Terra Cotta Tile

Saltillo Tile

Saltillo tile is one of the most… More info

Hand-Carved Stone

Cantera Stone

Cantera is a natural stone that… More info

Decorative Encaustic-Style

Cement Tile

Rustico Tile and Stone Encaustic… More info


Talavera Tile

We offer 2 types of Talavera Tile… More info

Sealed Saltillo Tile – Why Seal Again?

11 Feb, 2016 by Melanie O., in Blogroll, Installation Guide, Saltillo Tile, Sealers

If it’s already sealed saltillo tile, why do I need to seal it again? This is our question of the week.  And it’s a GREAT question!

99% of the time, we recommend that our customers buy sealed saltillo tile (also known as presealed saltillo).  In a nutshell, it’s the best value in the long run, requires the least amount of maintenance, and your installer will love you.

glossy saltillo tile Sealed saltillo tile from Rustico Tile and Stone has already been coated with 5+ layers of penetrating sealer.  This penetrating sealer for saltillo tile has a few benefits that are critical to enjoy a low-maintenance terracotta floor for many years.  With several coats of sealer added to the clay, the tile is naturally strengthened.  Saltillo clay is known for its durability, but when the clay absorbs multiple coats of sealer, it is fortified.  In short, a sealed saltillo tile is stronger than an unsealed saltillo tile. Don’t be fooled, however. Just because a seller of this Mexican tile says it’s sealed, it’s always worth asking the question “How much sealer does it have?”  If the clay tile has only been primed with 1-2 coats of sealer, it still has a long way to go to being fully sealed and to being as strong as it needs to be. Secondly, sealed saltillo tile is known for the rich terracotta shades of color that range from red, deep orange, golden and cream variations.  The penetrating sealer that we use to seal raw saltillo clay brings about these color enhancements.  Left unsealed, saltillo tile is very pastel in color and chalky in texture. Don’t you want your installer to love you?  Buying the tile already sealed makes it MUCH easier to install.  It’s ready to install as-is.  Your installer does not need to soak, clean, or seal the presealed tiles prior to installation.  It’s unnecessary and stands a greater risk for error if these things happen.  Install these tiles just how they’ve come shipped to you.

sealed saltillo tile

Saltillo Tile with Extra Low Gloss TerraNano topcoat Sealer

So back to the question of the week.  If it’s already sealed, why do you have to seal it again?  Sealed saltillo tile needs a final topcoat sealer.  Topcoat sealer will add several features to your saltillo flooring.

  1. Topcoat sealer removes most scuffs that happen on the surface of the tile during shipping and while its handled and installed.  These are simply surface marks and the coating of sealer is like an eraser to those marks.
  2. High quality topcoat sealers for saltillo will provide strong levels of scratch-resistance and UV protection.  This helps to preserve the beauty of saltillo floors for years.  It should also be easy to apply – no engineering degree necessary!
  3. Topcoat sealer seals the grout.  Gotta do it.
  4. Topcoat sealer adds the finishing touch to your floor with a sheen level of your choice.  The most popular request that we get is for an Extra Low Gloss (Satin) finish in TerraNano Sealer, but sealers are also available in Gloss or shiny finishes.  Pro tip:  Satin finishes show less dirt from shoes and dusty paw prints from animals.
  5. And most importantly – topcoat sealer on saltillo tile will dictate the level of maintenance that’s needed.  A good quality topcoat sealer should last several years and should be renewable.  This means that when it is finally time to reseal your saltillo floor, you should simply clean and then apply a fresh coat of sealer.  No stripping necessary – nor recommended.

Rustico Pro Tip:  Buy unsealed Saltillo tile if you wish to have a pastel, natural clay colored floor.  You can seal the unsealed saltillo tile with a sealer like our TerraNano saltillo sealer.  This is a non-color enhancing sealer that will soak into the clay.  You’ll need several coats and it will keep the natural clay color.  Alternatively, you can leave saltillo tile unsealed but it will stain with dirt and debris left unprotected. Check out some really beautiful floors that our customers have produced on our Pinterest page!  Be inspired! Disclaimer:  This information and advice is applicable to sealed saltillo tile manufactured and sold by Rustico Tile and Stone.  We can’t speak on behalf, nor offer advice, about tile that we have not supplied.  

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Rustico Tile and Stone – Who are we?

03 Feb, 2016 by Melanie O., in Blogroll

Rustico Tile and Stone – who are we, you ask?

Here’s the boring answer:  Rustico Tile and Stone is the leading supplier for all things Mexican Tile and Stone.  We are the largest manufacturer for authentic saltillo tile in Mexico.  We also specialize in Cantera stone, Talavera tiles, Cement tile, and installation materials.  We sell.  We ship (everywhere!).  We install (in Texas).  We advise.  That’s the official answer to describe Rustico Tile and Stone.

But who ARE we – Rustico Tile and Stone?  We’re a team of 6 people in Texas.  Four of us are in the office talking to you everyday.  We talk to you more than we talk to our families.  And that’s ok!  Two of us are living the warehouse-life packing your tile.  (It’s not glamorous but someone’s got to do it.)  One of us is a foreman on jobsites where we install tile and do all sorts of remodeling projects.  But wait… there’s more.

We also have 22 tiles installers that run around the state of Texas making floors look pretty and functional.  And most importantly, we (on the USA side of the border) represent over 200 people in Mexico who work arduously to hand-craft your tile.  Rustico Tile and Stone in Mexico is a huge part of our team – creating saltillo tile piece-by-piece, carving Cantera stone inch-by-inch, and creating artwork tile-by-tile in both Cement and Talavera tiles.

That’s who we are.  We’re not fancy, rich, or famous.  But we’re hardworking people who genuinely like our jobs, our customers and our products.  It really doesn’t get much better than that.

I’d like to introduce you to our office and warehouse staff – because that’s who most of you will “meet” virtually on the phone and via email.

tile packers

Let’s start with the guys – This is Kyle and Brandon.  Both are young, dapper gentlemen who jam out to all sorts of musical varieties in our warehouse while they pack crates of saltillo tile.  They have our system down to a science.  I’d put these guys up against anyone in the industry packing pallets of tile.  Their job is to pack the right tile, the right quantity, and label it for shipping to the right person – and we set high expectations for undamaged tile deliveries.  These guys meet those expectations.  Did I mention that they do a great job?  Kyle works 2 jobs and is a college student.  Brandon is also a college student.  They don’t complain when it reaches our 105 degree temps and they glove up in cold winter days.  (Well, “winter” in Austin is a subject term.)

tiffany at rustico

Tiffany – oh our Tiffany.  We just love this girl.  She is one of the most knowledgeable people here because she’s been putting up with us for several years.  Tiffany has a couple of young kiddos and an extremely busy life with her husband!  She’s one of our hardest workers and has a heart for our customers.  A BIG heart for our customers.  Need saltillo flooring advice?  Have cement tile or talavera design questions? Need shipping questions answered? Or just want someone to cheer you up?  She’s your girl.  Every. Time.


Kathy.  Meet Kathy.  She’s our newbie – still learning the ropes around here.  We “kinda” like her – a lot! In an office as small as ours, personality is a huge make-or-break quality.  When some of us are flustered, Kathy stays upbeat.  I think I may start calling her Tigger.  Kathy has a teenage daughter (Have Mercy!) and a sweet husband.  Kathy is your go-to girl for questions like “Where’s my tile?”, “How do I pay for it?”, or “Uh no, I have a problem.”  Talk to Kathy.

ray melanie

Ray and Melanie (yours truly).  We own this circus.  I say that with some trepidation laced with pride. We have spent the last 11 years of our lives learning everything there is to know about Mexican tile and stone.  You see, our Rustico Tile and Stone company, is more than our business.  It’s our mission from God (yep, we love Jesus… a lot).  We continue to be humbled by the responsibility for employing people and impacting lives.  It became clear very early in our business that is not just about saltillo tile flooring.  It’s our delight, our anguish, our struggle, and our fun.  We go to sleep at night recognizing that 200+ people in Mexico rely on our small-staff’s productivity here in Texas.  And we love it.

Ray and I genuinely try to help people – our staff, our customers, and our community.  While we’re far from perfect (very far!), we care a lot and we have good intentions.  Since starting our business 11 years ago, we’ve created our family and now have 2 young kids.  They are our biggest delight.  Maybe one day they’ll be running this thing…or doing something really normal and great.  We never thought we’d create careers that started out with pushing pieces of clay.  But THAT’s who we are at Rustico Tile and Stone.  We’re still arriving and pushing to be better for you, our awesome-est customers!

P.S.  If you ever find yourself in the Austin area visiting our beloved hippies, hiking the hill country, or enjoying live music — swing on by!  We’d love to meet you!


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Custom Cement Tile -Creole Cottage Style

28 Jan, 2016 by Melanie O., in Blogroll, Cement Tile, Interior Design

Get your custom cement tile just like our customer has done in New Orleans!

More pictures to come but we just couldn’t wait to post a few of these hot-off-the-press customized Cement Tiles!  Custom cement tile is growing in popularity though the original (encaustic tile) has been around for centuries.  Cement tile bodes well for our high foot traffic homes and businesses today because the pigmented cement is super durable.  Interior designers jump at cement tile because it serves 2 useful purposes – design and function.  Tile does what tile does – but cement tile adds an element of artwork to any space.

How did Kingcake RealEstate do it?  It’s easy!

  1. Pick a cement tile design (from the Traditional Cement Tile Collection) – and if you don’t see what you’re looking for on our website, send a photo of what you find elsewhere!  Super easy!
  2. Select your custom cement tile colors!  Not sure what colors to choose?  Order samples! Touch it, feel it, hold it up to curtains or pillows.  Whatever floats your boat.
  3. You can use our online design tool to play around with designs and colors. Just contact us to request access to the online design tool.
  4. Order your custom cement tile design.  Pay for it.  (Kind of an important step that you don’t want to skip!)
  5. BOOM!  We make it and ship your custom cement tile directly to you!

Stay tuned for more photos as this project progresses.  Check back on occasion for project pictures during this cement tile installation and for final pictures when the project is complete.

Need tile quick?  You can also check out our MeaLu Collection Cement tile.  This collection offers in-stock tiles at our most affordable prices. Contact us to get a look like this and a price estimate.  We will help you find what you need within your budget.


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Saltillo Tile Shipping Right to You

26 Jan, 2016 by Melanie O., in Blogroll, Saltillo Tile, Wholesale Distribution

Did you know that Rustico Tile and Stone offers Saltillo Tile shipping directly to your home or construction site? Our formula for buying and receiving Saltillo Tile is simple.

  1. Work with one of our Saltillo tile specialists to select your tile.
  2. Order your beautiful Saltillo floor tile.
  3. Determine an ideal Saltillo tile shipping location (more details below).
  4. Voila! Saltillo tile shipping en route!

And so you’re asking, “What makes for an ‘ideal Saltillo tile shipping location’? Sit down – enjoy this free lesson on freight deliveries.

Generally speaking, most Saltillo tile shipping happens via freight. Freight shipping is different than Ground shipping (like the Amazon prime boxes that you excitedly accept from UPS or Fedex delivery drivers). Freight deliveries are made by Freight trucks. In some instances, it’s a full-sized 18-wheeler or a smaller pup truck. Either way – it’s not an Amazon Prime delivery so it’s important to adjust your expectations a bit.saltillo tile shipping

We ship our Saltillo tile in crates that are built to pallets. The saltillo tiles are not boxed – they’re packed neatly row by row into a crate. When you receive a delivery, the upside is that you can immediately see and inspect the condition of your hot-off-the-press saltillo tile.

Visualize this. A normal crate (for Rustico Tile and Stone) is basically a 48x48x48 inch wooden box. A full crate of saltillo tile (about 400 square feet +/-) weighs 2,500 pounds. Yep, it’s heavy. Very heavy. Hence, freight shipments happen differently than small package shipments. A freight delivery driver is not going to attempt getting a 2,500 pound pallet of Saltillo tile through your door. It’s just not possible.

To receive a freight shipment of saltillo tile, you must have a flat and paved delivery location. This location must be accessible for a full-sized freight truck to get in AND out of a location. When we set up residential deliveries, there is a liftgate accessory on the delivery truck. This liftgate is the mechanism that unloads the crate of tile to the ground at your delivery location. Since these crates are heavy, your delivery driver cannot push the crate up or down a hill, over a curb, or along a gravel driveway. Plan ahead and think through your delivery location. Once your crate of Saltillo tile is unloaded, that’s where your installer’s job begins.

At Rustico Tile and Stone, Saltillo tile shipping is done with national freight carriers – not in the back of homegrown pickup trucks. It’s important that people with the right know-how and equipment are hired to make these types of deliveries. Once we ship out your Saltillo tile, we send you the contact information for the freight company.  You can then set up a convenient appointment time to receive your delivery of Saltillo tile.  (Tip:  It’s always a good idea to have someone strong on site at the time of delivery.  Most freight truck drivers are happy to help push the crate of tile to a specific location if they have some help pushing those heavy crates.  Technically, the driver only has to unload the crate of tile from the truck… but most of these guys and gals are happy to go the extra mile for your satisfaction, given some extra muscles on site.)

Need Saltillo tile shipping to a business, farm or ranch? No problem – saltillo tile deliveries to businesses are even easier, especially if a forklift or loading dock is on site.

If you’re not sure if your location can receive a freight delivery of saltillo tile, just call us. We can look at a satellite view of your project site and talk through alternatives. Where there is a will, there is a way!

Make Every Space Count with beautiful Saltillo floor tile.

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Unsealed Saltillo Tile Dilemma

21 Jan, 2016 by TileWholeSaler, in Cleaners, Installation Products

We say it several times a day – buy presealed instead of unsealed Saltillo tile to save money and avoid headaches.  If you want to stain saltillo tile a different color, buy unsealed tile.  If you have an old saltillo floor that needs some matching tiles, buy unsealed saltillo tile.  Otherwise… just buy presealed tile.

Let me tell you about a phone call we received yesterday about unsealed saltillo tile.

A customer purchased 200 square feet of unsealed 8×8 saltillo tile last fall.  She’s remodeling her kitchen in the northeastern part of the U.S.  Her installer soaked the unsealed tiles in water prior to installing the tile — which was the advised method 20 years ago before presealed saltillo tile was on the scene.  Not advised anymore!

Fast forward a couple of weeks.  It’s time to grout the saltillo floor.  White haze has appeared on the surface of these saltillo tiles.  They’ve washed, rewashed, and washed the tiles multiple times trying to remove it. The white haze disappears but comes back with a vengeance.  She calls us looking for advice.

Lawdy… here we go.  unsealed saltillo tile

The white haze is efflorescence.  With the soaked tiles saturated in water, that water must slowly evaporate out of the saltillo tiles.  In this slow process, it’s bringing minerals from within the clay up to the surface.  When they try to wash it away, they are compounding the problem by adding water.  Water is the enemy of unsealed Saltillo tile.  Every. Time.

What can they do to fix this problem?  Our customer has now purchased an acid etcher/cleaner (V-Scrub) which will remove the efflorescence from unsealed saltillo tile.  The floor needs to dry out for as long as possible (weeks is ideal).  Their project is delayed to get this fixed.  By weeks.  The cost isn’t excessive – about $200 to get it fixed for 200 square feet.

All of this could have been avoided had they purchased presealed saltillo tile  – which was only $40 more for 200 square feet of tile.  In the end, buying unsealed saltillo cost this customer excess of $450.  This extra cost includes: fixing the efflorescence and cost of several coats of sealer – labor cost is not included.  (Reminder – presealed Saltillo tiles was only $40 more than the purchase price on Unsealed Saltillo tiles.)

Presealed saltillo tile from Rustico Tile and Stone comes with 5+ coats of penetrating sealer.  It’s ready to install as-is.  Lay it down.  Clean it up.  Apply a topcoat sealer.  Voila – a floor that will outlast lifetimes with very little maintenance.

Tip:  If you’re buying sealed saltillo – make sure it’s fully sealed and not just “primed”.  How do you know?  Ask the supplier how many coats of sealer are applied to the clay.  1-2 coats does not cut it and results in more cost, more time, more headache.


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