Zellige tiles are growing in popularity but there are some important things to be aware of before you buy.
How are they made?
Zellige Tiles, pronounced "zell-idge," are handcrafted tiles made by artisans using natural clay, typically from Fez, Morocco. They are dried naturally in the sun and then kiln-dried before being hand-glazed. This process means each tile is unique in every way. The colour, texture, and tone can vary quite drastically, especially when compared to modern porcelain tiles. If you are a perfectionist looking for a uniform look, these are probably not the tiles for you. However, for some people, the irregularities are what make Zellige tiles so attractive and unique.
There is no getting away from the fact that once installed, the overall surface of the wall will be textured and rippled. It is worth noting that this may present a challenge when it comes to cleaning as a soft sponge may get caught on the protruding edges. However, there are several ways to overcome this challenge. To start, you may want to opt for a more robust cleaning cloth that is still gentle yet durable. Additionally, it is important to remember that the textured surface can actually be beneficial as it can help hide any dirt or marks that may appear over time. So if you can accept the imperfections you are free to appreciate the beauty of these tiles. The textured look adds character and depth to any room, creating a unique charm that you simply don't get with matt tiles. So, while Zellige tiles may require a bit of extra effort to keep clean, the overall aesthetic is definitely worth it.
The main purpose of grout is to secure the tiles in place and to seal the wall from water damage. However, the grout width can also be a stylistic choice as well as a practical one.
Thin or invisible grout lines (between 1-2mm) make the texture of the tiling the star of the show. This option is perfect if you want to highlight the unique texture and pattern of your Zellige tiles. But, If you want a really natural Moroccan aesthetic, a purposefully thick grout of 3-5mm will enhance the overall texture of your walls. The thick grout creates a dramatic contrast between the tiles, giving them a more rustic and aged appearance.
But, you should also keep in mind that thick grout lines are without a doubt more tricky to clean, so try using this technique in low-traffic areas, like a guest bathroom. In comparison, thin grout lines are easier to clean and maintain, making them the ideal option for high-traffic areas like the main bathroom.
Overall, the choice between thin and thick grout lines depends on your personal preference and the overall design of your bathroom. Thin grout lines work best for modern, sleek designs, while thick grout lines are perfect for a more rustic, Mediterranean-inspired look. Whatever your preference, make sure to consider both aesthetics and practicality when choosing the width of your grout lines.
Variation and installation
One of the main benefits of using zellige tiles is the wide range of colours, textures, and tones that can be seen in just one type of tile. This creates a unique and authentic look that is perfect for those who want to add character and charm to their space. However, it is important to note that the uneven and varied nature of these tiles means that the installation process is more time-consuming and challenging compared to standard porcelain tiles.
To ensure that the tiles are installed properly, it is recommended to speak to your tiler in advance and make the necessary arrangements. While the labour cost for installing zellige tiles is higher compared to standard flat tiles, the overall result is well worth the investment as it adds a touch of character and uniqueness to any space.
The reflective nature of these tiles makes them an ideal choice for rooms that have less natural light, as they can help to brighten up the space with their reflective qualities. By positioning the tiles strategically on the floor before you tile the wall, you can create a stunning ombré effect that adds a touch of whimsy to your bathroom.
You might even consider mixing two similar colours to create an even more varied and interesting design that will keep your guests talking for days to come. With so many possibilities to explore, these tiles are the perfect choice for anyone looking to add a touch of playfulness and charm to their bathroom.