Category Archives: Saltillo Tile

Presealed vs Unfinished Saltillo Tile

pre-sealed saltillo tile Saltillo tile is a durable, easy to clean flooring tile that originates from Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico. Often used in homes that wish to achieve a Southwestern decor, the tile is long lasting and looks beautiful when installed properly. Since the tiles are created in an unglazed state, saltillo tile requires sealing to protect the tile since saltillo tile is naturally very porous and will absorb moisture easily.

However, before installation there are a couple of options as to whether or not to have the tile pre-sealed (which is not a %100 seal) or to install the tile in an unfinished state.

Our recommendation for most people is to work with pre-sealed tile. Basically, pre-sealing is either done by applying an oil/solvent sealer to the tile or a water base sealer to the tile prior to installation. It’s important to note that this does not create a finished product as further sealing and finishing will need to be done after installation.

So why use pre-sealed tiles? Well, first, the grouting will be easier and the drying time will be significantly reduced. And, as we mentioned before, saltillo tile is very absorbent and there is a lot of moisture involved with the installation process. Tiles are cut with a wet-saw, the mortar used to set the tile is mixed with water, and the grout is also mixed with water. This can cause discoloration and undesired results of the look of the tile.

Pre-sealed tile will also be easier for the do-it-yourself or less experience tile installer as the color is set once the tile is pre-sealed, so you know exactly what you are working with. Note that pre-sealed tile is not ‘pre-finished’ which is a different process altogether. We recommend to hold off on finishing the tile until one week after the tile and grout installation. This will allow the tile to cure and will also create a finish for the grout as well.

With all that said, there are still contractors and installers that want to work with unfinished tile. This tile comes un-glazed and does allow for some coloring flexibility after installation. However, we highly recommend sealing should be done by true sealing professionals with this method and tiles should be applied with grout release to avoid any grout staining.

Should you have further questions regarding the installation or purchase of saltillo tile, please feel free to call us at either of our two location: Phoenix: 602-954-6272 | Tucson: 520.622.4352. We look forward to hearing from you!

Our Design Studios

If you want to see great examples of saltillo tile flooring and decorative tiling, you can visit our design studios located in Phoenix, Arizona or our location in Tucson, Arizona. Each location features a tremendous variety of tiling and showcase various ways to utilize tiles for design. If you are in the Phoenix or Tucson area, we encourage to visit our studios which we are certain will inspire you and provide unique ideas on how our tiles can improve the look of your home.

Phoenix Location: 2036 W Greenway Rd, Phoenix AZ 85023 | Phone: (602)954-6272
Tucson Location: 1148 E Broadway, Tucson AZ 85719 | Phone: (520)622-4352

Please enjoy this gallery of photo’s taken at each of the locations:

What to consider : Kitchen Remodel

A kitchen is not only the place where you prepare your meals but can also be a gathering place for dinner parties and family holidays. So a kitchen should accommodate what you need for cooking, and also provide the type of space you need for dining, storage, and entertaining guests. A kitchen should reflect your lifestyles and its decor should complement the architecture of your home. There are many things to consider when designing a kitchen, and the first step is setting goals for the space.

Kitchen RemodelA kitchen remodel can be a huge undertaking, so make sure you ask your self why you are doing it and what to you hope to accomplish as an end result. Do you want to add space by knocking out walls? Do you need a kitchen that is less cluttered and easier to clean? Will you be replacing the cabinets and counter tops? Do you need to add functionality to your kitchen with new appliances and ease of access shelving? Do you want to replace that old vinyl flooring with beautiful saltillo tile? (See how we worked that in?)

It’s also important to keep in mind how you use your kitchen. Track your daily routines there. Also consider how many people live in the house and who prepares the meals. Think of things such as whether the cook in the family is left-handed or right-handed. What type of meals do you cook in your home? What is the traffic pattern in your kitchen? How often do you dine there? Will you be using the space for entertaining? HGTV offers a helpful worksheet to help determine how you use your kitchen.

Let’s not forget perhaps the most important thing to consider, budget! Do research to find out how much items cost before starting. Don’t forget that you may not be able to do all the changes you want to do yourself, so figure in labor to your budget costs as well.

Here are some other things to consider:

  • Size of the space
  • Orientation of sunlight
  • Connection of kitchen to adjacent rooms
  • Homeowner’s lifestyle
  • Condition of the building

If you need help or design ideas on remodeling your kitchen, please call Mexican Tile and Stone today.

Variety of Saltillo Tile for Flooring

One of the great things about saltillo tile is its uniqueness. Each tile is hand-made and no two tiles are alike. There are many reasons for the color variations between tiles. The tiles are fired in a caves or kilns and as the oxygen is depleted, the fire seek other sources of fuel which it find in the iron oxide in the clay tiles. This process flashes the tile and leaves a light buff color on the tile. Other parts of the tile are shielded by other tiles, also contributing to the different coloring. Occasionally a color additive is added as well to produce a wider variety of tile.

The tiles can also be created in a variety of shapes and sizes. Please enjoy the pictures below which demonstrate the differences between tiles when used for flooring.

Remodel Your Bathroom with Decorative Tile

Considering remodeling your bathroom? Decorative tile can help you create a bold atmosphere in your bathroom. Tile is perfect for the bathroom as it is water resistant, easy to clean, and is more durable and longer-lasting than other materials. Additionally, there are so many shapes and sizes, the design options are almost endless! Please enjoy this slideshow of tiled bathrooms.

Tile Not Just For Flooring

When people think of tiling and saltillo tile, the generally think of using the tile for flooring. But in fact there are a wide variety of uses for tile. The decorative tile can be used for counters, walls, exhaust fan covering, pool decking, art framing, or just about anything you can think of. Please enjoy this slideshow of different uses for tiling and saltillo tile. If you would like to order or need more information regarding saltillo tile, please visit

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.

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.