Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ode to Saltillo


Saltillo tile, traditionally created from the clay of the clay pits around the area of Saltillo, Mexico, is the flooring I have throughout my house (with the exception of the bedrooms).

I love it, I have always loved it, and I will always love it.

I love the way it looks under rugs, especially rugs that have red in the pattern.


Here are the reasons the experts say you should not love it:

It is extremely porous and must be sealed thoroughly.

I don’t care.

If you ever make a mistake with the sealer, you will need to have the floor stripped and re-done. Good luck with that.

I don’t care.

When installed, it must cure and be washed with muriatic acid. The term ‘proper ventilation’ doesn’t even begin to address the issue of muriatic acid.

I don’t care.

If saltillo doesn’t dry fully after installation and sealer is applied, salt may rise to its surface, becoming trapped under the sealer. Charming.

I don’t care.

Saltillo is either called super saltillo or regular saltillo. I like regular. It has character. Because it is dried outside, rather than fired in a kiln ,you may even find paw prints in its surface (from the neighborhood dog who ran through the drying racks).

I don’t care.

Saltillo is fairly hard on your feet, if you go barefoot in your house as much as I do.

Guess what? I don’t care.

I love saltillo.

Note: The most recent load of saltillo that I purchased cost about 90 cents a tile. I have never paid more than $1.00 a tile. Installation is usually $1.00 a tile. Because it is a 12 inch square, that is a cost of $2.00 a square foot for the tile plus installation. Other materials needed are thin set and grout. I have always used the regular concrete color for my grout. My mother stained her saltillo. I do not recommend that. It was beautiful, but it increases the need for maintenance.


Joy said...

That is beautiful tile and the colors are so warm.
I have slate in my kitchen. It's definitely rough and needs to be sealed probably. The color tone is different than yours, but I love having it in my house. It always feel cool in the summer.


Jennsmere said...

Loved reading about your love for Saltillo!! I'm that way about my new porcelain tiles...looks like a rough version of white it!

By the way...I hope you don't mind, but I have tagged you at my pressure if you are not inclined to participate.

Anxious to know more about you...

Faye said...


LuLo Designs/Blue Eyed Tango said...

Thanks for this information on Saltillo! I think it's beautiful!

trish said...

Your floors are gorgeous! I can see why you love it like you do. :o)
Sincerely ~ Tricia Anne

Cathy~Mille Fleur said...

Beautiful always wins over least in my book;)!!! I'm with you...I love saltillo tile!!!

Have a wonderful day!!!

The Stylish House said...

I love your Saltillo tile, and would not care either if it was mine. What a beauty and such rich colors. I also appreciate your first hand information on its care and maintenance, because someone’s experience is invaluable.

Domestic Designer said...

Beautiful, beautiful tile! The colors are the earth! Have a great day!

Rebecca Nelson said...

I LOVE the tile! We are going to be doing a complete kitchen remodel soon and this TILE is GORGEOUS!

Thank you for sharing. I'm still smiling at your muse...

Blessings to you, Rebecca

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Laura, I love Saltillo tile also. We have had it in a past house and it is cool to the touch and I think so easy to take care. I also love the patina it takes on over time. Also thank you for the wonderful award. I have included you in the currest post I have. I so thank you for thinking of me. I appreciate your kindness and generosity in all your visits and comments. Your blog has become such a favorite, I always look forward to your posts. Thank you again, Hugs, Marty

Lavender Chick said...

I, too, am a lover of saltillo. One of these days I would love to get our whole house done in it. For now, I had to settle with only the vanity in the powder room - but I love it! Yes, the regular saltillo is the best and I love the flaws and character of it. And yes, there is a big ole dog print in the saltillo in the powder room. It's one of the favorite things in my house! I'll have to send you a picture.

Oh - I'm back... I was out of town for a week on business and just got behind on blogging.

Susie Homemaker said...

Your tile is very nice...I love the blends of color...


xinex said...

Laura, I love that tile, it's gorgeous. No wonder you like it so much, I don't blame you a bit, I am with you all the way...Christine

Anonymous said...

I love your floors. If not for a spinal issue I too would use tile. But I must have something with more give underfoot. It would be great in a sun room though!! Hmmmm... love it.


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