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

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Talavera Tile

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Saltillo Tile Grout Tips

05 Apr, 2016 by Melanie O., in Installation Guide, Mexican Tile, Saltillo Tile

Did you know that your Saltillo Tile Grout has the power to transform the look of your floor?  Here we address the types of grout that can be used in saltillo floors.  We also speak to colors of grout and best practices for cleaning and maintaining beautiful grout lines.

Since authentic saltillo tile is handmade, there are variations in size and thickness from tile to tile. They’re like snowflakes – every tile is unique.  So, when saltillo tile is installed, your installer needs to pay careful attention to the grout spacing.  Traditionally, saltillo floors have wide grout lines.  The average grout line is 1/2 – 3/4-inch.  This wide grout line accommodates the size variations from tile to tile.

saltillo tile grout


And since you’ll have these glorious grout lines – they play a big impact into the overall look of your floor.  Here are some things to consider.

Most importantly, there are 2 types of grout recommended for clay tile floors.  

Regular Mortar mix (or Masonry Mix) is most traditional and is the least costly option.  About 95% of our customers use regular mortar mix.  You can find several different brands of this masonry mix and they all do just about the same thing.  So if you’re looking to save on cost, here’s where you do it.  Just make sure your installer uses plenty of the mix smushed into the grout lines and joints. (Yes, I used the word “smushed”.  It’s very technical.)  The finished color of mortar mix is light cement gray.  It can be stained with concrete stain, however.

stained grout

Spreading custom stained mortar mix used as grout

saltillo tile grout

Mortar Mix that our installers prefer

Sanded Grout is your other option.  This is a mixture of sand and cement.  The only reason that we recommend sanded grout is for the purpose of color selection.  There is some shrinkage with sanded grout so the same advice goes for using ample grout – smush it into the joints really well.  Sanded grout is a more expensive option than regular mortar mix.

mixing saltillo grout

It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it! Mixing up Grout.

Now let’s talk about colors.

If you choose to stain mortar mix, it’s very important to precisely measure the amount of stain into a bag of mix.  You need to do it exactly the same – every single time.  If more stain is mixed into one batch compared to other batches, there will be variation in the finished grout color.  Just stay precise and consistent.  And remember – as grout dries, the color will lighten.

mortar grout

Traditional Mortar Mix Grout – Cement Gray in Color

So which grout color should you choose?

Tried and True – Gray.  Like we said, mortar mix is most traditional as seen above.  Saltillo tile grout can be found in this light cement gray color around the world.  Veer off the beaten path and we might call you a fellow hippy.  Maybe.

hexagon saltillo tile

Contrasting color of grout used with Manganese Hexagon Saltillo Tile

Contrasting color.  Consider a contrasting color if you’re installing a fun saltillo tile pattern like hexagon, herringbone or our Riviera pattern.  The contrasting color of saltillo tile grout helps to accentuate your chosen pattern.  Patterns are “in” so get crazy!

stained saltillo tile grout

Stained chocolate Saltillo Tile Grout blends with Cantera Stone inserts

Neutral color.  Did you select Manganese or Antique Saltillo?  These have some neutral earth tones in the clay that can be matched up in grout color.  Neutral colors tend to blend the floor and de-emphasizes the saltillo tile grout joints.

Lastly, let’s take a look at cleaning and maintenance suggestions.

Your saltillo tile grout needs to be sealed.  Most of our customers buy presealed saltillo and apply topcoat saltillo tile sealer to the tile after it’s installed.  This topcoat sealer seals the grout too so  – easy peasy.  If you’re not topcoat sealing your saltillo floor, then you need to seal the grout lines separately.  By sealing your saltillo tile grout, you’re preventing stains from happening over time.

sealed saltillo tile grout

6×12 Saltillo Tile with Extra Low Gloss Sealer applied to Tile and Grout

What most people forget is that this grout needs to be resealed every several years (this depends on the lifespan of the saltillo sealer you used).  Dark grout colors show less dirt and muck than light colors show.  As you apply sealer to the grout lines, it will absorb deeply into the joints.  You may need to apply several coats of sealer to fully protect the grout lines. As a tip – pour a little water into your grout joints when you think you’re done sealing the floor.  If it soaks right in, you need more sealer.

outdoor saltillo tile

Mortar Mix used as grout with outdoor Antique Saltillo Tile

Saltillo Tile Grout is an important decision when it comes to these Mexican clay floors.  On the bright side – grout is an inexpensive part of your project.  Consider function and beauty to make the best decision for your flooring.  Make Every Space Count!

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Regular or Super Saltillo Tile

17 Mar, 2016 by Melanie O., in Mexican Tile, Saltillo Tile

Regular or Super Saltillo Tile – Which style is right for your flooring space?

By definition, Super Saltillo tile has rounded corners and edges; whereas, Regular Saltillo tile has sharp corners and edges.  There are several differences between the two styles.  To understand which is best for your space, we’ll first take a look at the similarities between the two styles.


Price:  We don’t want price to be an influence on whether you pick the right tile for your flooring project.  So, since it costs us the same to produce super saltillo as it does regular saltillo, we charge the same price for each.  Contrary to most other sellers of this terra cotta flooring, we don’t charge a premium for “super” as an effort to exploit many people’s thoughts that Super must mean “better”.  This just isn’t the case.  It costs the same to make either style so we sell them for the same price.

Octagon Super Saltillo Tile

Rounded Corners and Edges

Colors:  The colors are the same in each style.  The edging differences have no impact on the color of this terra cotta clay. None. Zero. Zilch.  If you order samples of tile from us, you may get a Super that has more terracotta colors.  You may get a Regular with more golden shades in it.  This does not mean that Regular will be primarily golden in color.  Each style has a proportionate amount of color variation that is typical for authentic saltillo tile.  Be wary of making a comparison of color between tile samples.

Sizes:  In most of our saltillo tile sizes and shapes, you have the choice of selecting Super Saltillo tile or Regular.  There are a few exceptions to this with our Arrow, Botella, San Felipe and Fleur de Lis tiles which are only available in Regular Saltillo.  Whether it’s a square, rectangle, hexagon, or octagon-shaped saltillo, it can be ordered in either style.


Edging:  Obviously the biggest difference between Regular and Super Saltillo tile is the edging.  The rounded edge of Super Saltillo produces a slightly smoother finish along the outside edges of the tile. The softer finish also means that it will not have as many natural chips.  The sharp edging of Regular Saltillo brings the corners to a 90-degree angle.  Some tile installers think that this means there will be a more precise lineup for the tile installation.  But it really isn’t true.  All of our tile is handmade so regardless of the edging, there is variation in size and thickness.

octagon regular saltillo

Sharp Corners and Edges

Texture:  The texture of Super and Regular tiles are slightly different.  In the handmade manufacturing process, Super tiles are hand-pressed and smoothed out more than Regular tiles.  This creates their rounded edges.  An additional effect of this is reflected in the smoother surface of these terra cotta tiles.  Since Regular tiles don’t have the added touch of smoothing, they are more prone to rustic variations in the texture.  Both styles have chips, bumps, hairline cracks and texture variations but Regular saltillo has more of these desired characteristics.

Pillowing:  To piggyback off of the hand-pressing method of making these tiles, another difference between Super and Regular exists.  Super Saltillo tile is known to be slightly less pillowed while Regular saltillo has more pillowing.  The backside of handmade Saltillos become slightly concave when water evaporates from the clay during the kiln-firing process.  So it’s normal for Saltillo floor tiles to be pillowed.  This is not a defect.   Since Super Saltillo tile is hand-pressed more, it’s lays a bit flatter than Regular tiles.

Which is Right for You?

As you can see, there’s really no “right” or “wrong” choice between Super Saltillo Tile and it’s Regular counterpart.  Our best advice is this:  If your home style is very rustic, you may be happier with Regular Saltillo tile since it has more of the handmade rustic characteristics desired in Saltillo tile.  If you are not focusing so much on creating a rustic space, then choose Super Saltillo tile.  You’ll still get those rustic characteristics but they will be less emphasized.

We wish you luck with your project!  Make Every Space Count!!

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Saltillo Restaurant Tile -Pancho’s Vegas

Saltillo Restaurant Tile can be found at it’s finest in Pancho’s Mexican food restaurant in Las Vegas.  And that’s not it for Mexican tiles in this restaurant – check out the pairings of Talavera tiles and Cantera stone that create a perfect ambiance for good food, live music and Pancho’s famous Naughty Maggie Margaritas!

Pancho's Restaurant

Pancho’s Restaurant – Painted Talavera Tiles

Saltillo Restaurant Tile

Saltillo Restaurant Tile

I had the pleasure of visiting Pancho’s Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago to check out our saltillo restaurant tile and partake in good eats.  Located in downtown Summerlin, Pancho’s boasts an authentic Mexican food menu that would compete with any restaurant in Mexico.  And did I mention the margaritas yet?!  Be weary of Mr. Lawrence’s (the owner of Pancho’s Manhattan Beach (CA) and Las Vegas) recommendation to try the margarita on an empty stomach at 11 am.  But hey… it’s Vegas so I couldn’t resist.  It’s a good think his menu features some of the best Mexican food I’ve had to balance out the booze.

For the record, I’m in the business of Mexican tile and stone.  I’ve had a LOT of Mexican food.  So I think my opinion should be considered.

I’m not a food critic, however so this article is intended to show you how beautifully saltillo restaurant tile pairs with colorful Talavera painted tiles and Cantera stone fountains.  When Mr. Lawrence called us in mid-2015, his original inquiry was for Octagon Saltillo restaurant tile.  We’ve sold saltillo restaurant tile hundreds of times.  This conversation started out like a very standard phone call.  As Mr. Lawrence described his vision for Pancho’s, we explored areas in which Rustico could bundle other Mexican tiles and stone.  Bundling his Saltillo flooring, Talavera tiles and Cantera stone fountains, we were able to offer a value to Mr. Lawrence that couldn’t be beat by our competitor’s.  And the outcome is an eating establishment with artwork adding to every element of it’s space.  Tile is art.

Mexican Tile Staircase

Mexican Tile Staircase

Check out this grand staircase.  A careful selection of Talavera tile designs was selected by Mr. Lawrence.  He served as the designer for his space.  While these are not designs that you’ll find on our website, Mr. Lawrence emails photos of these designs.  We created them.  It’s that easy.

We love working with owner/designers because they are very precise about the desired outcome.  In this staircase, saltillo tile is used as the stair treads while the stair risers are custom painted Talavera tiles.  Resting at the top of the staircase is a custom hand-carved stone fountain created from Cantera.  This stair case sits in the middle of Pancho’s main dining room as a focal point for the restaurant.

Cantera Fountain with Talavera Tiles

Cantera Fountain with Talavera Tiles

Cantera Restaurant Fountain

Cantera Restaurant Fountain

Cantera fountains were added to the eatery for the peaceful ambiance that any water feature exudes. Talavera tile was again chosen to add an artistic touch to these fountains.  The cantera stone color is Tobacco Brown. Who wouldn’t love eating next to the soothing sound of a water fountain with the sounds of instrumental Mexican music playing back in the bar area of Pancho’s?

Octagon Saltillo Restaurant Floor Tile

Octagon Saltillo Restaurant Floor Tile

In further discussions with Mr. Lawrence about the restaurant flooring, he decided wholeheartedly on 12×12 Octagon Saltillo restaurant tile.  Here you can see the saltillo flooring complimented with Talavera tiles again.  (Are you catching the Talavera theme throughout the restaurant?)  The octagon tile pattern is a 2-tile pattern that requires an insert tile.  It’s another example of saltillo restaurant tile serving as form and function – artwork and low-maintenance, rustic flooring.  To further decorate this space, Mr. Lawrence brought in corresponding painted Talavera planters and lots of greenery.

Octagon Saltillo with Talavera Tiles

Octagon Saltillo with Talavera Tiles

Pancho’s Mexican style doesn’t stop in just the bar and restaurant. Get sudsy in these beautiful Talavera painted sinks in the bathroom.  The bathrooms at Pancho’s Las Vegas are quite literally COVERED in talavera.  It covers the walls, counters and sinks.  Walking into the bathroom is pure delight on the eyes.  If you get dizzy with busy and overwhelming patterns, proceed with caution!  Talavera holds up well as counter tile and as sinks with proper installation and maintenance.

Check out more images in this gallery of photos.  I had a great time visiting the restaurant and meeting Mr. Lawrence face-to-face.  A++ for food, decor, and hospitality at Pancho’s Mexican Food Restaurant in Las Vegas!

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Spanish Style Homes – Saltillo Flooring

25 Feb, 2016 by Melanie O., in Interior Design, Saltillo Tile

Building a Spanish Style Home? Consider Saltillo Flooring to set the foundation for your hacienda residence.

Any Spanish-inspired home starts with flooring – specifically Saltillo flooring.  As you watch this video, check out the variety of shapes and styles available to set the tone for your home.  Terra cotta floors have warm tones of color to create a cozy ambiance for any space.  It’s also a durable solution for wear and tear for real life.

Like what you see?  Get terra cotta flooring shipped straight to you for affordable prices.  When flooring like this is paired with rustic furniture, color accents, and iron or copper lighting, a Spanish style home comes to life!

Getting Saltillo flooring from Rustico is buying directly from THE source!  The tile is made by hand in Mexico, imported to our Austin, Texas warehouse, and ships to places that span the globe.

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Spanish Style Home

15 Feb, 2016 by Melanie O., in Blogroll, Cantera Stone, Manganese Saltillo Tile

Built in 2011, this Spanish style home is full of delight for those inspired by architecture in this genre.  Typical features of a Spanish style home include a Hacienda decor, rustic tile and stone, expansive outdoor living spaces, and mixed metals throughout for a modern touch.

spanish style home

It’s not a Spanish style home without a classic hacienda feel.  Step into this entry trimmed in Cantera stone (tobacco brown color).  The home boasts decorative features in Cantera – a hand carved stone as seen here.  You’ll also notice matching stone columns in the cigar shape style.  Copper sconces on either side of the entry add a touch of class and craftsmanship.

outdoor courtyardThe owners of this home, just outside of Austin, Texas have several places to enjoy outdoor living.  They watch kids play in the front courtyard which is laden with brick pavers, stone columns and a fire-fountain.  Get this look by considering cantera pavers or saltillo pavers for your outdoor playscape.  It’s form-meets-function in outdoor living – durable materials will outlast long hot summers and well… “less summer” during winter months.  Check out the Cantera planters below for a decorative addition to this space.

cantera surround

spanish style home

12×24 large Manganese Saltillo tile lines the dual breezeways that surround the exterior courtyard.  Take a walk down this gallery to a guest house casita that is extended with the durable outdoor spanish tile.  The celing tile is 3×6 manganese saltillo tile.

spanish kitchen

Want to cook up something spicy?  That’s easy to do in this spacious Spanish kitchen.  Clean up is easy with granite counters and copper sinks.  The copper farmhouse sink is a double bowl, and the large island hosts a vegetable prep sink.  The most stunning feature in this space is the Cantera stone hood that is hand carved in Pinon cantera.   Copper sconces are inset to each side of the stone hood.

Copper Backsplash Tile

Don’t be fooled – this copper tile backsplash is 1 large sheet of dark patina hammered copper.  Notice the use of mixed metals in this hacienda kitchen.  Copper and stainless steel play well together to add modern charm to an otherwise rustic space.  Copper is easy to clean and naturally anti-bacterial.  The patina changes on copper as years go by.

spanish style home

Just offset from the kitchen is a wide open space that extends into this sunken great room.  It’s surrounded by Cantera stone columns in Pinon.  The antique-finish Cantera stone fireplace draws the eye to this room’s commanding focal point.  Long, lush fabric drapes the tall ceilings to soften the stone features of this family room.

cantera fireplace surround

Manganese Saltillo Tile

On one side of this Spanish style home is a long hallway that leads to 4 of the 5 bedrooms in the main house.  There is 1 additional room in an efficiency-apartment casita just off courtyard area. (Sign me up! I want to be a guest!)  Most of the bedrooms, outdoor tile, and this hallway feature Manganese Saltillo tile.  Here, the Mexican tile is laid in a framed herringbone pattern.  Transitional spaces down the hallway feature Manganese saltillo tile in the fleur de lis pattern and broken tile mosaics in thresholds.  Creating mosaic bands in the thresholds is an effective use of broken or cut tiles and it minimizes waste.

travertine bathroom

Yep – that’s the master bathroom with a romantic jacuzzi bathtub and shower.  It’s fully tiled with travertine and glass tile sheets.  Take a soak in this huge bathtub encased by small Cantera stone columns.  Or walk into a glorious shower – hello!  There’s no excuse not to get clean with 7 jets raining down on you.  The mother in this Spanish style home (with 2 young children) escapes to these spaces as often as she possible can!travertine shower

Let’s check out the backyard living areas.  The Spanish style home is complete with large spaces for outdoor living.  In addition to the front courtyard, there is also a backyard oasis with easy-to-maintain Cantera tile flooring (shown in Recinto here).

cantera pool coping

The backyard of this hill country hacienda boasts a large free-form pool and outdoor kitchen space.  Throughout the exterior, Cantera pool coping is used in Recinto cantera.  It’s also accented with 6×12 Antique Saltillo tile around the pool and on stair risers.

rustic outdoor kitchen

Finally, the outdoor kitchen is one for any family gathering or BBQ celebration.  Want pizza instead of BBQ?  No problem!  There’s even an outdoor pizza oven added to the mix of features in this Spanish style home.  The entire outdoor kitchen is covered by a stained pergola for shading from that hot Texas sun.

Want to see more?  Check out the full project photos and all of the materials and installation descriptions on our Houzz page!

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