The use to which Talavera tile will be put dictates the correct selection of the particular tile being used. For example, if the tile is being used on food preparation surfaces, it is prudent to verify that the tile, in both its bisque form (fired but unglazed clay) and glazed form have been fired to a temperature appropriate for food contact. This normally means that the bisque has been fired to a cone 03 temperature. This temperature varies as per the type of testing “cone” system used in the kiln temperature testing process, but ranges from 2014° to 2068° F (1101° to 1131° C). Also, for food preparation areas, verify that the tile has been glazed with a food-safe glaze.

Because tiles, fired at this higher temperature, exhibit decreased surface crazing, use of these tiles is more appropriate where water and significant temperature variations occur such as inside showers and exterior walkway and patio accent tiles. Please note that I do not recommend large areas of Talavera tile on exterior walking surfaces because of the potential for slippage when the tiles are wet. Tiles used for backsplashes, wall panels, stair risers, and other interior and exterior vertical applications can be of a lower temperature firing with little concern.

Talavera tiles act in a wonderfully synergistic way with terracotta handmade clay floor tiles. Handmade terracotta tiles of a high quality (high-temperature fired and made from clays and topsoils rich in minerals that produce a rich range of color when wood fired) both complement and are complemented by Talavera tiles that are placed artistically within the walking surface design. The vibrant colors and smaller scale of the Talavera tiles blend and accent beautifully with the range of warm earth tones found in high quality handmade clay tiles. When used in an exterior application, care should be taken in keeping the amount of glazed Talavera tile to widths narrow enough to minimize the possibility of slippage when the walking surface becomes wet.