How to Grout Saltillo Tile
Saltillo tile is a type of traditional Mexican tile that enjoys wide popularity in the Southwest and Western United States. It derives its name from the town in Mexico where it is still made. Saltillo is a terracotta-based tile made by pressing quarried clay into wooden molds, allowing it to dry in the sun and then firing it in ovens, creating its unique color range and texture. The procedure for grouting completes this unique tile finish and ensures years of lasting beauty and durability.
Clean all of the grout joints between the saltillo tiles using a small broom or vacuum to remove any dirt or debris.
Mix a quantity of grout mix following the manufacturer’s specifications for the area to be covered.
Place approximately three to four cups of the grout mixture on the tile’s surface along the grout joint, then press the grout into the gaps between the tiles by pushing the mixture back and forth across the grout joints at about a 45-degree angle with a sponge grout trowel. Fill the joints to where the grout mixture is packed solid and even with the top edges of the saltillo tiles.
Continue the grout application method in Step 3 to fill all of the grout joints.
Use a soft sponge, rinsed frequently with warm water, to smooth the grout and clean the cement haze from the saltillo tile’s surfaces. Allow the grouted joints to cure for a minimum of 48 hours before applying grout sealer.
- Fill a small bucket with clean water and use a sponge to moisten the joints just prior to grouting. Saltillo tile is very porous and keeping the joints moist as the grout is applied will help prevent the tiles from pulling the moisture out of the grout, allowing it to cure more slowly and thoroughly.
- Saltillo tiles must be thoroughly sealed with a penetrating sealer prior to beginning the grouting procedure to protect the highly porous tile surface from being stained by the grout mixture.
Paul Massey has been writing since 2009, drawing on a 35-year career in the construction industry. His experience includes 15 years as a general building contractor specializing in architectural design, custom homes, commercial development and historic renovations.
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