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Where Zellige Tiles Excel

Whether you’re considering completely renovating your bathroom, adding just dash of color to your kitchen, or building a new back patio, nothing is more helpful to you and your project than having a variety of options. You might decide on one style, then something completely different will catch your eye and make you want to change your plans entirely. That’s why we at Riad Tile spend a great deal of time and effort on our tile selections: so we can offer our customers a wide variety of high-quality options to choose from. That’s why we offer the spectrum of colors present in classic zellige tiles.

Zellige tiles are among our most unique offerings. Each tile is individually handcrafted in Morocco by craftsmen who have been creating these spectacular tiles using largely the same methods for generations. These tiles each have their own personality, with subtle color and texture variations that work together to create a visual tapestry that simply can’t be copied by an application of any other tile.

Despite their unique appearance and vibrant coloration, zellige applications are still relatively uncommon in the U.S., as they are just starting to be embraced by home and business owners. In other parts of the world, zellige (or ‘zellij’) has been used in countless contexts, providing small homes and palaces alike with their distinctive visual flair. But because of how new zellige is to us on this side of the globe, you may be wondering where zellige even belongs in your home. Here are a few a tips on where you can place zellige, how to place it, and how to treat it after it’s been set.

Why Should I Use Zellige?

More now than ever before, you have countless options for tiling at your disposal. You could be on your way to a modern masterpiece or a classic mid-century look or something completely unique to your tastes, all at the click of a mouse. So why choose zellige for your next project?

Enduring Style

Every once in awhile, a piece of decor is interesting or distinctive enough to transcend the stylistic changes that occur throughout decades or, in the case of zellige tiles, centuries. At Riad Tile, we pride ourselves on locating the tile designs that have stood the test of time, and zellige is absolutely no exception. Zellige didn’t just survive years upon years of decor shifts, it thrived through them. Zellige is just bold enough to stand strong while spaces and styles take shape around them rather than disappearing into the background to be forgotten.

Rich History

Riad Tile’s zellige tiles are handcrafted by master artisans in their origin country of Morocco. Each tile is individually handmade, naturally dyed, and kiln-fired, in a method of production that has been used for hundreds of years. These tiles were perfected long ago. Zellige has a rich history in Morocco and Spain spanning over 1,300 years, so each application of zellige provides your space with a quality that is difficult to attain: history. But make no mistake, these tiles are far from a distant memory. They are still very much a part of many Moroccan and Spanish cultures and are widely in use.

Visually Unique

Zellige tiles, while seemingly simple on paper, are a distinctive addition to any space. A single zellige tile is a small fraction of a much larger picture. Due to the handcrafting of zellige, no two tiles are ever completely the same, with subtle variations in color being a natural part of their creation. After being kiln-fired at incredibly high temperatures, each zellige tile develops its own personality. Some may grow slightly darker in color while other may brighten, and some may chip ever so slightly while others develop hairline cracks (don’t worry, this doesn’t affect durability!). The slight variations may be difficult to even notice on their own, but when zellige tiles are applied, these differences form up an amazing appearance in which no two tiles are completely the same. Zellige tile’s signature appearance adds a sense of depth, movement, and liveliness to any space.

At Riad Tile, we spend a great deal of time and effort selecting our tiles, working to ensure that what we offer is much more than a fad, but a lasting addition to your home or workplace. Zellige tiles are another of our offerings that have long proven that they are here to stay.

Zellige Tiles in the Home

Whether you’re looking to add an enormous focal point to your kitchen, island or bar area, or you’re just trying to add a bit of extra color and texture to a half-bath, zellige tiles will be a distinctive and always interesting addition to your space. Due to its rich coloration and sheen, zellige tile offers a fresh, vivacious look capable of livening up dull spaces while adding a dimension of complexity that is borne of years of masterful crafting and perfecting. But you might wonder, how does a piece of decor as traditional as zellige fit in among the modern decor that is common to the average home? In other words what keeps zellige from looking antiquated?

Zellige is definitely a tile that benefits a great deal from irregularity. While they vary in color and texture, zellige tiles, at their core, are simple terracotta tiles that are imbued with their signature appearance through the unique imperfections that can only come from handcrafting. These slight imperfections make an otherwise ordinary tile just slightly different from its counterparts, while remaining just close enough to match. These inconsistencies in color and texture add the variation needed to make an application of zellige into the utterly fascinating creation that it is. Without these imperfections, zellige would be a bit monochromatic, something that the makers of this tile purposefully avoid.

Every application of zellige is wholly unique, and we offer a wide variety of different colors in multiple sizes to fit any space. But some shades of zellige are simply more suited to specific applications. For example, if you have a half bath that doesn’t have any windows or much natural light, using a lighter shade of zellige like sky blue, snow, or blush may be better decision than using something like forest green. In contrast, many spaces are well-lit enough for darker zellige and all the complexity those tiles deliver. For more insight into how the color of zellige tiles can impact a space, read our guide on using darker zellige in the home.

Beyond our wide variety of colors, Riad offers two different sizes for each of our zellige tiles: 2” x 6” and 4” x 4”. While both of these sizes are fairly versatile and able to be used in all sorts of spaces, they both have their own particular strengths that should be considered when you are thinking about a zellige application. 2” x 6” zellige tiles tend to take on a more delicate appearance, and therefore are better suited for smaller applications, whereas the 4” x 4” varieties offer a bolder look that shines in large applications. Of course, this varies from space to space, and you may find that your half-bath backsplash looks much better with 4” x 4” or your kitchen is perfectly rounded out by the length of the 2” x 6”. It just depends on your space and your taste.

At Riad Tile, we are always searching for tile that exhibits the elusive qualities that makes for classic, timeless decor. One common thread we’ve noticed among truly timeless decor is that it has some sense of history. Whether it’s dating back a few decades or, in the case of zellige, centuries, the aspect of being rooted in tradition adds a great deal to any piece of decor, because it guarantees that the decor has gone through various iterations and alterations before becoming what it is today. In other words, our handcrafted zellige has definitely been put through its paces.

A How-To for Zellige Tiles

As we mentioned above, zellige tiles are still fairly new to the U.S., so to avoid any potential mistakes and mishandling, we work extra hard to keep our customers informed on how to best care for their new zellige. Zellige is fairly durable, but like any tile, it needs proper installation. Here are a few tips and tricks for zellige care and installation. To see all the details about zellige care and installation, please visit our zellige installation page.

Installing Your Zellige

When you receive your zellige, you might notice that the color varies from box to box. In order to achieve the effect of slight color variations throughout the application, you MUST open the boxes and blend tiles of different boxes together. If you don’t blend the boxes, you’ll end up with an application that has different sections of color rather than a single tapestry with a diverse array of shades. After your boxes are blended, you are ready to install!  Remember, zellige owes its unique appearance to slight chipping and cracking, so if you don’t want this effect, you should order 20-30% more tile. View our detailed installation guide here.

Where to Install Zellige Tiles

Zellige has fairly sturdy construction of solid, kiln-fired terracotta, but that doesn’t make it an all-purpose tile. Though it can be applied to floors, zellige should really only be placed in light-traffic areas, rather than entryways or other places that see a great deal of foot-traffic. Zellige can be installed in areas that come into direct contact with water, just make sure that waterproof grout is used.

Taking Good Care of Your Zellige

Another amazing quality of zellige is how low-maintenance it is. Once installed, zellige can easily last for decades. Zellige tiles are easy to clean, just use mild soaps or neutral cleaners, no need for anything stronger.

Zellige tiles prove that beauty doesn’t need to come at the cost of durability. If the worst happens and one of your tiles breaks or is heavily scuffed, replacing the tile is made extremely easy, as color variations are already part of every zellige application. Zellige is a low-maintenance way of adding color and texture to any space.

Riad’s Traditional Zellige Tile

At Riad Tile, we work hard to provide our customers with the finest possible tiles for the lowest prices in the country. Our zellige tiles are no exception. We love seeing new applications of zellige because we know that we’ve been able to help someone create their dream space with a material that is as unique as their tastes. For this purpose, zellige is unmatched. Additionally, we enjoy providing people with the tools they need to exercise their creativity, and zellige has proven to be an exquisite material for that purpose. With its old-world roots, zellige provides the means for entirely new applications that haven’t even been considered before. It’s so exciting to see this gorgeous material being but to such good use, and we look forward to seeing new creations in the future using zellige tile.

At Riad Tile, we offer the finest of both new and old world tiling in terracotta, cement, and marble composition, in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors to ensure that you can find exactly what you want for your space. From handcrafted cement tiles to kiln-fired zellige tiles, Riad Tile offers only premium-quality tiles for some of the lowest prices in the country. Each of the tiles we offer has its own distinct style, ranging from modern and sleek to rustic and time-tested. By offering this wide variety, we can help you find exactly what you need for your space. So whether you are interested in our vibrant, classic zellige or something else entirely, with Riad Tile, you can explore your options and find the perfect tile for you.

Feel free to order a sample of any one of our tiles anytime!