiles. This gives the tile rich terracotta colors and protection and strengthens the clay tile, too. Terracotta tile sealer allows the tiles to maintain their beautiful appearance for extended periods, making them easier to clean and maintain.

Saltillo Floor Tile Patterns

Picking the right floor tile pattern is a fun and creative process, but it’s essential to consider some key factors. Hence, the final choice fits your space and style perfectly. 

Hopefully, you’ve already thought through your style and space, so you know the size and color of tile selections.

Tile patterns are all about creating visual interest. Geometric patterns usually act as focal points and key statements in the overall design. In contrast, subtle patterns like running brick or diagonal squares add dimension without overwhelming the room.

Pro tip: If you need clarification on what Saltillo floor tile pattern is best for your space, consider enlisting the help of a professional interior designer or your tile installer. The industry pros are a wealth of information and valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

If you’re shopping for our modern Saltillo tiles, we’re also happy to help! Just send a floor plan, and let’s discuss your design and flooring goals. We’ve seen a lot of floors – good and bad!

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to tile patterns. It’s about finding the design that speaks to your style, complements your space, and excites you to walk on your beautiful tile floors daily. Here are some of our favorites!

Modern Saltillo Tile Shapes

In contemporary homes, Modern Saltillo tile shapes include squares, rectangles, and hexagon tiles. Lay square and rectangle tiles on a diagonal orientation for added dimension.

Timeless Decorative Tile Patterns

Tiles with decorative shapes have been around for generations. The most popular decorative shapes in Saltillo floors are San Felipe (arabesque tile pattern), Octagon (with painted Talavera tile accents), Riviera pattern, and Fleur de Lis tiles. These are popular choices for Saltillo tile kitchen spaces.

New Saltillo Shapes Making A Statement

Relatively new to the Mexican tile décor scene are patterns like Botella, Picket tile pattern, and many Custom tiles like our large format San Felipe shape. And if you’re looking for a custom size or shape, we do that too!

What’s The Difference Between Super and Regular Saltillo?

Once you’ve selected your tile pattern, there’s one more decision to make (about most shapes). What’s better – Super or Regular Saltillo tile?

Super Saltillo has rounded corners and edges. Like all handmade Saltillo and terraotta tiles, it is pillowed but the Super version has slightly less pillowing than Regular Saltillo. In contrast, the Regular version has straight corners and edges. Once Super or Regular tiles are installed, unless you have a trained eye, most people don’t see the difference between the two styles. So don’t lose any sleep agonizing about whether you should opt for Super or Regular Saltillo tile.

But also, most decorative shapes with curves (Riviera pattern, San Felipe, and Fleur de Lis patterns) are only available as Regular Saltillo. Additionally, we recommend Super Saltillo for large format tiles 20 inches and larger since they have less pillowing. The pillowing difference is more noticeable with large format tiles.

difference between super and regular saltillo tile

These Mexican flooring beauties can transform any space into a fiesta of colors and warmth. So, where do they shine the brightest? Check out these popular areas.

Ah, Saltillo tiles, the vibrant gems of the tile world! These Mexican beauties can transform any space into a fiesta of colors and warmth. So, where do they shine the brightest? Let’s explore some popular areas where Saltillo tiles add a touch of flair and create an inviting atmosphere:

Foyers and Entryways

Foyers and entryways are the perfect spaces to welcome guests with a burst of personality. The unique patterns and warm hues of Saltillo tiles set the tone for the rest of your home, creating a lasting first impression that leaves visitors eager to explore further.

Kitchens and Dining Areas

Whether you choose them for flooring or as a decorative backsplash, they add a touch of rustic elegance to this heart of the home. The natural warmth of the Saltillo tile kitchen floor can make it feel cozy and inviting, making it an ideal gathering spot for family and friends. We especially love to see Saltillo tile kitchen floors paired with Talavera or Cement backsplash tiles!

Patios, Courtyards, and Outdoor Spaces

Saltillo tiles aren’t just for indoor spaces – they’re equally at home outdoors! Spruce up your patio or deck with these durable and weather-resistant tiles. Their earthy tones and rustic texture create a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living, making your backyard a colorful oasis for relaxation and entertainment.

Pro Tip: Antique or Antique Mission Red tiles have a textured surface, which adds the benefit of a nonslip surface to outdoor tiled spaces.

Living Rooms

Liven up your living room with the character and charm of Saltillo tiles. Whether you prefer them as a focal point in the center of the room or as a unique accent around the fireplace, these tiles bring a sense of coziness and style to your gathering space.


Like a Saltillo tile kitchen floor, bring a touch of the exotic to your bathroom oasis. The clay tiles add a playful splash of color and texture to the bathroom floor or walls. Paired with the right fixtures and decor, they can create a spa-like retreat that transports you to a tropical paradise every time you step in.

Commercial Spaces

For businesses looking to evoke a specific theme or cultural ambiance, Saltillo tiles are a fantastic choice. Whether it’s a Mexican restaurant with a Saltillo tile kitchen floor, a southwestern-inspired boutique, a modern city bar, or a themed spa, these tiles significantly create the desired atmosphere.

Remember, Saltillo tiles thrive in spaces where their vibrancy and character can take center stage. So, embrace the spirit of adventure and let these tiles breathe life into your home, turning it into a delightful canvas of colors and patterns. Happy tile hunting! 🌈🎨

If you’re still stuck on which Saltillo tile is the right choice for your home or business, check out our Ultimate Guide to Saltillo Tile Flooring. Or contact us directly – we’re here to help!

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