Any Refurbisher of Mexican saltillo tile in Boston area?

4daffodilsFebruary 20, 2012

Does anyone know someone in Boston area who can refurbish (strip, stain and re-seal) a Mexican saltillo tile floor in my 12' x 23' kitchen? I've called 10Mexican restaurants (they don't use saltillo tile), many tile stores (apparently it's not popular in the Northeast) and even stone cleaning places (they're familiar with granite and marble, but not Mexican saltillo tile) I don't want the job botched due to inexperience. One GC suggested I call places in the AZ, NM or CA to see if someone would come to MA and rent equipment and supplies here. I think it would be expensive to pay airfare, hotel and rental charges in addition to a labor charge! Any other ideas?

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I'm in New Mexico and we have 1960's saltillo tile in our house, including the kitchen. There are local companies here who refinish Saltillo (my mother had it done in her house, almost $2000 for one large room, a hallway, and a bathroom.) I am guessing you're right about the expense of having someone travel to your area...I hope there's another solution!

I've done a lot of reading because I wanted to learn how to do this myself. Some of the best info I found was on this forum of tile restoration professionals: Forum
They have a forum devoted solely to Saltillo Tile Restoration and Maintenance. You might consider posting to this forum, to see if they have any tile restoration pro members in your area. It's also a great place to learn about what is involved in restoring it, so you'll be better able to understand your options.

After reading there, I was able to determine that our own Saltillo floors don't need to be stripped; only deeply cleaned, and then resealed with a water based sealer (I know it needs resealing because water drops can sink in to the worn areas of the tiles.) That makes it possible for me to handle it on my own, using Aqua Mix products. I like doing it myself because I can do one room or a hallway at a time, without disrupting our lives too much. I've done one bathroom so far and it looks so much better.

My mother's Saltillo did need professional stripping, though, because it has been previously sealed with an oil based sealer of some type, and the tile had taken on a very deep (and ugly) reddish hue. They used chemical sealers with very strong fumes (she hadn't moved in yet.) Then they resealed her floors with a water based sealer that restored the lighter, more natural peachy color of the Saltillo. They look wonderful.

Are you certain you want the Saltillo stained? I think some on the above forum recommend against staining, because it can wear so unevenly with time.

I completely agree with you, from my reading, it's really best to find someone with Saltillo tile experience.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 8:58PM
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I live in the Boston area. I have an idea for you. Both in East Boston and Chelsea, there are hundreds of Spanish-speaking workers who are mostly from El Salvador or Mexico instead of going to AZ. There might be some people right here that can help you. I dont think you could get the right attention on Craig's List. You could, however, put in an advertisement in the local church bulletin, and could get lots of attention that way. The church in East Boston that has the largest (thousands) of Spanish-speaking church-goers is the Holy Redeemer Church. You could call them up, place an advertisement in the bulletin, and see where it takes you. My suggestion is to have it done in Spanish. You could use Google Translate. It's an idea, that's all. I hope that helps.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 9:12PM
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Oops, I typed: "They used chemical sealers with very strong fumes"

But I meant to type: they used chemical strippers with very strong fumes. The work was not done with any type of equipment that I know of; all done by hand, women mostly, applying the strong stripper by hand, and scraping by hand. Lots of fans and open windows. And loud music. ;-)

If your tiles don't really need to be stripped, it makes the process a lot easier (and should be less expensive, too.)

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 9:29PM
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One thing i would recommend is to absolutely work with someone who has experience with this. If not you will end up with a splotchy floor. I like stained saltillo floors (like the dark floors in the movie It's complicated).

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 12:34PM
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I just did a quick google search to see what saltillo tile of the first results that came up is a place called Boston Stone Restoration. Have you checked them out?

Here is a link that might be useful: Boston Stone Restoration

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 1:56PM
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I know the folks at Boston Stone. They will take good care of you. Speak to Paul Bunis and feel free to mention my name.
Please post some pics of your Saltillo-would love to see it.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 10:35PM
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