How to Stain Mexican Tile

Handmade Mexican tiles made from raw clay have a naturally porous surface that allows for the application of deep, lasting stains. Installed without any protective sealing, the fragile, sun-dried tiles have none of the protective glazing that resists wear. This means you'll have to stain the tiles immediately before you can complete the protective sealing process. Staining the tiles is a quick, relatively simple process.

Stained Mexican tiles are used indoors and outdoors.
  1. Vacuum the tiles to remove any loose dirt. Wash the tiles with a damp sponge to remove clay residue from the tile surface.

  2. Pour the tile stain into a shallow bowl. Undiluted stain creates a dark stain color with depth. Dilute the stain with water to create a more translucent covering on the tile. Mix the stain thoroughly to keep the pigment even throughout, using the stirring stick.

  3. Apply the stain to the tile with a tile sponge. Rub the stain into the each tile individually, using a left-to-right motion to apply the stain evenly. Apply a light layer of stain, taking care not to pool or streak the stain on the tile surface. If streaks occur, rub the stain off with a clean wet sponge and start the application over. Allow the layer of stain an hour to dry.

  4. Stir the stain again to distribute the pigments and then rub the second and final layer of stain onto the tile, using the same methods as the first. The second layer builds onto the first to give you the final depth and color desired. Allow the final layer of stain 24 hours curing time.

  5. Seal the stain on the tile by brushing on a coat of the saltillo tile sealer. Use the foam applicator to cover the tiles evenly with the sealant. Watch for any air bubbles that may develop when applying the sealant. Remove the air bubbles by lightly wiping across the bubbled surface with a damp hand towel. Allow the sealant to dry for 24 hours.

  6. Apply a second coat of sealant to the tiles. The extra coat is required because of the highly porous nature of the tiles. The second layer will also aid in protecting the stained color and provide a wear layer over the tile for protection from normal wear and tear during surface use. Allow the sealant another 24 hours time to cure before using the tiled surface.

About the Author

Larry Simmons is a freelance writer and expert in the fusion of computer technology and business. He has a B.S. in economics, an M.S. in information systems, an M.S. in communications technology, as well as significant work towards an M.B.A. in finance. He's published several hundred articles with Demand Studios.