do i need to seal zellige tiles?
IMPORTANT: unglazed zellige must be sealed on all applications before and after grouting as the final step of installation in order to be cleaned easily and to avoid staining.
unglazed zellige in low commercial traffic floor installations and in areas susceptible to grease build-up we recommend three to five coats of miracle mira matte top-coat sealant in addition to sealing for unglazed zellige.
unglazed zellige on a busy kitchen backsplash we recommend applying the clé top coat kit to the tile surface and grouted areas instead of using our recommended sealant.
for glazed zellige, we recommend applying sealant or using a grout release prior to grouting if the tile has visible crazing.
IMPORTANT: if zellige tiles are being grouted with a contrasting grout color vs. a matching one, then you should also seal before grouting because many tiles may have crazing without it being visible to the eye and would only come out with the grouting of the tiles as the invisible crazing absorbs the dye from the contrasting grout.
dry applications of glazed zellige do not require sealing as the final step of installation.
glazed zellige can be installed on pool and fountain water lines in non freeze/thaw locations but only with application of a waterproofing, penetrating sealant.
all wet area installations of glazed zellige (backsplashes, showers, steam showers, pool & fountain water lines), grouted areas and possible grouted pits, chips and areas of visible crazing must be sealed as the final step of installation.
exterior walls require vertical weather flashing and waterproof, penetrating sealant.
for more information about sealing please see our zellige installation & maintenance guides.
do you offer trim for your zellige 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.
- if your project needs to turn a corner either inwardly or outwardly, mitering the tiles to meet seamlessly in a corner gives it the cleanest, crafted finish.
- another way to complete your tiling is to run a bead of caulk or grout along the exposed tile edge (not suitable for unglazed zellige).
- if you have a painted surface next to your tile, you can choose to paint the outer edge of the tile to match the painted surface (not suitable for unglazed zellige).
- 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 zellige tiles?
over time, a natural patina will occur on floors as they are maintained and naturally wear. this inherent traffic pattern is a highlight of using zellige and should be both anticipated and favored.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 on unglazed zellige 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. for glazed zellige, this includes all grouted areas. for unglazed zellige, this includes the tile surface and all grouted areas. reapplication is needed more often if installation is in a steam shower or pool/fountain waterline. please refer to a professional for this.
see our zellige installation & maintenance guides for more information.
what type of finish should i expect with this collection?
in our zellige collection, with the exception of two colors, all the tiles are glazed and have a glossy finish. one of the exceptions is the dark charred cedar that is glazed but matte, and the other exception is our natural zellige that also has slightly different sealing requirements and usage areas due to it being unglazed and very porous.
how much variation should i expect?
zellige are created from natural glazes, pigments and terracotta clay. every one of these natural materials is completely unfiltered allowing for maximum variation and irregularities. plus, zellige tiles are fired in hand made kilns that are fueled using olive pits. all of this handcraft is what makes zellige so magically varied - tile to tile. please enjoy the extreme variation of color, shade and surface texture.
what does this mean to you? your zellige order will contain the following: noticeable variations in thickness, size, shade and color. if you want a uniform looking glazed tile we do not suggest purchasing zellige.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SIZES OF ONE COLOR: it is impossible to guarantee a perfect color match across different sizes of the same zellige glaze if installing them together - some variation is to be expected between sizes. if you wish to have your tiles made to order for optimal color continuity, please email email@example.com to inquire.
IMPERFECTIONS: you can also expect your tiles to be affected by cracks, chipped edges, pitted glaze surfaces, crazing and iron spots. once installed properly and grouted, the above issues will bring you the varied zellige look that is so treasured by the design world.
what's crazing, and should this be expected with zellige tiles?
zellige tiles are made by hand and can show visible crazing. crazing refers to the hairline cracks which may occur in the glaze surface of tile after firing and is common in handcrafted tile.
if the above irregularities differ from your expectations, clé highly recommends you select another tile that will yield more surface regularity.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BLENDING: due to the noticeable 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.
variation and imperfection ratings:
our glazed zellige tiles, with a few exceptions, are rated 'level 3 medium' for color variation, 'level 3 medium' for texture variation, and 'level 3 heavy’ for size variation. the exceptions are shattered pearl and tea ceremony that are rated 'level 4 heavy' for color variation.
glazed tiles are also rated ‘level 2 medium’ for both pits/chips and cracks/crazing, with the exception of battled armor, charred cedar, midnight port and scribes’ ink that are rated 'level 3 heavy'. for iron spots all glazed tiles are rated ‘level 1 light’.
unglazed (natural) zellige is rated level 2 slight' for color variation, 'level 3 medium' for texture variation, 'level 3 heavy’ for size variation, ‘level 2 medium' for pits/chips, and 'level 1 light' for cracks.
see illustrations in the technical specifications section above, and read more about the ratings in our tile variation and imperfections guide.
are there best practices for sampling zellige?
due to the high variation in color of our handmade zellige tiles as well as the variation in texture of each tile (pits, specks and chips from the wood-firing process) we strongly encourage sampling more than one piece to get a better sense of what the tile has to offer.
how will my zellige samples compare to my actual order?
as noted in the variation and add on orders sections of our faq, color and size variation between batches (kiln loads) of zellige, in addition to variation from tile to tile, is to be expected given the handcrafted nature of the product. this makes it unlikely that your sample will be a perfect match with your actual order.
if you want a uniform looking glazed tile we do not suggest purchasing zellige.
what should i expect with my order of zellige?
zellige tiles travel a long distance and are in the traditional way packed with sawdust to protect the tiles from breaking.
dust and residue from shipping should be cleaned prior to installation. this is typically done as tile is being set with a quick dip of each tile into a water bath.
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. note that due to the firing methods and raw materials used to create glazed clay tiles, your order of zellige tile will have a percentage of tiles greater than 15% with cracks, crazing, iron spots, edge-chipping and pits through the glaze to the clay body. there is also color and size variation between batches that will be hard to match with an add on order, please keep this in mind when calculating your order, and be sure to purchase enough material.
clé WARNING: having an installation with tiles that experience any of the above imperfections is the traditional look for zellige installations. any editing of these naturally occurring imperfections from your tile shipment will greatly reduce the traditional appeal of your installation. if these imperfections do not fit your project’s needs we recommend ordering 20-30% overage. this allows your contractor to cherry-pick these imperfections from your order.
is it possible to purchase more of the same material after my initial order (i.e. place an add on order)?
color and size variation between batches (kiln loads) of zellige is a normal occurrence and to be expected given the handcrafted nature of the tile. please keep this in mind when calculating your order, and be sure to purchase enough material.
for more information related to ordering and shipping, please be sure to visit our shipping and returns and delivery information resource pages.