What is Spanish Tile?

Many home construction materials are named after the places of their origin or their sources of inspiration. This is the case with Spanish tile. These tiles were manufactured in Spain centuries ago, and by the 17th century, Spain was exporting them to the Mediterranean and the rest of the known world.

spanish tiles on roof

Spanish tile: The basics

“Spanish tile” is a broad term used to describe a wide range of tiles with traditional Spanish and Mexican designs. Spanish tiles are so popular many customers will simply ask for them based solely on style without any specifications about their material, dimensions, and color.

If you are planning to use Spanish tile for a home project, take note that traditional Spanish tiles have a very special feature: they are handmade.

• Materials. These tiles can be manufactured from clay and ceramics. This means homeowners have a wider options in terms of the durability, strength, and longevity of the roof tiles after installation.

• Design. Keep in mind that traditional Spanish and Mexican designs usually involve an explosion of colors and shapes. Think of star bursts in various shades of red, blue, and yellow; flowers with abstract petals spreading outward; and geometric patterns reminiscent of the baroque churches of Spain and Mexico.

• Common use. Wherever Spanish tiles are used, they are able to add lively color and a unique ambiance. The more decorative and intricately patterned tiles are commonly used for walls and floors. Often, a room can acquire character from the mere addition of Spanish tiles in the center of the living room floor or on an accent wall. Spanish tiles are also very effective as patio floors and garden pathways.

Saltillo tile

Among Spanish tiles, the saltillo tiles are the stars of the show. These are made from raw clay mixed with other materials, which are then pressed by hand and dried in the sun. These handmade tiles will inevitably have some irregularity on the edges, and sometimes they will bear imprints of the hands that crafted them. They can also have color gradations from deep yellow to deep orange. However, all these imperfections merely add to the charm of these tiles, and it makes them the ideal material for certain architectural genres.

Choosing your Spanish style

Each type of Spanish tile has its own pros and cons. Weigh these carefully before making your decision.

• Ceramic tiles. These are usually easier to install. There are wider indoor and outdoor applications for ceramic tiles. The biggest advantage to using ceramic tiles is their easy maintenance.

• Clay tiles. Clay tiles are more rustic in appearance. They are generally more durable because of their compact construction, and they are usually more cost-effective because of the ease with which each tile can be replaced.

Spanish tiles are made in an amazing array of patterns and colors. If you’re considering roof replacement, or you’re building a brand-new home, Spanish tiles may be the perfect choice.

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