What are Terracotta Floor Tiles?

If you browse our inventory online, you'll discover we carry several terracotta products. This can be confusing given our name – Clay Imports – and the fact that so many people associate terracotta with flowerpots and ancient artwork. Rest assured that terracotta is still very much in use today as a material for both floor tiles and pavers.

From this post, you will learn a bit more about terracotta as a flooring material. Perhaps it might open your eyes to different flooring choices as you seek to create a new look and feel in your home. As always, don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions.

More About Terracotta

A good place to start is discussing what terracotta actually is. The word is an Italian word that literally means 'baked earth'. As a manufacturing material, terracotta is made up of several different kinds of clay. Clay choices are made based on what the terracotta will be used for and the desired finished look.

Because different kinds of clays are used, finished terracotta can be a variety of colors. We typically associate it with browns, reds, and oranges, but terracotta also comes in pink and gray hues. In terms of flooring, almost all terracotta tiles are red or orange.

The tiles are made by pressing the desired clay mixture into preformed molds. A molded tile is removed and set to dry sufficiently before being fired in a kiln. Firing turns the clay from a soft, malleable substance into an extremely hard and durable one.

Artisans may choose to fire tiles without any kind of decoration. This allows their beautiful, natural color to shine through. They might also choose to glaze the tiles before firing. This allows them to give the tiles different colors while simultaneously sealing and protecting them.

Rustic and Beautiful

Terracotta tiles have been described as being both rustic and beautiful. This might be why they work so well here in Texas. That being said, terracotta is a lovely material that works well in any area of the country; if you like earth tones with a very rustic look, terracotta is an excellent choice.

The biggest concern with terracotta is its porosity. In other words, the clay that makes up terracotta absorbs liquids quite well. This is the reason terracotta floor tiles are sealed either prior to installation or immediately thereafter.

At home, you have to keep an eye on the tiles just in case any of the sealant starts to wear thin. You also need to be careful not to allow terracotta tiles to be soaked with water. It is okay to use water and a mild cleaning solution to mop your floors, but you never want to put so much water on the floor that it soaks the tiles.

Handcrafted Terracotta Tiles

Terracotta is so easy to work with that machine-made tiles are fairly common. Machine-made tiles are all uniform in shape and size, which makes them ideal for people who want a floor that looks perfect. If perfection isn't necessary for you, we recommend handcrafted tiles.

Handcrafted terracotta tiles are not perfect. They are similar in shape and size but are not absolutely identical, which is part of what gives them such a rustic look. Slightly different measurements add character and a bit of old-world charm that just cannot be matched with machine-made products.

If you are looking for new tiles for your home, you cannot go wrong with terracotta. And now that you know that terracotta is not just for flowerpots and ancient artwork, you have another tile option to consider.