first 5 samples are free!
first 5 samples are free!

Finding Beauty in Pits and Chips

08 / 01 / 2022

Racing green zellige tiles


Handcrafted zellige has several distinct qualities, but its defining characteristic is the incredible variation in each individual tile. An art form that spans centuries, the method of making Moroccan zellige tile has hardly changed throughout history. Master craftsmen, known as maalems, train generations of apprentices in their craft. Molded from raw clay and hand-filtered for impurities, each zellige tile is truly one-of-a-kind.


Captivating Colors



When you receive your new zellige tiles, the first thing you’ll notice is their rich, vibrant color. The second thing you’ll notice is the stunning variation from tile to tile. Because they are individually handmade, each tile picks up a slightly different hue. Every terra cotta tile is unique in its range of shades and upon close inspection, you will notice the depth within every single tile. To say zellige is dynamic is an understatement.


Graphite grey zellige tiles


All Shapes and Sizes



Zellige tiles are cut and chiseled by hand, which means the edges will not look smooth or completely level. While the tiles vary slightly in size, they also vary in depth. A zellige-covered floor may not lie exactly  flat from tile to tile (though it should be properly leveled), and that’s what makes it so striking! If you want to stray away from mass-manufactured, cookie-cutter materials, it doesn’t get more organic than zellige.



Chip, Chip, Hooray


Another unique element of Moroccan zellige tile is the natural tendency towards chipped edges. There will be pits and chips throughout the tiles, giving them a textured appearance. Zellige tiles should not be entirely smooth to the touch, and you can expect approximately 30-40% of tiles to contain surface-level blemishes.  You can blend those pits and chips by selecting a grout color that closely matches the color of your tile as we recommend in our installation guide.  If you want those pits and chips to pop for a more traditional zellige finish, choose a contrasting grout color.  Love it or leave it, that’s what makes zellige different from any other material on the market – and so incredibly coveted.


4×4 Pure White Zellige


Blend In and Stand Out



When you lay your zellige, you want to mix and match tiles from different boxes for an even distribution of different surface and color variations. Request that your installer blends tiles from each box to achieve this ideal mix. Zellige tiles have historically been used for decorative mosaics, so you are essentially replicating that Moroccan magic in your own home.


Aegean zellige tiles


Questions and Queries



The wonderful world of zellige can raise a few questions and we’re always here to help. If you’re curious about pits, cracks, and crazing, drop us a note. Our team is passionate about these Moroccan marvels! Just tell us about your dream installation and we can help bring it to life. Shoot us an email and we’ll talk you through the nitty-gritty of handcrafted zellige.

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