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antique terracotta installation guidelines


Antique Terracotta tiles are unglazed, non-vitreous terracotta tiles, which are hand-formed and fired.

Important note about Antique Terracotta:
Antique Terracotta tiles are not manufactured but reclaimed from antique french structures. To minimize damage to orders, we do not repackage what is shipped from our recovery team in france. Due to this, there can be substantial variations in thickness ranging from .75” - 1.25”.

Should you have an order with substantial variation you can make accommodations by building up your substrate. You will need to separate tiles into two groups a thicker group and a thinner group.  

These will be your installation groups. You will first install the thicker tile which will then allow you to pick the appropriate thickness backer board to raise the thinner tile up to the same height as the thicker tile.

Cement fiber backer board comes in two thicknesses ¼” or ½”. Remember to take the depth of the mortar bed for the thinner tiles into account when selecting your cement fiber backer board.



Indoor and outdoor applications are perfect for walls and residential and commercial flooring. Heavy use such as factory floors and exterior driveways are NOT recommended.


Installation Recommendations

It is recommended to always defer to your trade consultants (architect, engineers) and your tile contractor.

TCNA guidelines and ANSI A108, 1118, & A136 – Version 2013, printing reference 2013.1 are to be used as references for substrate preparation and tile installation methods for standard ceramic tile projects and are required for proper installation.

Always prepare your substrate to allow for this type of flooring. As with any tile installation, clé recommends that all situations falling outside the standards addressed by TCNA and ANSI recommendations be addressed, resolved and approved only by the project architect or engineer.


Antique Terracotta Installation Tips

Follow setting, sealing and grouting instructions for terracotta tiles below. You will need the following products:

  • clé Unglazed Tile Grout in the shade Timberwolf
  • Miracle 511 Porous Plus Penetrating Sealer



Terracotta tile installation should utilize thin set methods leaving at least a ½” grout joint and avoiding the use of spacers. As always be sure to clean the excess dust from the tiles prior to setting. Allow mortar to cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions prior to grouting or sealing.



Once your tiles have been set on the floor or wall it is time to seal them. For Antique Terracotta installations apply 1-2 coats of Miracle 511 Porous Plus Penetrating Sealer to the tile following the manufacturer’s instructions (wait 2-3 hours between coats).  Allow sealant to cure 6-12 hours before grouting.


Grout + Seal

Grout your tile following the manufacturer’s instructions.  

For Antique Terracotta once the grout has cured the best practice is to apply a final coat of sealant to the tile and the grout line. Do not wax, walk on, or cover tile until the sealant has dried completely.



For cleaning of terracotta tiles, we recommend the use of colorless and neutral pH cleansers- only to be used for the purpose of removing soil or stains.