terracotta details, installation and care
Our handmade terracottas are especially nice. They are formed by hand, kiln fired, and sealed at the factory. It is very important to understand that this is a handmade product and colour may vary from a butterscotch, warm caramel to rich orange, antique red tones and when put altogether, this creates an exceptional, handcrafted surface.
about saltillo terracotta tiles
We import Saltillo terracotta pavers directly from the manufacturer and stock them in our warehouse. The tiles are pre-sealed at the factory and require very little maintenance. They wear beautifully over the years, developing a patina unique to Saltillo handmade terracotta. The tiles are obtained from the same manufacturer because they have been producing the tiles for many decades and they make tiles of dependable quality. The terracotta pavers are formed by hand. They are made from clay that is dug out of the ground, hand-formed and fired in kilns. This is done under somewhat primitive conditions. Consequently, one should expect irregularities, possibly including but not limited to: finger prints, dog prints, lumps, bumps, wrinkles, dimples, blips, chips, fibers and brush marks. Colour variation occurs naturally from piece to piece and batch to batch so no two tiles are exactly alike. Banding, characterized by broad stripes of colour on the surface of the tile ranging from pale orange to dark red, is a result of the way the tiles are stacked in the kiln.
The clay from which the terracotta tiles are made is screened for particles of lime found naturally in the clay deposits. This is not an infallible process, as occasionally particles are missed or they are too small in size for the screen to catch. When this occurs and they are left in the tile, they expand and burst when they become wet. This phenomena even has a name “lime pops”. Their presence is not indicative of a defect, but is a characteristic of the tiles. Generally, if they are going to appear at all, they do so immediately after the installation, as there is considerable moisture involved in setting the tiles. They can be filled with a little grout if they are larger. Mass produced tiles mimic these eccentricities to try and emulate the original material.
These properties are what give Bullnose Tile Saltillo terracotta tiles their vitality and charm. Although the effect of these tiles is frequently copied, the machine-made imitators never capture the character, warmth, and distinction of the real thing. Bullnose Tile terracotta is timeless and has strength of character, exuding the sun-drenched languor of the type of life we would all like to live. We are confident that your Bullnose Tile terracotta will continue to delight you after many years and bring pleasure and happiness to your home.
installation & care
The following information is a general guideline. In most respects the installation of hand made tiles is no different from any other floor tile. Industry standards for the installation of ceramic floor tile must be followed to ensure good results.
The tiles should be installed using a high quality thinset with acrylic admix. The trowel size should be 1/2"x1/2" square notch. The individual pieces must be "back buttered" to ensure 90-100% bond to the substrate. Grout spacing should be approximately 1/2" between the tiles. This spacing can be adjusted to reflect personal preference. Allow washed tiles to completely air dry for at least 48 to 72 hours depending on temperature and humidity. Once completely dry, you may seal the tiles before grouting for added protection.
After grouting, sweep the floor with a soft broom to remove any remaining sand. Allow the grout to cure for 7-14 days. During this time or for a longer period if desired, cover the tiles with Kraft paper available at lumber yards. Tape the joints between the sheets. Any tape coming in contact with the tiles should be the non-sticky painter's tape. Do not use masking tape on the tiles! Covering the finished floor will slow the curing of the grout and make it stronger. It will also protect the floor from paint droplets, dry wall touch ups or any other construction detritus that may come its way. After removing the paper, wash the floor with clean water to remove any remaining sand from the grouting process. All sealed and unsealed terracotta must be re-sealed upon installation in order to fully protect terracotta from staining.
sealing instructions for factory sealed terracotta
To protect the factory finish and seal the grout we recommend the following steps. Allow the washed tiles to air dry for at least 48 hours depending on temperature and humidity. Following instructions on the bottle, use a paint pad to apply Aquamix Seal and Finish Low Sheen or Aquamix High Gloss Sealer. Apply the same number of coats to a scrap piece of tile. Test for resistance to oil and grease by allowing cooking oil to sit on the sealed scrap tile for 24 hours. If necessary, apply additional sealer. For added lustre and durability apply 2 coats of Aquamix Floor Shine and Hardener as a traffic coat. Additional Aquamix Floor Shine and Hardener should be applied once or twice a year, depending on the amount of traffic and wear.
Maintain the floor with a dilute concentration of dish soap and water or with Aquamix Tile and Grout Cleaner and water. DO NOT USE SOLVENT BASED PRODUCTS OF ANY KIND.
Felt pads bay be used under table and chair legs to protect the floor from abrasion. Scratch marks can be corrected with an additional coat of Aquamix Floor Shine and Hardener.
By following these installation and maintenance instructions you should be rewarded with many happy years of enjoyment.
*Please note that terracotta is a natural handmade product and to expect a 25-30% colour variation. It is recommended to sort through your tiles in order to randomly place the colours evenly so that you have the best overall look once the tiles are installed.