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Update Your Outdoor Space: Saltillo Tile Patio Ideas

It’s a warm, sunny day with a gentle breeze rustling through the trees as you sit poolside, enjoying the earthy vibe of a Mexican-inspired patio under your feet.

If you want to create this type of space, let’s explore some Saltillo tile patio ideas. With over 20 years of experience as the largest manufacturer and distributor of authentic Saltillo tile for patios and flooring, we’ve seen a lot of spaces. Throughout this blog, you’ll see some of our favorite patios with Saltillo and a few of our favorite living room interiors.

We also walk you through practical things like picking the best tile patterns, installation techniques for outdoor areas, pavers for patios, and cleaning and maintenance guidelines.

Let’s dive into Saltillo tile patio ideas!

Understanding Outdoor Saltillo Tile Flooring

Saltillo tile, originating from the Mexican city of Saltillo, is renowned for its earthy hues, handmade craftsmanship, and unique imperfections that add character to any space. It is a natural clay tile that is kiln-fired and sealed, resulting in a rustic finish that captures the essence of traditional Mexican architecture. Not only are these artisan tiles beautiful, but they’re also functional as flooring for indoor and outdoor spaces.

Features of Saltillo Tile Flooring

Warm color palettes and rustic characteristics are key markers of Saltillo tiles. Some of the dominant features include:

  • Color palettes include terracotta colors, Spanish Mission Red tiles, textured nonslip tiles, and brown and gray colors. Explore Saltillo Tile Colors for your patio.
  • Rustic characteristics include bumps, chips, lime pops, color striping, as well as irregular markings and smudges that depart rustic-style to floors.
  • Variations in size and thickness with dozens of shapes and sizes from which to choose.
  • Nonslip tile options for patios, porches, and pool deck tile.
  • It’s an eco-friendly and sustainable flooring choice.

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Why is Saltillo Tile Good for Outdoor Areas?

Saltillo tiles are ideal for outdoor patios due to their durability and beauty. These clay tiles can withstand harsh weather conditions and high-traffic areas, maintaining their integrity over time. Their rustic characteristics and earthy color tones add a visually appealing ambiance to any outdoor space. Saltillo tiles transform outdoor patios, porches, and courtyards into durable, beautiful extensions of your living space.

1. It’s a durable outdoor tile for patios.

Despite its handmade appearance, Saltillo tile is surprisingly durable and well-suited for outdoor use. Saltillo clay originates in one part of the world – the riverbeds in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico. The origin of this clay is important because it’s one of the most durable terracotta tiles available. But there’s more…

When we apply several coats of sealer to our outdoor Saltillo tiles, the sealer penetrates deeply into the clay, making the body of the tile most fortified. Our clients have enjoyed a budget-friendly, easy-to-install, and maintaining Saltillo tile patio for many years. That’s because we put an emphasis on the quality of manufacturing for our outdoor tiles.

In a nutshell, we don’t want customers calling us a year after they install Saltillo tile flooring with issues. So, we manufacture the best quality Saltillo tile around, guide customers with installation materials selections and techniques, and finish out the floors with the best sealer for outdoor Saltillo tile.

We are the experts – and we’ve made all the mistakes over the years. But we’ve learned and perfected our approach to patio Saltillo tile floors. When our process is followed, Saltillo tile on a patio can withstand sun exposure, moisture, and temperature fluctuations year round.


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Rustico Tile & Stone

eco friendly tile

There are many options for the overall look of a Saltillo outdoor tile, including shapes, sizes, and colors. Open spaces and large patios have a grandiose feel with large format 24×24-inch tiles, for example. For areas like courtyards, our 12×12 Hexagon tile is a timeless pattern that embarks a honeycomb effect. Some of our most popular patterns for outdoor spaces include

  • 16×16 Square Tiles
  • 12×12 Saltillo Pavers – 2″ thick pavers that can be installed with thinset on a concrete slab or a sand/gravel bed
  • 12×24, 8×16, or 6×12 Rectangle tiles set in a herringbone pattern or running brick pattern
  • San Felipe Tile – an arabesque flooring pattern

But also, let’s address how functional these outdoor terracotta tiles are! Because these are handmade clay tiles, there are size and thickness variations from piece to piece. That’s why you’ll see Saltillo flooring with wide grout lines – typically, Saltillo floors have 1/2 – 3/4 inch grout joints. The grout lines accommodate the size variations as they are installed.

So why does that matter for an outdoor patio? Those wide grout lines add a tremendous amount of texture to the floor, which benefits homeowners by mitigating slips. Our Antique Saltillo tile is also our clients’ most popular color choice for patios, porches, and around pools. With the hand-textured surface, these are our best nonslip tiles. Additionally, nonslip sealers for terracotta floors are another good option for outdoor and wet areas.

mexican tile for sale austin tx

Saltillo Tile Colors

Saltillo Tile Patterns

Explore These Saltillo Tile Patio Photos & Ideas

Saltillo tile patios are a fantastic way to bring a specific architectural style to your outdoor space.

  • Southwestern style homes: One popular style that complements Saltillo tiles is Southwestern architecture, known for its earthy tones, rustic textures, and incorporation of natural elements like wood and stone.
  • Hacienda homes: Hacienda-style patios often feature intricate ironwork, vibrant colors, and lush greenery, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere.
  • Beach homes: For those dreaming of a beach escape in their backyard, a beach home-inspired patio with light-colored furniture, nautical accents, and breezy fabrics can transport you to the coast.
  • Mediterranean-style homes: Mediterranean-style patios exude sophistication with their stucco walls, arched doorways, and colorful mosaic tiles, evoking the charm of seaside villas in Europe.
  • Modern homes: A popular architectural design trend for outdoor patios pairs terracotta tile floors with stone tile wall cladding and the sleek lines of modern style homes. Explore more outdoor stone tile ideas.

Whether you prefer the Southwest’s desert vibes or the Mediterranean’s coastal allure, there’s a Saltillo tile patio style to suit every taste and transform your outdoor space into a piece of heaven.

Contrast A Wide Spectrum of Colors

While white remains a proud partner of Saltillo, you can also play with different colors.  Pair the terracotta tones of Saltillo tile with pops of vibrant colors inspired by Mexican folk art, such as cobalt blue, sunny yellow, and fiery red. Or you can use green for some retro, mid-century charm. Add these colors through wall paint, colorful cushions, outdoor rugs, or potted plants.

Create a Cozy Seating Area

No Mexican-inspired patio is complete without a cozy seating area where you can relax and soak in the sunshine. Arrange wrought iron or wooden furniture adorned with plush cushions and throw blankets to create a comfortable oasis for lounging or entertaining guests.

Creating an inviting outdoor seating area in a courtyard alongside a Cantera natural stone fountain and outdoor benches is another way to take relaxing outdoors. Imagine lush greenery surrounding the courtyard laid with Saltillo flooring, with vibrant flowers adding pops of color and fragrance to the air. A Cantera natural stone fountain serves as a focal point, its intricate design and soothing water sounds creating a sense of tranquility. Soft cushions and throw pillows on the seating arrangements provide comfort, while overhead string lights twinkle in the evening, casting a warm glow over the scene. With the gentle trickle of water from the fountain and the chirping of birds in the background, patio floors in this outdoor retreat is perfect for enjoying moments of peace and connection with nature.

Add Southwestern Accents

Saltillo tile patio ideas extend to many design styles. To further enhance the Mexican vibe of your patio, incorporate Southwestern accents that pay homage to the region’s rich cultural heritage. Hang colorful papel picado banners overhead and adorn walls with Talavera ceramic tiles featuring intricate designs.

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Steps to Transform Your Patio with Saltillo Tile Flooring

Planning and Designing the Patio Space

Take time to assess your outdoor space and envision how Saltillo tile patio ideas can enhance its aesthetics and functionality. Consider factors such as the layout, size, and existing landscaping features to create a cohesive design plan that maximizes the potential of your patio.

As a general rule of thumb, laying large-format tiles like 16×16 or 24×24 tiles helps to visually expand a space, making it appear larger. For small patios or porches, consider moderate sizes like an 8×8-inch square tile or rectangle in a herringbone pattern layout.

Pro Tip: Buy and install sealed Saltillo tiles instead of unsealed Saltillo for an easier and less costly installation and to reduce maintenance for outdoor tiles.

Saltillo Tile Patio Ideas for Pattern Selection

Whether you prefer a traditional, uniform look or a more eclectic mix of patterns and textures, choose tiles that complement your design aesthetic and reflect your personal style. You can also get creative by mixing and matching different shapes and sizes to form intricate patterns inspired by traditional Mexican motifs such as geometric shapes, floral designs, and Aztec symbols.

Are you unsure what’s best for your patio? We’re happy to discuss your project so you can make educated decisions that fit your style and budget. Contact one of our expert Floor’ists today!

How to Install Saltillo Tile Outdoors

Leave Saltillo Tile installation to tile contractor professionals or for DIY enthusiasts. Here are a few basic guidelines for a successful patio tile installation.

  1. Inspect the subfloor – Guidelines for installing Saltillo tile on a concrete slab or wood subfloor vary.
  2. Prepare the subfloor according to your type of subfloor. As a best practice, apply waterproofing membrane as full coverage across any outdoor slab to mitigate chances for efflorescence (applies to any natural tile – stone, concrete, terracotta).

    (Pro Tip: Our waterproofing membrane has double functionality as a crack prevention membrane.)
  3. Apply semi- or fully modified thin-set mortar to the floor. Do not use cheap thinsets—pay for high-quality to avoid tiles popping up after installation. Thinset quality matters.
  4. Set tiles without using spacers to accommodate size variations between tiles. Learn why we always recommend installing Sealed Saltillo Tiles instead of unsealed tiles.
  5. Once the thinset is dry, we recommend regular mortar mix or sanded grout for Saltillo tile grout.
  6. Clean the floor thoroughly after grouting. It’s important to remove all grout is from the surface of the floor.
  7. Apply topcoat sealer once the floor is completely clean and dry. With your Saltillo topcoat sealer, pay extra attention to sealing grout lines.
install terracotta tile

Care and Maintenance of Saltillo Tile Patio

Here are some Saltillo tile patio ideas to keep your floors clean and maintained!

Maintaining these floors is not hard when you know how to clean Saltillo tile. Fortunately, it’s easy! A simple solution of mild detergent and water is all it takes to keep your Saltillo floor looking its best. You can also opt for non-acidic cleaning products available at your local grocery or drugstore or whip up your own water and vinegar concoction for a natural touch. Steam cleaning (not industrial steam cleaning) works, too!

However, it is important to avoid heavy mopping, power washing, or industrial steam cleaning, as excessive moisture can cause efflorescence or damage to natural tiles.

Before mopping your Saltillo tile, the most effective way to ensure a dust-free surface is to thoroughly vacuum or sweep it. If you come across a chip that exposes the raw terracotta clay, a quick fix is to apply a thin layer of topcoat sealer over it.

how to clean saltillo tile flooring

With the earthy tones of Saltillo combined with authentic Mexican elements, you can create a captivating outdoor retreat that captures the essence of Mexico’s rich cultural heritage. So why wait? Dive into the world of Saltillo tile patio ideas and create your own Mexican-inspired paradise right at home. We’re here to help!

hexagon outdoor saltillo tile california
  • This outdoor patio is in northern California, exposed to rainy weather and cold temperatures.
  • The 12×12 Hexagon tile pattern in Sealed Traditional Saltillo tile was purchased for $7.50/square foot delivered.
  • Installation materials used include our 2-in-1 membrane for waterproofing the outdoor concrete slab and crack prevention, regular mortar mix for grout, and Terranano topcoat sealer in the extra low-gloss sheen.
  • Grout spacing is approximately 1/2″. Spacers were not used as per our recommendation.
  • Five years after installation, the floor still looks vibrant.
patio terracotta pavers
  • This covered porch is located in Austin, Texas. Rustico Tile & Stone installed the indoor and outdoor tile and Cantera stone columns and features.
  • 12×12 Sealed Antique Saltillo tile with 4×4 Talavera accent tiles was purchased for $5.75/sf delivered.
  • Installation materials used include our 2-in-1 membrane for waterproofing the outdoor concrete slab and crack prevention, regular mortar mix for grout, and TerraNano topcoat sealer in the extra low-gloss sheen.
  • The tile floor has an ‘older’ look due to the added effect of a grout rub. During installation, grout is purposefully left in the textured surface (before topcoat sealer was applied) to give the floor an older look, which is the homeowner’s personal preference.
  • Grout spacing is 1/2″.
  • Ten years after installation, the floor still looks vibrant, and a fresh coat of sealer has been applied.

6x12 spanish mission red
  • This covered porch is located in Albany, NY.
  • 6×12 Sealed Spanish Mission Red Saltillo tile was purchased for $7.50/sf, along with painted Talavera tiles.
  • Installation materials used include our 2-in-1 membrane for waterproofing the outdoor concrete slab and crack prevention, regular mortar mix for grout, and Crest Gloss topcoat sealer
  • This pattern is referred to as a basketweave pattern. 90% of the floor is the 6×12 rectangle tile with 10% of the floor being accent tiles.
  • Grout spacing is 1/2 – 3/4″ – some variation exists to accommodate for the accent tiles.
  • 17 years after installation, the floor still looks vibrant, and a fresh coat of sealer has been applied.

Follow us on social (@rusticotile) to see more Saltillo tile patio ideas from our customers worldwide!

Saltillo tile, a type of terracotta tile known for its warm, earthy tones, is commonly used in outdoor settings due to its weather-resistant properties. Its natural clay composition and unique manufacturing process make it durable and able to withstand various weather conditions. Saltillo tile maintains its integrity and terracotta colors over time, whether under the scorching sun or during heavy rain. For these reasons and its rustic look, Saltillo tile is a popular choice for outdoor patios, walkways, courtyards, and pool decks, including stair coping tiles. When properly sealed and maintained, Saltillo tile can continue to beautify outdoor spaces for many years.

The frequency of how often a Saltillo floor needs to be sealed depends on the quality of the topcoat sealer that was applied during the installation process. Over-the-counter sealers from home improvement stores have lifespans that usually range from 6 – 18 months. However, high-quality sealers for Saltillo tile are available from experienced sellers. Most high-quality sealers have lifespans of 5 – 15 years or more. The investment in a long-lasting sealer reduces costs and ongoing maintenance significantly.

Yes, any DIY enthusiast can install Saltillo tile flooring. The basic process for installing this type of flooring isn’t altogether different from installing other types of natural tiles like stone or concrete. Proper installation materials must be used, including sealer, for Saltillo tile. A professional flooring contractor is recommended for areas with subfloor complications.

However, with the right tools and knowledge, installing Saltillo floor tile can be a rewarding DIY project for homeowners looking to add a Spanish-style vibe to their outdoor spaces.

Different patterns and layouts of Saltillo tiles can completely change the look and feel of a patio area. From classic herringbone to intricate geometric designs, these tiles offer endless possibilities for creating unique, vibrant outdoor spaces that reflect Spanish-style decor. Saltillo tile patio ideas include endless possibilities with the combinations of color palettes and patterns available.

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