Saltillo Tile FAQs

everything you need to know

Saltillo Tile FAQs #1 question – 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 holds. 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.

What is the difference between Super and Regular Saltillo tile?

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. Both styles are considered rustic.

What is the difference between sealed and unsealed Saltillo tile?

This is one of the important Saltillo Tile FAQs.  Unsealed is referred to as “Raw” or Terra Cotta and 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.

Authentic Saltillo Tile

how it's made

How is saltillo tile packaged and shipped?

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. Crates can be moved with forklifts and pallet jacks. It is not advised to stack the crates. Approximately 400 square feet can be shipped per crate for most shapes and sizes of Saltillo tile. There is a $10 fee per crate.

How much does Traditional Saltillo tile, Manganese Saltillo, tile or Antique Saltillo tile cost?

This is the most popular Saltillo Tile FAQs.  Our wholesale prices on Saltillo tiles are the lowest prices available in the Mexican tile industry. Discounts are available for large quantity purchases and for our Retail Stores. Manganese Saltillo and Antique Saltillo tiles are more expensive than Traditional Saltillo tiles. Request a quote online and enjoy wholesale prices with LOW shipping rates.

Is there a minimum order requirement?

There is a 200 square foot minimum for all orders.  At 200 sf, a pallet is heavy enough to travel safely in shipping.  We do not offer orders at less than 200 sf due to shipping complications.  (If you need a smaller amount of tile, consider tiling another area or offloading the excess locally through Craigslist.)

What is considered a Residential/liftgate delivery?

A residential delivery includes a liftgate for unloading the pallet(s). Delivery is made by a national freight carrier 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 a residential delivery. Deliveries are made Monday-Friday.

What is considered a Commercial delivery?

A commercial delivery is considered to be delivered to any business location that has a loading dock or a forklift. If no loading dock or forklift is available, a liftgate can be ordered for unloading and will incur an additional fee. Freight companies will delivery Monday-Friday during normal operating hours without any call-ahead notice. Farm/Restaurant/Ranch/Hotel/Resort locations may incur additional fees.

How much are samples?

A samples box is a flat fee of $30 or $35 and includes 2 or 3 tiles showing color variations. The samples will ship via FedEx ground unless expedited shipping is requested. The samples box cost is credited to orders over 500 square feet. Contact us to order samples.

Can I choose specific colors for my order?

Saltillo tile is offered in 3 Saltillo TIle Colors: (1) Traditional (terra cotta shades) (2)Manganese (browns/Terra Cotta) and (3) Antique (Old-world style). Each Saltillo tile has the characteristic of an imperfect tile. Each finish will have color variations which 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.

♦ Learn More about Colors and Tile Patterns in the Ultimate Guide to Saltillo Tile Flooring.

How thick is Saltillo?

Saltillo 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. Average weight per tile for a 12″ Saltillo is 5.1-5.5 pounds. These are only 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.

Are there size and shape variations?

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. As an example, 12×12 inch size molds generally produce finished tiles that measure 11.25-11.75 inches. Once these are installed and grout lines added the installed space once again 12×12 inches. Smaller tiles have fewer size variations and larger tiles have more variations. The same thing occurs in shape. 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 for 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.

The Hands of Architecture

this is why it's rustic

What is the recommended Overage?

15% overage is recommended to allow for waste, cuts, and borders for standard installations. If installing a pattern, more overage is recommended. Additional overage is recommended for large format tiles (16” and larger) because they are very fragile to ship. 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.

Can I install Saltillo tile outdoors?

Saltillo tile can be installed in outdoor areas. This is beautiful tile 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.

What is a lime pop/efflorescence?

Saltillo may be subject to efflorescence and occasional lime pops. Efflorescence can be cleaned off of 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 leaving a small pit in the tile. To fix, simply apply a coat of sealer over the chipped area. This adds to the rustic charm of authentic Saltillo tile.

How do I retail your Saltillo tile products at my store?

If you would like to retail any of our products, contact us directly for prices. We will provide you with retail pricing information, marketing support, and we will educate you and your staff about our product.

We hope you’ve found these Saltillo Tile FAQs to be helpful.  Check back often for updates and more answers.  Ready to shop for tile?  Get a quote today!  We promise a lowest price guarantee and ship it to you.

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