Saltillo Tile FAQs

It’s handmade. It’s rustic. Every piece is unique.
We ship it worldwide. Everyday.

About Mexican Saltillo Tile

Saltillo tile is known to be a high-quality, long-lasting, and low-cost flooring choice. Compared to many types of stone products, porcelain, and ceramic tiles, Saltillo clay is inexpensive.

 

Prices vary throughout areas of the country due to shipping costs.  And prices also vary from the color finishes and patterns.  Overall, a 12″ dimension tile boasts the best value per square foot with many sizes close in the price range.

 

So how much does Saltillo tile cost? Generally, expect a Traditional Saltillo tile to cost from $2.50-$6 per square foot for full pallet (400 SF) quantities. Manganese, Spanish Mission Red, and Antique Saltillo colors are more expensive than Traditional Saltillo due to increased manufacturing expenses.

 

Get a Price Estimate for your Next Project – just fill out this short form or call us (512) 260-9111. 

 

We ship worldwide!

Super Saltillo has rounded corners and edges and a smoother surface with some irregularities. Regular Saltillo has sharp corners and edges with more variation in size, irregularities on the surface, and may have chips along the edges. “Super” does not mean “better”.  Both styles are considered rustic and our prices are exactly the same for Super & Regular Saltillo.difference between super and regular saltillo tilePin

Unsealed Saltillo tile is referred to as “Raw” or Terracotta tile.  It may contain efflorescence on the surface. Rustico’s sealed Saltillo tile comes with 5 coats of penetrating sealer applied to the clay. The tile is ready to install. Topcoat sealer is recommended after installation is complete.

Learn More → Why You Should Buy Sealed Saltillo Tile

This is one of the most common questions that we receive.  Yes! Saltillo tile is Terracotta tile.  But not all Terracotta tile is Saltillo tile. Clear as muddy clay?

So what is Terracotta tile?  Terracotta tile simply refers to the tile being made from clay (or from the earth).  Clay comes from a variety of places around the world.  But, Saltillo clay is special.  Saltillo clay tile is known to be the most durable clay in the world.  So, you’re fine referring to it as Terracotta tile.  We do too!  When you’re shopping for Terracotta tile, always look for Saltillo Terracotta tile so you benefit from its properties of durability!

 

We love when our customers want to know about How Saltillo Tile is 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 footprints 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.

Learn More → Ultimate Guide to Saltillo Tile Flooring

Shapes, Sizes, & Colors

Saltillo tile is offered in 4 Saltillo Tile Colors

  • Traditional (terra cotta shades)
  • Manganese (browns/Terra Cotta)
  • Antique (Old-world style)
  • Spanish Mission Red (terracotta colors)

Each Saltillo tile has the characteristic of an imperfect tile. The color finishes will have color variations that are completely normal and to be expected in natural clay tiles.

Once installed, the floor acquires the unique blend of colors that achieve its authentic, rustic look. It is impossible for us to send specific shades of tile. No two tiles will be the same. To obtain more consistency in color, it is advised to over-order and cull through shades of colors on the job site.

Additionally, colors will vary (sometimes drastically, sometimes minimally) from one manufacturing lot to the next.  We do not guarantee color matching because there are kiln-firing elements and weather elements that dramatically affect the finished color of the tile. It is advised to order enough tiles for your project at one time.

No two tiles are the same in size, shape, thickness, or color. Tiles are manufactured from an actual size mold (i.e., 12×12 tiles are made from a 12×12 inch mold). As these tiles are dried in the sun and fired in the kiln, water evaporates, and the tiles shrink down from their original mold size. This is normal.

For example, a 12×12 inch size mold generally produces finished tiles that measure 11.25-11.75 inches. Once these are installed, and grout lines are added, the installed space measures approximately 12×12 inches. Smaller tiles have fewer size variations, and larger tiles have more variations.

The same variations occur in tile shapes. Authentic handmade Saltillo tiles do not lay flat. As the water is evaporated in the firing process, the tiles will bow in shape. Smaller tiles will have less bowing than larger tiles. To accommodate the pillowed tile, an installer can simply “butter the back” of the concave shave to fill space with proper thinset and avoid having a hollow spot under the tile. This is standard practice.

Saltillo tile thickness varies because the tiles are handmade. Typically, the 12” tiles measure approximately 5/8” thick and 8” tiles measure approximately ½” thick. Tiles larger than 12″ in size will have increased thickness.

The average weight per tile for a 12″ Saltillo is 5.1-5.5 pounds. These are averages.  There will be variations to the metrics provided here. No two tiles are the same. To verify if our tile will work for your space, order samples.

 

Do you need help deciding what Saltillo tile pattern is best for your project? We’re here to help! Give us a call, send us your floor plans, or email some ideas.  We’ll help you find the perfect Saltillo tile pattern to fit your project space and budget.

Installation & Maintenance

For most projects, we recommend 15-20% overage to allow for waste, cuts, and borders. Decorative patterns require more overage for cuts than square patterns. Additional overage is recommended for large format tiles (16” and larger) because there is more waste in shipping and cuts during installation.  Any orders that run short of tile will be required to order a minimum of 200 square feet.  Please be certain to order enough tile initially.

Pro Tip: Many of our clients order excess overage (20-30%) for color selection. Yes, this results in ordering more tiles than you’ll install, but it allows you to sort through colors that you like best for your project.

Pro Tip: Colors of handmade Saltillo tile will vary (sometimes drastically, sometimes minimally) from one manufacturing lot to the next.  We do not guarantee color matching because there are kiln-firing elements and weather elements that dramatically affect the finished color of the tile. It is advised to order enough tile for your project at one time.

DIY Instructions → How to Install Saltillo Tile    

Saltillo tile can be installed in outdoor areas. This is a beautiful terracotta tile flooring choice on patios, around pools, and outdoors in the sunlight.

For climates with freezing weather, proper precautions must be taken to waterproof the flooring area (water barrier underlayment and topcoat sealer). The surface of the floor must be sealed properly and inspected prior to every winter.

We recommend the application of a waterproofing membrane for any outdoor installation on a concrete slab regardless of the climate.

Saltillo tile does not require specialty grout. Regular mortar mix is our go-to choice for grout.  It works great, looks great, and is inexpensive.

Most of our patterns and sizes are installed with an approximate 1/2″ grout joint.  We do not recommend installing handmade tile with a smaller grout joint due to the variations in size and thickness in the tiles.  But also, expect a wider grout joint in decorative shaped and large format tiles.

Apply one of our high-quality topcoat sealers across your finished floor as the final step to installation.  This last coat of sealer also seals grout lines.

Yes. A high-quality thinset must be used to install Saltillo tile.  We recommend a semi or full-modified thinset.  Do not use low-cost, cheap quality thinsets.  These will lead to tiles popping up from your subfloor in future weeks/months.

In most cases, we can offer free shipping for installation materials when those are purchased with your tile.  We offer wholesale prices for thinset, crack prevention & waterproofing membrane, and topcoat sealers.

Saltillo may be subject to efflorescence, and occasional lime pops. Clean efflorescence off unsealed tiles with V-Scrub.

Lime Pops are part of Saltillo riverbed clay. While these powdery deposits in the clay may never expose themselves, they can eventually pop, resulting in a small pit in the tile. To fix, apply a coat of sealer over the chipped area. This adds to the rustic charm of authentic Saltillo tile.

Lime pops and efflorescence are not defects.

Samples & Shipping

Saltillo tile is packaged in 48x48x48 inch wooden crates. The tile is not boxed. It is stacked, standing vertically row by row to fill the crate. Move the crates with forklifts and pallet jacks. It is not advised to stack the crates. Approximately 375-400 square feet can be shipped per crate for most shapes and sizes of Saltillo tile. There is a $22.50 fee per pallet.

pallet of saltillo tilePin

We offer flat-rate sample packs.

  • $30 pack includes 2 tiles and FedEx Ground shipping.
  • $35 pack includes 3 tiles and FedEx Ground shipping.

The samples will ship via FedEx ground unless expedited shipping is requested. The sample box cost is credited to orders over 500 square feet.

 ORDER SAMPLES.

There is a 200 square foot minimum for all orders.  At 200 square feet, a pallet is heavy enough to travel safely in shipping.  We do not offer orders at less than 200 square feet due to shipping complications.

A residential delivery includes a liftgate for unloading the pallet(s), and freight companies bill for the service of this liftgate and residential access. We contract with national freight carriers, and insurance is included.

The full-sized freight truck (an 18-wheeler in most cases) will need to have access in and out of the desired delivery location. Inside delivery is not available. Delivery can only be made on a flat, paved surface. If there are delivery concerns, please contact us prior to the shipping date.

Anticipated delivery issues are much easier and less costly to fix prior to material departing our warehouse. Any changes made to shipping after the material has left our warehouse will incur additional fees.

Freight companies are requested to call ahead to set an appointment for residential delivery. Deliveries are made Monday-Friday

A commercial delivery is considered to be delivered to any business location with a loading dock or a forklift. If no loading dock or forklift is available, a liftgate can be ordered to unload and incur an additional fee.

Freight companies deliver Monday-Friday during normal operating hours without any call-ahead notice.

Farm/Restaurant/Ranch/Hotel/Restaurant/Resort locations may incur additional fees.

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