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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.