Tile Newbie with Mexican-style house [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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08-29-2004, 06:29 AM
Howdy. I'm really glad to have found this forum!

I live in far south Austin, TX --- in Manchaca, to be precise. Am wanting to do a good bit of tile work at my home, which is a Mexican-inspired style -- sprawling one story stone with a red tile roof and courtyard. I'm planning to replace virtually all our carpet with tile. I'm thinking Saltillo because I like the rustic look and it's classic Mexicano. I plan to extend the Saltillo out to the long covered breezeway and courtyard and install a tiered Mexican fountain we have (currently serving as a planter) out there, too. AND, I plan to tile the Master Bath with a mural in the shower where there is currently this funky sort of interior "window." Again, probably a Mexican tile theme -- either Talavera or something akin to it.

I have a general handyman type person who's interested in doing the work, but I'm concerned that he has no experience with Saltillo. He's typically willing to read up on stuff to learn how to do it, however.

I've taken one mosaic tile class myself, and thought it would be fun to do the mosaic tile in the fountain base, but I know that the rest of the projects are probably more time-consuming than my husband and I can handle.

I'm close enough to New Braunfels or even San Marcos to be accessible to someone there. San Antonio is about 1.5 hrs away, so that might be too costly for someone to drive.

Here are my questions so far:

1. Anybody know somebody reputable in my area for installation?
2. What about places to buy the tile? We're going to need a LOT of it for all the projects-- over 2000 sf. Should we make a trip to Mexico?
3. Can I buy it in stages as I need it, or will the quality / color vary too widely from one batch to another (even allowing for Saltillo's inherit variation)?
4. Square edge or rounded?
5. And how much overage should we buy -- I'm told it's quite brittle as well as irregular so you need to buy about 20% more than you actually need?



PS I bought one Saltillo tile to use as a sample -- and discovered it has little kitty pawprints in it . . . delightful! :yipee:

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08-29-2004, 08:15 AM
Actually San Antonio is less than an hour from the Manchaca-Buda area, but still a bit of a drive to install tile.

The weight of the tile would be a killer if you tried to drive to Laredo. 2,000 sf at about 5 pounds per ft = about 5 tons of tile. You would have to pull a pretty good size trailer with an F-350 truck. We can get the traditional, uneven, unglazed tile here for $0.99/sf, and for that amount it might be possible to negotiate a bulk purchase.

You might be able to buy in stages, especially if you broke it down into room-size areas. But I would guess that one batch would not be much different than the next, considering the naturally wide variations.

Square edge vs rounded is a matter of choice. Here they sell plain tile, and super saltillo, which is thinner and much more consistent. I suspect that it is machine made.

I would buy about 10% extra. Even though it is soft & brittle, if you can sort out the broken pieces first then you know which ones would be available for the cuts.

It cuts very easily, with a masonry cut off blade in a circular saw, or a masonry or diamond blade in a side grinder ... but it will be very dusty. Definately not an inside job.

08-29-2004, 11:28 AM
Oh how I envy the sound of your home! You're lucky :).

I LOVE Mexican tiles and hope that once you complete all that you're setting out to do that you would come back and post some pictures to make me even more jealous :D

Good luck!

12-30-2004, 05:46 PM
I agree, 10% is the way to go. You need to find out also if you want to lay it dry or wet. If dry, presealing is a must and you must do it well. Also be careful when buying different batches fm the same company. I found out the Home Depot main supplier manufactures tiles by hand or machined. The looks and textures are very different. (I preferred hand made, more rustic). But I would not worry about color variation. That is the beauty of saltillo! Another suggestion...ensure that the person that lays your tile back butters all your tiles. This will ensure proper tile support. Good luck with your project

12-30-2004, 07:36 PM
Hi Lucy,

I'm about as far north of Austin as you are South. 2000 sq ft is alot of Saltillo and I'm no pro at Saltillo. I just saw a tile tonite that looks alot like Saltillo though. If you decide to go with a "look-alike", give me a shout


12-30-2004, 07:53 PM

I would buy all the tile at once if I could. Otherwise I think you are going to learn a bunch about saltillo tile variations that you will wish you never knew.

What happens if the tile-makers neighbors get a different cat???