Which Terracotta Tile Is Right For You?

We’ll compare our four terracotta options, so you can find the right tile for your next project

 YouTube thumbnail for clay imports terracotta comparison video

Terracotta tile is the new “it” tile according to The New York Times! We offer four types of terracotta tile, all handmade in Mexico:

  • Our most durable: Cotto.
  • The most popular: Saltillo.
  • The most refined: Dhanis.
  • Our newest offering: Organic Terracotta. 

Though these tiles look similar and share many characteristics it's important to understand the differences to determine the best terracotta tile for your project.

Cotto Tile

Cotto terracotta tile laid out by clay imports

Cotto terracotta tile is considered our most durable terracotta because it’s pressed denser than any other terracotta and fired at a significantly higher temperature. The combination of compression and high firing temperature result in an incredibly dense product. It's so dense it doesn't have to be sealed. Cotto tile is the only terracotta that Clay Imports offers that does not require sealing. However, applying a coat of finish seal after installation can help to keep the floor cleaner. Ideal applications for Cotto are indoor or outdoor in mild and moderate climates and wet areas such as showers floors.

Cotto tiles are available in several color options: Tierra, Umber, and Sienna. Each color option has slight tone variations, ranging from darker to lighter shades. Cotto tile is the least likely to patina, or fade over time.

Saltillo Tile

Saltillo terracotta tile floor by clay imports

Saltillo tile has moderate durability. It’s less dense than Cotto which makes it more porous. Though all our Saltillo tiles come presealed, we recommend applying a finish seal to your Saltillo floor after installation. Saltillo tiles are our most popular terracotta tile option, and have an outstanding reputation. These traditional Mexican tiles have been used in homes across the United States and Mexico for over 100 years. 

Saltillo tiles are available in a range of sealed and textured finishes, from high gloss to matte as well as many size and shape options. Saltillo has the greatest range of color variation, from dark reds to gold tones. The surface of Saltillo tile is irregular and often includes pitting, chips and scratches. Suitable for indoor and outdoor in mild climates, but not recommended for wet areas. If you want to use terracotta tiles in bathrooms, you can find our 100% waterproof terracotta tile here.

D'hanis Tile

Dhanis Red Terracotta tile floor by clay imports

D’hanis Red terracotta tile is our most refined terracotta for those who prefer a more predictable, uniform look but still want an authentic clay tile with mild tone variations. Deep red, and consistent these are the defining characteristics of D'hanis red. D’hanis red is flatter, smoother and less varied in color and sheen than any of the other terracotta tile options. 

Often customers who love the look and feel of Saltillo tile but want to limit the color range to dark red colors are very satisfied with D’hanis red. D'hanis Terracotta tiles have ridged edges and corners which contribute to a more refined, cleaner and streamlined look after installation. Ideal for indoor applications, you can also use them in covered outdoor areas.

Organic Terracotta Tile

Organic terracotta tile by clay imports

Our new Organic terracotta tile is our most natural tile yet. Its unapologetically handmade look and feel tell a story of historic Mexican architecture. It’s ideal for those who appreciate the natural patina that handmade products will develop over time. Because this product is so unrefined, expect high variations in size and irregularities in shape. With organic terracotta you should expect and appreciate mild chipping, irregular edges as well as surface scratches and pits. 

Organic does require sealing but is sold unsealed, completely natural allowing you to select a sealer of your preference (You can find sealer options in our store here). Seasonally produced, then sun dried and fired at a low temperature, this tile contains the least amount of carbon emissions of all of our tiles. It’s suitable for indoor and outdoor flooring in mild climates.

To wrap things up, when deciding between Clay Import’s terracotta tile options, keep in mind that:


Cotto is the densest option making it the most durable and far less likely to chip or fade over time than any other options. Its rough texture provides a lot of traction making it ideal for interior and exterior floors.  

Saltillo is a classic favorite that has withstood the test of time. It’s highly varied in color and available in many sizes and shapes. Although it’s presealed, the sheen and color will patina over time.  

D’hanis red is designed to include the features of original D’hanis, Texas tile. Its higher density production process results in a relatively flat floor with minimal size variation. Color range is limited to only shades of dark red.  

Organic, our most natural option with a less refined, more seasoned look and feel. Unlike Saltillo, which has variation in color from tile to tile, and even within the same tile, Organic has high variation in shade, meaning that the tiles stay within the same color range, but vary greatly in tone.

Keep in mind that these handmade tiles will exhibit natural variations, which are inherent traits of their natural materials. These variations in color, texture and sheen are not defects but rather a natural part of the product. We highly recommend ordering samples before making a final purchase to confirm and appreciate these natural variations in each tile.

Finally, we recommend taking a look at our Clay Care products. These maintenance items have been carefully tested with our products, and they are designed to preserve your tiles' beauty, ensuring their longevity and durability. From sealers to cleaners, purchasing these maintenance items together with your tiles not only simplifies your order but also prepares you to enjoy your tiles for a long time.

We hope this article helps you find the right tile for your space. And remember, if you have any questions or require more information, don't hesitate to reach out to us at contact@clayimports.com