Everything You Need To Know: Black and White Clay Tile (2021 Update)

Black and White is the classic combination that is standing the test of time in interior design. Visual characteristics are high contrast patterns, ranging from geometric minimal designs to elaborate floral or arabesque patterns. Black and White is versatile. The juxtaposition can evoke nostalgia or can be unapologetically modern, bold or subtle, masculine or feminine.

And just as Elle Decor predicted: Black and white tile is a design element  that is here to stay in 2020. High contrast black and white is such a dynamic duo. The emotional response is immediate and the look remains timeless.

Black Hexagon Tile for a bathroom wallBlack Hexagon Tile for a bathroom wall by Moontower Design Build Austin

Where is black and white clay tile made?

Like all our glazed clay tiles, Black and White Clay Tile is made in Mexico. The small town of Dolores Hidalgo, just outside San Miguel de Allende, is famous for being a traditional Talavera tile hub. Because we love design, together with our partners, we developed tile making processes that honor traditional tile making while embracing innovation in design and technology. 

How is black and white clay tile produced?

Our Black and White Clay Tile is made of a high dense white clay. To apply the pattern, the tiles are either hand-painted or screen-printed. Then glazed and fired at a temperature of about 1080 degrees celsius.

How to screen the pattern

Should I use black and white clay tile?

  1. Clay Imports's Black and White Clay Tiles have minimal variation in size, color, and sheen. This product is glazed and fired and non-porous, meaning sealing is not required. Consequently, clay tiles are very dense and ideal for use in wet areas.

  2. Black and White Clay Tiles are about ½ thick making them compatible with many other flooring options, like hardwood flooring.

  3. If you are looking for a clean, smooth, and semi-gloss, satin finish black and white tile that can be installed about anywhere, including showers, our clay tiles are for you.

    If you prefer a tile that will age and wear over time for an antique look, we recommend browsing our cement tiles.

    What are the size options for black and white clay tile?

    Black and White Clay Tiles come in two standard sizes: 8” square and 8” hexagon. Clay tile is about ½ inch thick.

    We offer 3 sheen options: gloss, semi-gloss, and matte. Our most popular sheen is “semi-gloss” because this sheen mimics the popular cement tile look once installed.

    Can I mix black and white clay tile with other styles?

    Juice Black tile on the bar and backsplash by Davey McEathronJuice Black tile on the bar and backsplash by Davey McEathron Architecture - Photography by Leonid Furmansky

    Use black and white tile as an eye catcher, like our Juice Black tile on the bar and backsplash here. This tile is like a perfectly tailored tuxedo; classic and modern. Also, it is versatile and has a practically infinite number of configurations.

    Dandy Black in the starburst layout for a bathroom floor

    Likewise, our Dandy Black Clay in this bathroom creates a playful accent in this otherwise neutral bathroom. This geometric shape is unique yet simplistic enough to integrate into any design.

    Juice White on the bathroom floor by Katie PostelJuice White on the bathroom floor by Katie Postel Interiors

    Consider using the Juice White clay tile.

    Here the white dominates, which immediately brightens a room, while still being breathtakingly different. Classic white subway or square tile on the walls can put focus on the black and white tile for a modern and clean look.

    Certainly, Black accents in an otherwise neutral space can ground and anchor. It adds a sophisticated look to a room.

    Wilmar Black patio by Open Envelope Studio

    Inspired by patterns we encountered in Morocco, the Wilmar Black makes a sun room a magical place. Additionally, plants, natural fibers, linens and warm wood soften the stark contrast between black and white adding warmth and life to an otherwise overly modern or sharp look.

    Tangram shower walls by Town Lifestyle and Design

    Regal, and glamorous, the graphic black and white Tangram by Stonetextile paired with gold details is a showstopper. Thoughtful touches and accents elevate any black and white design.

    Galaxy Black and Yellow Tip perfectly paired in this colorful project by Chelsea Kloss Interiors

    Want to take it up a notch? Mix and match black and white clay tile with pops of color to create a one-of-a-kind space. Each colorful pattern will have even more impact when it is contrasted with black and white.

    Palace Black outdoor patio by Hill Country Weavers Austin

    Monochromatic shades seamlessly coordinate with black and white tile. Gray tones, which are “in between” black and white can soften, and add a calming transition tieing a space together.

    Dandy Black, Dandy White, and Galaxy Black at a coffee shop in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

    Where can I install black and white clay tile?

    Our Black and White Clay Tile is suitable for wall and flooring applications. It is a beautiful addition to a residential or commercial project. You can install it on a kitchen backsplash, shower walls and floors, fireplace surrounds, coffee bars, and many other areas, including certain outdoor installations!

    Doble Equis on the patio floorDoble Equis at Mattie's Austin by Joel Mozersky Design - Photography by Shelby Sorrel

    How do I install black and white clay tile?

    Black and white patterns on clay are great options for including a bold contemporary contrast look to your space. Moreover, they are also very low maintenance and easy to install.

    Clay Imports recommends installing Clay tile with a joint spacing of ⅛ of an inch. In order to maintain the flow of the pattern, we recommend using a grout color that matches that background color of your tile. But please stay away from black grout as it can stain the tile, use dark gray instead.

    Keep in mind that tile layout, grout joint spacing and grout color will influence the finished look of your project.

    Clay installation is comparable to conventional tile installation. Please refer to our Clay tile installation road map for details and reach out to us with any questions.

    How do I care for my black and white clay tile?

    There is no sealing required as the tile is not porous. We recommend to clean your tiles periodically once a week, with soap and water. Please avoid cleaning agents that contain acids.

    What trim pieces are used with black and white clay tile?

    If your project requires addressing the edge of the tile, we recommend using 1/2 inch schluter trim. Schluter trim is available in stainless, white, and paintable finish.

    Palace Black on the bathroom floorPalace Black trimmed with a black Schluter Schiene by Left + Center

    How do I order black and white clay tiles?

    We recommend reviewing samples prior to purchase. You can check out up to five samples at no shipping cost online, or schedule a virtual design appointment with our sales and design team.

    Ready to order the full amount? Double-check your measurements. Clay Imports 8”x8” square tile converts to 2.25 pieces per square foot, and 8” hexagon tile converts to 2.55 pieces per square foot.

    Also, please add at least 15% extra for cuts and waste. You can purchase online, call our office at 512-653-8500, email your sales and design consultant or reach out on our general inquiries line at contact@clayimports.com


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