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How do I know if the Saltillo tile I am buying is good quality?

nonslip terracotta tile

What is a GOOD Mexican Saltillo tile?

There are a lot of knock-off versions of terracotta floor tile. How do you know if you’re getting REAL Mexican Saltillo tile?

So Much Conflicting Information on the Internet

Authentic Handmade Saltillo Tile

There are a few things to consider when deciding on the authenticity and quality of these Mexican tiles.

1. Where is Saltillo tile made? Authentic saltillo clay tiles are made in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico. This is the only place where natural saltillo clay is found, and the artisan process of manufacturing is on-site local to the riverbeds of clay.

2. Is the Mexican tile handmade? Traditional terra cotta tile is handmade and only made of Mexican saltillo clay. No machines are involved — it’s a process that is entirely done by hand. At Rustico Tile and Stone, the only machine we use is after the tiles are made…an airless sprayer seals the tiles with five coats of sealer, and a forklift loads up the crates onto our trucks. Everything else is done by hand with careful attention to the artisan detail. The result is a beautiful Mexican floor in your home or business.

3. How thick is the tile? The thinnest, good-quality saltillo floor tile should be no less than 1/2″ thick. Most sizes average 3/4″ thick or thicker for larger sizes.

Terracotta tiles need the thickness for the clay to have the quality needed for these terracotta floors to last a lifetime. Fake saltillo tiles that are thinner than this are too brittle and will break or chip very easily.

4. I’m buying sealed tile — How do I know if it is fully sealed? We are a low-cost leader in the market for our fully-sealed saltillo tiles at Rustico Tile and Stone. Our tiles are not just “primed” with 1 or 2 coats of sealer. We’ve sprayed five coats of an oil-based sealer made at our facility in Mexico. The sealer color enhances this clay tile to produce the traditional shades of terra cotta, golden, oranges, and reds. When you receive the tiles, you’ll find that you can pour a cup (or more) of water onto the clay, and you will see the water stand on top. This illustrates the quality of our sealing process. This also SAVES YOU MONEY because you can install the tiles without soaking them, and you do not have to apply multiple coats of sealer to finish out your saltillo tile flooring. While we recommend a final coat of sealer for abrasion resistance, UV protection, and grout coverage, you’ll find that one very thin coat of sealer is your last and final step.

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