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Saltillo Tile Offers Rustic Elegance ...and a Grout Maintenance Challenge



Saltillo tile is a perennial favorite in Mediterranean homes. This warm, terra-cotta tile derives its name from the Mexican town where it was first produced. The tiles range in color from a soft reddish orange to amber yellow hues. They are traditionally cured in open fields, where the footprints of curious roaming dogs often end up embedded in the clay as it dries in the sun.

The Natural Radiance of Saltillo

With its golden coloration and soft sheen, Saltillo tile adds an earthy, rusticated charm and warm glow to great rooms, kitchens, dining rooms and just about any other space in the house. And it’s not only a traditional feature in Mediterranean architecture, but it also adds character to French Country, Southwestern and other rustic designs.

One thing that’s unusual about some traditional Saltillo tile compared to most ceramics, however, is the lack of a glazed topcoat When there’s no topcoat to protect it, proper sealing after installation is of paramount importance. Being highly absorbent in its natural form, it’s also susceptible to staining. A sealer can protect and maintain the natural look of the tile, while an enhancing sealer will alter the color to provide a somewhat deeper, richer appearance.

Due to its high porosity, Saltillo tile has very specific installation requirements, making this job best left to an experienced professional. While Saltillo tile is relatively inexpensive to purchase, it’s generally more costly to install, so you should take this into account when setting your flooring budget. Sealing requires special materials and training, as terra cotta will quickly absorb the standard low viscosity sealer. Pre-sealed Saltillo tile is widely available, but while this can help to some degree, you may not know the quality of the sealer or how many coats were applied.

A Big Opportunity for Stains

There’s also another reason for sealing Saltillo tile after installation— namely, the extra-wide grout lines that are a hallmark of the material. While traditional porcelain and ceramic tiles often have grout lines ranging from practically nonexistent to around 1/8” wide, Saltillo tiles frequently have 1/2”- to 3/4”-wide grout lines. And that’s a big opportunity for unsightly grout stains to ruin the look.

When grout is improperly sealed, it’s highly vulnerable to stains (just like your Saltillo tile). And even if you manage to clean the dirt in the first place — but leave the pores on the grout surface open— it’s just going to stain again the next time you wipe dirty mopping water over it while cleaning. But you can avoid this all-too-common problem.

MARBLELIFE is Your Grout Care Expert

MARBLELIFE knows how to properly seal your grout to prevent it from re-staining with dirty mopping water from regular cleaning. With a proper sealer and use of a high-quality cleaning product made specifically for tile and grout, such as MARBLELIFE Tile & Grout Cleaner (link to product page), you can keep your Saltillo tile looking great for years to come.

Sources: 
MARBLELIFE Blog
Wikipedia



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