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Advantages of Saltillo Tile

Advantages of Saltillo TileMany people wonder what the advantage of have Saltillo flooring is? Well there are several advantages to using Saltillo tiles.

Tile flooring has the advantage of helping people who have allergies as it does not trap as much dust and dander as carpet.

Saltillo tile will last much longer than carpets, linoleum, and even some wood floors.

Environmentally Friendly
Saltillo tile is all natural as it is made from clay found in the Northern Mexico area of Saltillo. After he clay is formed into tiles, it is dried in the sun and then fired in kilns or caves. Occasionally, they will have the footprint of a dog or child which makes for a wonderful conversation piece in your living room.

Variety in Color
There is a great variety in the colors of the tiles depending on the positioning of the tile in the kiln.

Cooler In the Summer
Anyone who lives in a hot climate like Arizona knows that tiles help keep your house cooler.

Easy to Care For
Because Saltillo of the color of Saltillo Tile, it tends to hide the dirt. But even when it needs to be cleaned, a quick sweep or vacuum is generally all that’s needed. In the event you do need to mop Saltillo Tile, you can just use water, diluted vinegar (1 part vinegar to 10 parts water), or a floor cleaner made for clay tiles.

Re-seal to Restore Shine
If you wish to restore the original shine of your Saltillo tile, you can reseal it every year or two. However, re-sealing is optional and you may not even need it except in high traffic areas.

Designing with Saltillo Tile

One of the great aspects about saltillo tile is the wide variety of styles, shapes, textures, and colors you can use. Each tile has it’s own characteristic which provide ample opportunity for creating unique designs for flooring, decking, counters, etc. With saltillo tile, you have the option of using unfinished (or ‘unsealed’) tile or pre-sealed tile. The advantage of using an unsealed tile is you have coloring options after installation, whereas a pre-sealed tile has a committed color range that occurs during the sealing process. Here are a few designs than exemplify the wide range of designs that can be created with saltillo tile :

What Makes Good Saltillo Tile?

Saltillo Tile FlooringSaltillo tile is an unglazed clay floor tile made in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico. The tile is processed from regional clay deposits which are considered the finest natural clay deposits anywhere. Here is a brief description of how it is made:

  • First, the clay is excavated
  • The clay is cleaned, sifted, then mixed with water
  • Tile shapes are formed while the clay is still wet
  • The tiles are placed and dried in the sun (Rain can cause the process to be delayed)
  • Lastly, the dried tiles are fired in caves which are used as kilns.

What determines the quality of the tile is how clean the clay was before the tile was made. Unfortunately, high market demands for Saltillo tile can cause the process to be rushed resulting in unclean clay. So what is considered clean clay? Typically when the clay is excavated from high banks of the river and then machine sifted, the clay comes out cleaner. Some suppliers buy tiles where the clay is dug out of riverbeds and not sifted, causing the clay to contain impurities and other material which results in much lower quality Saltillo tile.

Standard Saltillo tile is handmade without machinery involvement. That gives each tile it’s individualism. The tile is primitive, irregular, and usually has small chips, cracks, and bumps. It’s these imperfections that add character to the tile which results in a very rich and unique look when used for flooring, pool decks, and other applications.

If you are interested in having Saltillo Tile installed, please contact Mexican Tile and Stone at 602-954-6272/Phoenix or 520-622-4352/Tucson .

What Causes the Color Variations in Saltillo Tile?

saltillo_pool_deckWhen the tiles are cured in caves (or kilns), the tiles are stacked on end, overlapping slightly, so that they will not fall over. Before firing, the kiln is sealed with clay to prevent heat from escaping. Then fire is started at the bottom of the cave and fuel is added to increase the heat until the proper temperature is reached. Obviously, fire will not burn without oxygen, and at some point during the firing process the available oxygen in the atmosphere in the cave is used up. The flame then seeks the next available source of oxygen which it finds in the form of iron oxide in the clay tile, and burns it, flashing the surfaces of the tile. The light buff color in the tile is the area that was flashed; the peach color in the tile is the area, which is shielded from the flame by other tiles. The color of the tile is also effected by:

  • How the tile is stacked in the kiln.
  • How the flame/heat is controlled inside the kiln.
  • Whether or not a color additive is added to the clay during the manufacturing process (see the section on Moreno Saltillo tile.)
  • Sometimes a green hue is apparent from the firing process.

Saltillo Tile for your pool deck!

saltillo tile outdoor pool deckingWhile there are many uses for saltillo tile, on of our favorites is for pool decking.  Saltillo tile is perfect for giving your pool deck a unique and stylish look.  If you are considering remodeling your outdoor patio and pool deck area,  we strongly recommend using saltillo tile. If you have any questions regarding installation or how we can improve the look of your pool area, please contact us at 602.954.6272 for a free at-home consultation.