Zellige! One of my most frequently asked question to date is about our zellige shower. I've compiled all of things you need to know about zellige in one spot for you, so if you are thinking about using zellige in your next project - read this first!
The first thing you need to know about zellige is WASTE. A good rule of thumb for tile waste is 10% but for zellige depending on your tolerance you are going to want to add an additional 15-20% to your order for additional waste. Why is this important? This is important because not only is zellige tile pricey but you need to account for the additional material cost into your overall budget. Since zellige is a hand-made tile there is going to be a lot of variation in the tiles. Depending on your tolerance for chips, cracks, color variation, etc. will determine how much waste you should account for.
VIBE. For a true authentic look make sure you source from a reputable manufacturer. Don't try and cut the cost by opting for a porcelain look. It is not the same! The imperfect edges of the zellige is what really gives it that its "been here for 100 years" authentic, old-world feel. With the perfection of ceramic or porcelain you really lose that aesthetic.
INSTALL. Hiring a skilled tile setter is key. In order to achieve an authentic look your tile setter should be familiar with butt-jointing. If your tile setter wants to use spacers, then they are not your people.
DETAIL. There are a few different ways to do the edge detail. My favorite is a seamless edge where the drywall is built out and made to be flush with the edge of the tile. This takes careful planning and must be incorporated into your intial design. But don't worry if this isn't an option for you (it wasn't for me either) there are a few other ways. One is a mitered edge - we did this in ours. The last and controversial choice is Schluter. Schluter has it's purpose but I am not a fan of it paired with zellige.
GROUT. You are going to want to choose an unsanded grout. Ideally a color that matches your tile. We went with Mapei Frost.
WARNING. Beware perfectionists, zellige is not going to be perfect! It's perfectly imperfect in my opinion but if you have a low tolerance for imperfections than zellige is not the tile for you.
Photos By James Furman