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Moroccan Naturel tile; suitable for your project?

Posted on 11-10-2022 by Fieke

Moroccan Platta, Zellige and Bejmat have been made using the same authentic recipe for centuries. They are formed from clay, dried in the sun, glazed and fired in an olive pit kiln. This process is done by hand, tile by tile.

Over the years, of course, different variations have emerged. The square Zellige is actually more of a Western shape, but in Morocco they prefer the small shapes or "Mosaic" in different shapes and colours. Whole streets are still decorated with these! The tile we call "Natural" is actually a tile that is not glazed. It is literally a slice of clay dried in the sun. The Naturel tile is widely used in Morocco together with the green brick tile, the Bejmat Vert Foncee. The colours match each other really beautifully!
Since natural colours are totally "on trend" in the Netherlands, the unglazed colour has not gone unnoticed either. Designtegels' natural tile is in demand! But because the tile is unglazed, there are a few important points to know before going for this tile:

1. Untreated = susceptible to all stains! The tile is not sealed. The slab of clay soaks up all the possible moisture and dirt it encounters. And you can't get this out again. In Morocco, they don't think this is a problem. It emphasises the natural character. Is this a problem for you? Then we do not recommend the tile for your home.
2. In which room will you place the tile? As mentioned in point 1, we don't recommend placing the tile in a room with a lot of dirt or moisture. Also, because the tile is not glazed, it is not waterproof. So don't place it in your shower room!
3. Are you going to place the Natural tile on the floor? Bejmat and Platta are suitable for this. We recommend impregnating them. You then put an extra layer on top of the clay, as it were, so that dirt and grime are less easily absorbed. This can be done with Stain Stop and Tile Oil. Note: the tile oil will make the tile look yellower, think of the colour of oil. Read how much to apply in which room in the steps below.
4. Are you going to place the Zellige, Bejmat or Platta tile against the wall? And is it in a place where not much dirt will come, such as the wall in the hall or behind the stove, then it is enough to treat the tile with only Stain Stop. As a kitchen wall or behind the bathroom cabinet, we still recommend using oil, but this is not a must.

How much impregnating agent do you need to impregnate Natural tile?
This remains very difficult for us to estimate. Because the tile absorbs a lot, it depends on the thickness of the tile and which impregnation agent you are going to use. For the thick (floor) tiles Bejmat and Platta, we recommend: 1 litre per 5 m2, per impregnation agent. The Zellige are thin, and therefore absorb less. For these, we recommend 1 litre per 7 m2, per impregnating agent. Always clean the tiles after installation and before impregnation with Azule cement slurry remover, so that the white lime haze of the glue, grout and extra lime disappears from the tile before impregnation and cannot be removed afterwards. Do this with a scouring pad, hard scrubbing is sometimes necessary! Always ask us for advice. Since every project, room and tile is different, we always try to find a suitable solution together.

An alternative to the Natural tile is the Piedra Biscuit or Tan tile. It has the looks of the Moroccan Natural tile but is ceramic and not sensitive to stains or dirt.

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