How is Saltillo Tile Made?
Saltillo clay is dug from the earth in its raw form. In man-made pits in the ground, water is added to humidify the clay for the curing process. Once the clay has been cured, it is then shaped by hand into molds. As these Mexican tiles dry in the sun, an occasional coyote, chicken, or dog may pass by and leave their foot prints on a few. This is a mark that you are getting authentic Saltillo tile. You can watch the entire process from start to finish in our video, featuring our partners in Mexico.
Manganese Saltillo tile is manufactured in the same process and of the same clay as normal Saltillo tile. When the clay is in its wet form, Manganese is added to the clay, and this changes the tile into a beautiful brown tile that has varying shades. Because the process is more involved, Manganese tile is slightly more expensive than normal Saltillo Mexican tile. Color/texture varies in Manganese tile, just as it does in traditional Saltillo tile. With manganese tile, the clay will also have swirling dark marks of manganese powder that is mixed into the clay, and colors of terra cotta will bleed through. These tile pavers will also have chips, cracks, and bumps. These are not defects; they are part of the rustic characteristics of this Mexican paver that people have enjoyed for centuries. No two Mexican tiles are the same. Each is unique and different.
Antique Saltillo is a hybrid of Traditional and Manganese finishes. Antique Saltillo tile has texture on the surface and is rubbed/sealed with manganese dioxide to give it an old world look. Terra cotta shades are also prominent, and every tile is different. See our installation gallery for photos, or contact us to request photos and samples. (Note: Extra amounts of the manganese dioxide powder can be added to the finish of these tiles to produce darker colors of what looks like reclaimed terra cotta tiles.