Last week we shared our thoughts on the Zellige Tile Trend. It’s a tile that we love and think has timeless appeal. The post led to lots of questions about Zellige: What is it? Why is it so expensive? How should it be installed? What colors have we used? If you are thinking of using Zellige in your own home, here are a few things you should know.
What is Zellige Tile?
Zellige tile is the beautiful glossy tile that we have been using in our projects. It’s a glazed terracotta tile handcrafted in Morocco. Each piece varies slightly in color, texture, and even shape. This variation creates incredible depth in your space and feels like a work of art.
Why is there so much variation in Zellige tile?
Zellige tile is entirely handmade. The tiles are hand dipped in glaze and hand chiseled to size. Because of this you will see a lot of difference in color saturation, glaze thickness, and even size. You can also expect hair-line cracks in the glaze and uneven edges. If you think this lack of uniformity will drive you crazy, or if you want a super crisp look, this is not the tile for you. Loving Zellige is loving the unique worn-in feel it creates. It’s a look that has rich Old-World character.
Is Zellige Tile too Trendy?
Read last week’s post, Zellige Tile:Trendy or Timeless? We explain why we think although the tile is trending, it’s a look to love even after the trend has moved on.
What about cost? Zellige is so expensive, can I use a cheaper alternative?
Machine made, mass produced copies of Zellige are available at a much lower price (usually $7-$10/sq ft for mass produced vs $18-$28/sq ft for handmade). Although the tiles are glossy and textured, the interesting artisan vibe created by true hand-crafted Zellige is hard to replicate. If you can afford authentic Zellige, we think it is worth the splurge. There is inherit beauty in a handmade, high quality, history-filled product. Installing it in your home will always have an artistic appeal while the cheaper alternative is more likely to feel dated with the passing trend.
Tips for installation?
This is a tile job you might want to hire out and skip the DIY. The uneven size and edge can make it a harder job. But whether it is you or your tile installer that needs tips, Cle Tile recommends using a penetration sealer or grout release before grouting to avoid tile discoloration, an industry standard 1/16″ grout joint, and mixing your boxes of tile for a more uniform blending of color variation throughout the wall. We recommend a grout color that most closely matches your tile for a seamless “invisible grout” look.
Is Zellige only for walls?
Zellige can be used in many places indoor and out! In our Family Ties Custom Build we installed black zellige on the floor of our utility space and pool bath. For a full list of recommended installation locations, read this article.
After installation, are Zellige tiles high maintenance?
They can be. Because of the texture, rather than a quick wipe, you might need to scrub your Zellige to make sure grime isn’t settling in to the bumps, cracks, and gaps of your highly textured tile. With this said, regular cleaning and proper sealing according to manufacturer instruction keeps this from being much of a chore.
Hope this answers some of your questions! If you install Zellige in your home, we would love to see it! Share with us #BeckiOwensFeature
21 thoughts on “What you Should Know about Zellige Tile”
In the Family Ties Custom Build photo, what is that beautiful floor tile?
Hi it’s Cle Tile – Belgian Reproduction Circle and Losange in Flemish Black.
I loved your zellig article. I have used it twice. The one little thing that I wish I had known was the thickness! I ordered the small bricks but was unable to use them around my existing windows due to thickness so used them on a small fireplace surround ( love) I ordered the squares and thickness was not an issue. I ordered it all from cle. Just thought it might be worth mentioning for people not in the profession…. BTW everything you do and write I read and admire! Thank you for always sharing .
Thank you for your comment and good info:)
Do you know what grout color was used with the Sea Salt 2×6 tiles for the Family Ties custom home photos??
Hi. This article discusses some of our go groups for our projects.
Could you please share the wood species and stain color used in the Family Ties Home. It’s so beautiful and brings so much warmth to the house!
Hi you can read all about our hardwood flooring selection for this project here.
Great article! We are starting a kitchen renovation and planning on using the 2×6 Zellige as the backsplash….
Our cabinets are a true white. Do you have a preference when trying to not clash with white cabinets, would you go Snow White or Sea Salt?
I recommend ordering a sample of both to see what you like because neither tile is a true white. Howeve,the contrast from the white paint, is what will create interest and make the space look more curated.
Sea Salt is the closest you will get to true white.
Do you have a specific brand of Zellige that you prefer?
We love using Cle tiles
Hi! Do you recommend natural white or Snow White for a more uniform look?
They are both lovely, it depends on your overall color scheme. We recommend ordering a sampe of both to choose.
I LOVE all your work! You are so talented. I’m curious…. What grout have you placed with the Weathered White? I’m leaning towards Frost from Mapei but I’m curious if you’ve used a more white grout. Frost is a bit gray. Although the 1/16 gap is making the grout almost invisible. 👍 Thank you so much for your help!
Hi – here is a great post sharing our go to grouts.
Do you recommend hanging floating shelves before or after tiling the wall with Zellige?
Hi, it’s best to hang the shelving first and tile around them for a tighter, cleaner fit. Thank you
Hello! My plan is to use weathered white in our primary shower. I can’t decide on the type of floor. Should I go dark…..hexagonal black or grey maybe? My fixtures will be gold. Our windows are black trimmed.
I won’t be using marble.
Any suggestions will be much appreciated.
Hi. It just depends on your overall design plan. But gray would be a more timeless option. Thank you