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Natives to Santa Barbara as we are here at Santa Barbara Stone Masters, one material in particular comes up in nearly every conversation we have about our business: Saltillo tile!

Saltillo tile is all but ubiquitous in our beautiful city.

It’s rust-colored facade, reminiscent of it’s cousin terra cotta, paves many a Santa Barbara floor and patio.

And we love it!

Originating from the Mexican city of the same name, Saltillo tile is not only gorgeous, but it is a part of our city’s heritage.

It is made up primarily of silica sand, and it’s color varies widely between deep, rusty red to a more yellow-orange, depending on the proportion of mineral and metal particles found within the mix.

Saltillo tile is very porous, and like terra cotta, it doesn’t have a natural glaze on its surface. As such, it can stain very easily, and is also very susceptible to efflorescence.

If you’re considering Saltillo tile for your floors, there are a few things you will need to know to maintain it well!

Because it is so porous, you’ll want to do a great job sealing your tile. There are many paths to take with sealer options for Saltillo.  It all depends upon how you want it to look.

Also, prior to sealing there are important steps to take such as:

  • Make sure it is well cleaned after you install
  • Make sure that the surface is free of any wax or any other topical coatings prior to re-sealing
  • Using the correct, non-acidic (PH neutral), cleaners so that you do not damage the tile.

As always, be diligent about cleaning and care. If you spill anything, even water, don’t wait to wipe it up! Mop up the liquid as best as you can and wipe your tile back down with dish-soapy water using the soft side of a sponge.

Dry it well!

And as with anything, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out.

Consider scheduling professional maintenance twice a year to extend the longevity of your Saltillo tiles from natural wear and tear. Don’t know who to call?

I’ve got a recommendation for you!

Santa Barbara is home to we here at Santa Barbara Stone Masters – if you couldn’t tell from our name! Whether it’s Saltillo tile or Carrara marble, nobody else in town can get your stone looking as good.

Give us a call today!

Skip Jankoski

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