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product line - antique terracotta

a humble clay, traditional terracotta requires few alterations and in its best form goes almost straight from the earth into the kiln. from pottery and jugs to roof tiles and building bricks, the evolution of terracotta is nothing short of transformational. the authentic quality of terracotta is indisputable; these tiles work hard and they last a long time. these reclaimed beauties contain the history of thousands of years of tile creation that is still unchanged.

antique terracotta tiles are not manufactured but reclaimed from antique french structures. to minimize damage to orders, we do not repackage what is shipped from our recovery team in france. due to this, there can be substantial variations in size +/- 1/2" as well as variations in color and texture.


what grout joint size, type, and color do you recommend?

clé recommends the use of mapei flexcolor cq grout and a 1/2" grout joint with this collection. 
should you find extreme variations in length between the pieces of your order, we recommend increasing or decreasing the grout joint size as needed to compensate and create a cohesive look.

grout color selection is always up to our client and/or their design professional. however, clé is often asked for our opinion on best grout selections for our tiles. and due to the large array of grout colors that are now available, clé would like to offer this general guideline on a foolproof grout color selection for any of your clé tiles.

  • first, have your professional tile contractor complete your tile installation, except for the grout portion.
  • next, when ready to grout, ask your contractor to bring ALL grout color charts from his preferred grout manufacturers, for your review.
  • lastly, choose a time of day when you are most pleased with the lighting in your space (either natural lighting, installed lighting or a blend of both). during that lighting and time of day, select the grout color that best matches your tile selection.

note that the full mapei flexcolor cq color catalogue contains 40 colors to choose from. visit the mapei website to view.

for more information about grouting please see our antique terracotta installation & maintenance guide.

do i need to seal antique terracotta tiles?

antique terracotta tiles are porous and should be sealed before and after grouting to maintain their appearance and avoid staining. exterior walls require vertical weather flashing and waterproof, penetrating sealant. exterior floors must be installed above grade with waterproof, penetrating sealant. antique terracotta tiles should be sealed for all wet applications to maintain their appearance and avoid staining.

for low commercial traffic floor installations or areas susceptible to grease build-up we recommend three to five coats of miracle mira matte top-coat sealant in addition to sealing.

if you are installing antique terracotta on a busy kitchen backsplash where heavy staining is a concern, we recommend applying the clé top coat kit to the tile surface and grouted areas instead of sealant.

for more information about sealing please see our antique terracotta installation & maintenance guides.

do you offer trim for your antique terracotta tile?

at clé we follow the international model of no trim and highly recommend our clients to do the same. below are the trim alternatives we recommend for this collection.

- like with any of our tiles, you can also build out the sheetrock so that the surface of the finished sheetrock is flush with the surface of the tile.

how do i take care of my antique terracotta tiles?

over time, a natural patina will occur on floors as they are maintained and naturally wear. mild, pH neutral soaps should be sufficient for most cleaning—test before general use. clean using soft materials, like a cloth, instead of coarse materials. always avoid harsh chemicals and acidic or alkaline cleaning products. grout lines can be cleaned with warm water and a soft bristled cleaning brush. immediately clean up spills—do not allow liquids to sit on the tile surface. most stains can be removed with a pH neutral dish soap, hot water and the scrub side of a sponge.

topical sealants like mira matte will require periodic stripping and re-application of sealant—please refer to a professional for this. single coat reapplication of the penetrating sealant is required once a year in shower applications due to the continuous exposure to water.

see antique terracotta installation & maintenance guide for more information.

what type of finish should i expect with this collection?

antique terracotta tiles have an unglazed clay surface affected by patina, pits, chips and cracks due to their age. there is medium variation in texture which will help provide slip resistance.

what types and levels of variation and imperfections should i expect?

our antique terracotta tiles are reclaimed antiques, not newly manufactured. variations in depth, color, shade, size and texture are to be expected as well as pits, chips and cracks given the reclaimed nature of these tiles. please note there can be substantial variations in size +/- 1/2".

due to the color and shade variations, it is very important to blend the tiles from all boxes once they arrive and place them in their installation area to ensure you have the layout you want before installing. do not install without blending tiles from all boxes. for orders with substantial thickness variation, you will need to separate tiles into two installation groups: a thicker group and a thinner group. install the thicker tile first. this will then allow you to select a backer board with the appropriate thickness to raise the thin tile up to the same height as the thick tile.

antique terracotta tiles are rated level ‘4 heavy’ for color and texture variation, and ‘level 4 extreme’ for size variation as outlined in our tile variation guide.

how will my antique terracotta samples compare to my actual order?

as noted in the variation and add on orders sections of our faq, antique terracotta tiles are reclaimed antiques, not newly manufactured. variations in depth, color, shade, size and texture from tile to tile are to be expected as well as pits, chips and cracks given the reclaimed nature of these tiles.

additionally, as our antique terracotta tiles are reclaimed from various antique structures (what we refer to as different "lots"), it is possible that the tile in your order will not match your sample based on the fact that your sample may come from a different architectural site or lot.

what should I expect with my order of antique terracotta?

pre-existing patina given the age of the tiles, as well as dirt and dust as a result of the reclaiming process, are to be expected. dust and dirt can be cleaned prior to installing, but will generally come off by itself during installation process. any residual finish should be considered part of the antique terracotta patina. irregular or chipped edges and cracked surfaces are also to be expected and normal.

why do you suggest i order at least 15% more than my measurements?

industry standard suggests adding at least 15% overage due to tile cuts, potential breakage, or future repairs.

is it possible to purchase more of the same material after my initial order (i.e. place an add on order)?

keep in mind there can be more extreme variation in size and color between batches or "lots" of antique terracotta that can make add on orders difficult. remember to take this into account when calculating your order, and be sure to purchase enough material.

for more information related to ordering and shipping, please be sure to visit shipping and returns and delivery information resource pages.


square - 6"x6"x3/4"
hex - 6"x7"x7/8"
hex - 7"x8"x1"

disclaimer: please note there can be substantial variations in size +/- 1/2" given the reclaimed nature of these tiles.


interior floor, exterior floor, interior wall, exterior wall, shower floor, shower wall, residential low traffic, residential high traffic, commercial low traffic, backsplash, kitchen, fireplace surround. Heavy commercial use such as factory floors and exterior driveways are NOT recommended. Limit all exterior usage to locations not affected by freeze thaw.


installation and maintenance guides