Inside Tips for Installing Zellige Tile

Design trends constantly change. So, how do you keep up with current styles and create a timeless look? Zellige tile is a popular classic décor choice. Artisans make each of Riad Tile’s glazed terracotta Moroccan tiles by hand, one at a time. That means no two tiles are ever the same. Each unique finished product adds a rich, eclectic mix of color, texture and glaze to any space. Zellige’s imperfections accentuate its indelible character.

Follow these Zellige installation tips when you use this stunning tile in your next home interior project.

Multiple Application and Design Possibilities

The art of Zellige originated over 1,300 years ago in modern-day Spain. Craftspeople mix natural clay with water, shape each tile by hand and dry them. Then, they kiln-fire Zellige tiles over olive branches, giving each tile its extraordinary color palette and pattern.

This centuries-old tile’s classic appeal works well in various design schemes, from farmhouse/cottage to Old World charm and Mid-century modern.

As for layout, you can vertically stack them on an entire wall—like in a shower—or stagger them subway-style for a kitchen or bathroom backsplash. Here’s an example of vertical stacking with Riad’s Blush Zellige 2″x6″x7/8″ tile.

You can also use Zellige tiles on the floor or arrange them to create an attractive border.

Installation Inspiration Spotlight

DIYer Chelsea McLemore passes on some lessons she learned while installing Riad Tile’s Natural White Thin Zellige in her recent kitchen renovation. We are the only company in the U.S. that sells thin Zellige. 


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A post shared by Chelsea McLemore -DIY- Family (@onthedailywith.chels)

Chelsea calls out these crucial points in her Instagram video.


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A post shared by Chelsea McLemore -DIY- Family (@onthedailywith.chels)

We love the weathered charm Zellige adds to Chelsea’s kitchen renovation. Notice how the backsplash tiles look raised and uneven. This fun texture makes the space pop.


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A post shared by Chelsea McLemore -DIY- Family (@onthedailywith.chels)

Here’s another view set against exquisite lighting installed by @electricalhomesolutions. Everything looks so warm and inviting!


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A post shared by Chelsea McLemore -DIY- Family (@onthedailywith.chels)

And a closeup featuring Riad’s Natural White Thin Zellige in Chelsea’s shelf-styling video.

More Zellige Installation Tips

Whether you’re a seasoned home improvement DIYer or starting your first renovations, these helpful tips are specifically geared toward installing Zellige tile. If you need more clarification about tackling it, you can always hire a pro.

Reminders, Sealing and Prep

Once you have completed your prep work, it’s time for the fun part: installing the tiles!

Applying Adhesive, Setting Tiles, Spacing and Cutting

Grout and Cleanup

Grouting and cleanup finish the job.

Zellige Flooring

Zellige flooring applications work best in light-traffic areas with minimal heavy impacts. To ensure perfect bonding between Zellige tiles and the subfloor, pay close attention when applying adhesive on the floor and back of the tiles.

Zellige in Wet Areas

In wet areas like swimming pools, shower floors and walls, and fountains, ensure the surface you will lay Zellige tiles on is waterproof, stable and rigid before installing. Also, use adhesive cement and grout that are suitable for wet spaces.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a classic Zellige transformation in your home.