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Placing and Treatment Moroccan Tile

Download here our step by step guide for Moroccan tiles.


Type: Moroccan tiles are handmade tiles, made of clay and glaze, baked in a special olive pit oven.
Materials: Specific clay, mined in Fez (Morocco) and glaze.
Characteristics: Small imperfections, lime pips and vivid color nuances are inherent to the product and should be considered normal.
Variants: Zelliges, Bejmat and Plattas.
Where to apply: Both inside and outside, walls and floors. (different per variant)
Extra attention: Moroccan tiles must be immersed in water before installation for better adhesion with the tile adhesive. Usually install wall tiles without joints. Mix tiles from different boxes.

The step-by-step plan and advice may differ per space or area of  the application. Below we give our advice for the most common placement of Moroccan tiles. Please read the important tips at the bottom of the step-by-step plan and contact us if you have any questions.

What do you need to install Moroccan tiles:

  • Primer
  • Flexible tile adhesive
  • Flexible grout
  • 2 mm tile spacers (optional)
  • Water-cooled tile saw and / or angle grinder
  • Joint trowel, glue tub, glue comb with 6 or 8mm teeth
  • Azule Cement Stain Remover (cleaning agent)
  • Bucket and sponge / wash-in set


STEP-BY-STEP PLAN 
Before you start tiling, make a plan of how the tiles should be placed. For example; are there patterns with borders (border tiles) or should everything be neatly centered in the room? Measure everything well in advance for a good result!

Priming
Is the surface on which you will be tiling absorbent or untreated? First make sure that you treat the surface with the correct primer. This can usually be applied with a block brush or paint roller. Follow the instructions and allow the drying time of the respective primer.

Mix colors
Baking of Moroccan tiles in the authentic olive pit ovens results in many color nuances. The place in the oven, the temperature and the smoke development contribute to this. The color may differ per box or even per tile. Therefore, mix all the tiles from the boxes together so that you get a natural / evenly color mix.

Preprocessing
Before gluing the tiles, it is very important that you submerge the tiles in water. Let them absorb moisture for at least 1 minute before draining them into an empty bucket. Do this with about 20 tiles at a time. This is necessary because the clay is very dry and therefore wants to absorb the moisture from the glue. This could result in poor adhesion. By wetting them you ensure that they stick well and won’t come off later.

With or without a joint?
Moroccan tiles can be installed jointless as well as with a joint. In the case of jointless, the small openings or irregularities that remain after installation must still be grouted! In wet areas like a shower or bath area we always recommend a joint of 1 to 2 mm. Moroccan tiles that are placed on the floor such as Bejmat and Plattas must always be grouted. This has to do with the sturdiness of the tile floor, but also to prevent dirt and moisture from remaining between the tiles.

Gluing tiles
Apply glue to the wall / floor as well as to the tile itself. By gluing the tiles twice you can align them better with each other and compensate for irregularities in thickness.
Place the tiles without too much pressure against the wall or floor, in a manageable number, and press them together until they have the same height. Because the tiles can differ in thickness, it is important that you maintain the same height so that it becomes a nice flat whole. They can then be individually touched up by hand, for example to level or align joints. However, this updating should be done quickly because the adhesive will adhere quickly to the tiles. Let the glue dry for 24 hours before grouting or walking on it.
It is normal that small cracks and holes remain, these will be filled with grout later.
Zelliges can sometimes be concave and convex in shape, creating sharp edges between the tiles. This in itself is quite normal. This is reduced somewhat during the grouting. If you do not want sharp edges, all tiles must be pressed individually so that they fit perfectly with adjacent tiles.
This will take a little more time to finish.

Cut to size
Moroccan tiles can be cut with a water-cooled saw or angle grinder with diamond disc. A box of tiles always contains a few less beautiful tiles, use these as a fitting piece for small corners.

Grouting
When the glue is dry, the tiles can be grouted. Even when they are glued jointless, grouting must be done to make the floor or wall watertight. Use a flexible grout and process it until it is slightly thinner than usual and apply with a grout spatula. A slightly thinner grout can be processed more easily in the tiny holes and cracks.
Let the grout dry (about 30 minutes) and remove the excess grout that remains on the tiles with a slightly damp sponge or cloth. Make sure you do not remove too much, the joints must remain well filled.
Once the grout is completely dry, you can clean the tiles a few more times with a solution of water and Azule Cement Stain Remover until you can no longer see the veil.

CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE
Moroccan tiles are easy to maintain and do not require any special cleaning agent. You can clean the tiles with an all-purpose cleaner or other non-greasy soap. Just make sure that the cleaning agent is not corrosive, non-bleaching or not extremely acidic. This can cause the color to fade and damage the tiles.

Tips

  • Work in a clean and well-ventilated area.
  • It is best to mix tiles from different boxes.
  • Immerse Moroccan tiles in water before gluing them. (1 minute). This will allow the glue to adhere better.
  • Place Moroccan tiles as tightly as possible against each other. The spaces and unevenness that remain must be grouted.
  • Moroccan tiles may contain pips and crackle, causing the glaze to come off at the top. This should be considered normal, these spots can be filled with grout. (both on the edges and in the center of the tiles)
  • To cut the Zellige, Bejmat or Plattas to size, use a water-cooled tile saw or an angle grinder.
  • Zelliges can have sharp edges. To prevent the tiles from sticking out too much and so you feel these edges too much, we strongly recommend that you glue the tiles on both surfaces; on the tile and on the surface where you place them. The extra glue makes it easier to install the tiles evenly.
  • Always read the instructions on the packaging of the various products you will need to install tiles such as glue, grout and primer.
  • Make a good plan / sketch in advance of how you want to place the tiles and where the tiles should be cut. Place entire tiles on the lines of sight (the place of a wall that you see first in a room) and (if possible) use the cut tiles in the places that you cannot immediately see.
  • Moroccan tiles give a lived appearance, that is the character of this type of tile. It is therefore good to know that it is okay if not all tiles are placed equally straight or if small holes have been filled with grout.
  • If you are unsure of the correct treatment or if you have any questions about the treatment schedule, please do not hesitate to contact our helpdesk. We are happy to advise you so that you are sure of a good result!
  • Work safely! Always use the correct protective products such as gloves, safety glasses and hearing protection. When cutting or grinding tiles, pieces can come loose and cause painful injuries. Make sure you always have a first aid kit within reach.

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