The art of creating traditional Moroccan tiles has been passed on from one generation to the next over centuries. This exquisite art form began with intricate patterns that were created with colourful mosaic tile pieces laid in a bed of plaster which were made popular in Moorish and Arabesque architectural styles. Simple square terracotta tiles are also a staple of traditional Moroccan tile art, with glazed and un-glazed options being made entirely by hand using ancient methods and techniques that result in wonderfully varied and unique pieces that create a stunning effect in any design scheme.
In order to properly maintain your new Moroccan tiles, it is important to note which of these types of tiles require sealing and what products are recommended to keep the tiles clean to ensure the best quality finish over time.
HOW TO CLEAN UN-GLAZED MORROCAN TILES
Un-glazed Moroccan tiles are most often made of hardy and durable terracotta and are often thicker than glazed Moroccan wall tile options, making them strong enough to withstand foot traffic and be used as a floor finish.
Handmade using traditional techniques, our Prato Terracotta collection includes a range of different shapes and sizes to choose from. These wonderfully earthy toned tiles can be used as a durable floor or wall option, creating a strong sense of character in any application.
The iron rich natural clays are sourced from Fez or Meknes in Morocco, areas that are well known for their quality materials, and then soaked in water until they are soft enough to easily form and manipulate by hand. Each tile is individually shaped and then baked in a wood fired kiln. The uneven heat distribution in these kilns is what leads to the spectacularly varied depth of colour (referred to as kiln flashing) in these traditional tiles, making them especially unique while adding to their character and charm.
As there is no glaze applied to these luscious tiles, their porous nature requires they be sealed in order to be properly protected from staining or marking. The tiles are usually sealed prior to installation in order to protect them from tile adhesives and grout during the laying process. It is then recommended that they be sealed once again after installation and then every few years thereafter to ensure a quality finish over time. As cement based grout products are recommended for use with terracotta Moroccan tiles for floor use, this too will require sealing as when the cement mixture sets, it too is porous.
Baked in a wood-fired kiln, the iron rich terracotta tiles are prone to an effect referred to as ‘kiln flashing’. As the heat in the kiln is not evenly distributed, the tiles will show variations in their depth of colour. Being a handmade product, these tiles will also show variations in their surface texture, their edges and shape, resulting in the unique and timeless finish that handmade products are so well known for.
Perini Tiles recommends the use of specific cleaning products on these earthy tiles to ensure the very best results over time. Our Lithofin cleaning collection includes options that are specific to porous tiles that are made of natural materials. These products are strong enough to keep these beautiful tiles looking their best while also being gentle enough to not cause any damage or discoloration to the product. Abrasive cleaning pads, harsh cleaning chemicals such as bleach, or acidic household cleaners should all be avoided when it comes to maintaining terracotta tiles and instead, a solution of warm water in a soft mop or cloth can be used for regular cleaning along with specific tile cleaning solutions included in our Lithofin collection.
HOW TO CLEAN GLAZED CERAMIC MORROCAN TILES
Moroccan tiles for wall use are often brightly coloured and feature a baked-on glaze across their surface. These tiles are handmade using the same raw materials and techniques as with un-glazed, raw terracotta tiles however, a deeply saturated colour is applied to each tile along with a clear, lustrous glaze before the kiln-firing process.
The colourful Archaic collection includes a variety of handmade glazed ceramic tile options that use classical designs originating from Mexico, Spain and the Mediterranean. Each piece is unique, offering a spectacular wall finish that can be used in all areas of the home for a truly personalised touch.
The glaze creates an almost glass-like barrier over each tile, providing protection against moisture from seeping into the body of the tile itself. This glaze does away with the need for sealing these tiles as they are already adequately protected. As noted above however, the cement based grout used in the tile’s application will require sealing in order to ensure it is not discoloured or damaged by dirt or moisture.
Being a handmade product, Moroccan tiles will feature an uneven surface finish as a result of the hand making process. The surface of each tile is incredibly varied and unique, adding to the character of this traditional form of art. Small pits and chips are often a part of these variations, along with uneven edges and varied colour tones, all of which are what make Moroccan handmade tiles so well sought after as a form of art for the home.
Due to these variations in Moroccan tile finishes, it is important to consider the best cleaning practices recommended. Once again, the hardened glaze across the surface of these tiles is beneficial; this glaze provides a sleek and slippery surface that can be easily and swiftly wiped clean with no more than a soft cloth and water. The ridges and chips however may require just a little more elbow grease to ensure no dirt is caught or trapped. As cement based grouts are most often recommended for use with these handmade tiles, it is important to maintain the seal across the grout and keep it clean with the use of a gentle scrubber that will dislodge any dirt or grime caught within it.
OTHER MATERIALS: PORCELAIN, CONCRETE & NATURAL STONE
Modern interpretations of traditional Moroccan styles are being created using a range of different materials, from natural stones such as marble, to hard and durable porcelain as well as concrete. These modern styles draw inspiration from the traditional colours and geometric patterns seen in authentic Moroccan mosaic tile art, focusing on repeating shapes and a variety of colours.
Natural stone tiles are very similar in their care and maintenance techniques as raw terracotta tiles. Also porous, natural stone tiles require sealing at installation and then every few years or so thereafter. When a cement based grout is used, this too will require sealing to help prevent the product from being damaged or discoloured by dirt or moisture. Once again, harsh, acidic or abrasive cleaning products should best be avoided so as not to damage the natural material and instead, warm water can be used to mop or wipe down your natural stone tiles along with specific cleaning solutions that are sensitive enough for natural products. Perini Tiles recommends the use of Stain-Proof ® Daily Floor Cleaner or Lithofin MN Easy-Clean, both of which can be purchased from our showroom. Both of these cleaners provide a deep and thorough clean for natural stone tiles without compromising the natural material or the sealant used on their surface.
Luxurious, timeless and elegant, the Meknes marble collection includes a selection of different naturally occurring marble tones in the traditional Moroccan lantern tile format. These lustrous tiles are suitable for floor and wall use in the home, providing endless appeal with their natural elegance and charm.
Concrete tiles (also referred to as encaustic tiles) provide a supremely durable and hard wearing surface finish in the home. These tiles are often handmade with cement mixtures being dyed and poured into forms to create a range of patterns and designs. Concrete tiles are well known for their ornate, geometric styles and dusty colour tones that create a bold and striking statement in any design. Certain collections of concrete tiles draw inspiration from traditional Moroccan colour schemes and patterns to create a modern look for the home. These tiles can often be used as both a floor or wall solution, allowing you a world of flexibility and creativity in design.
Similar to terracotta and natural stone tiles, concrete tiles are porous and will require sealing. Perini Tiles recommends the use of Fila Natural Wax Sealant for concrete tiles). These tiles can be kept tidy with a regular dry mop to remove dust and a wet mop to remove any spills or dirt on their surface. Perini Tiles recommends the use of Fila Detergent for general cleaning of concrete tiles as this biodegradable product provides an excellent cleanse of your concrete tiles without damaging the material or the sealant. More stubborn marks or staining on the tiles can be treated with our Fila PS87 Degreaser; this product should only be used in the case of exceptionally stubborn marks on the tiles as it is extremely intense and will require that the tile be re-sealed after use.
Characterised by their intricate patterns, bold, dusty colour tones and smooth matte finishes, concrete tiles such as our Frederico collection offer a timeless option for all areas of the home.
Porcelain tiles provide an ultra-durable and hard wearing surface finish that in most cases can be used as either a floor or wall solution. Unlike natural stone or concrete options, these tiles will not require sealing as their ultra-hard surface is resistant to water, heat, staining and scratching with proper use.
Porcelain tiles will usually only need a dry mop for removing dust a wet mop for removing dirt and spills. Perini Tiles also recommends the use of Lithofin KF Active-Clean for regular use on porcelain tiles; this cleaner assist in the removal of any calcium build-up, dirt deposits, soap scum or greasy residue on the surface of your tiles. This product is an excellent choice for regular use on porcelain tiles however if you are after more of a deep cleanse, out Lithofin KF Intensive Cleaner will do just the trick! This intense cleaning solution is recommended for use with tiles that see more wear and tear, such as floor tiles in a high traffic area for example. The concentrated solution is diluted in a 1:10 solution of old or lukewarm water which is then evenly distributed across the surface of the tiles using a soft brush or scrubber. The product should then sit on the tiles for 10-20 minutes while being brushed occasionally to ensure it does not dry up on the surface. Clean the solution off your tiles by rinsing with clean water and buffing dry with a dry mop for best results.
The stunning Arcade collection displays a stunning selection of patterns that are inspired by traditional geometric patterns seen in Moroccan mosaic tile art, offering a modern and luxe look for the home.
Moroccan tiles can be used throughout the home to create an elegant, earthy and warm atmosphere. The many unique styles available in these exciting collections ensure there is an option to suit any design scheme and budget for a personal touch in your next project.
For more information on traditional and modern Moroccan tile options, you can visit our guide here where we explore the history of the Moroccan tradition of tile making along with the various options available for all areas of the home.
Our team at Perini Tiles can recommend the very best tile solutions to suit you individual creative style and budget while also recommending the best care and maintenance tips to ensure the very best quality result for the life of your tiles. Visit our Richmond tiles showroom or schedule a free online design consultation to explore your options and start working on your project today!