A Timeless Classic – Traditional Maltese Tiles

A Timeless Classic – Traditional Maltese Tiles

Traditional Maltese tiles display a wonderful kaleidoscope of colour. A magnificent concoction of pattern and design, they offer something unique with their multitude of symmetrical shapes. The Maltese Cross is also well-known to be featured. Although traditional Maltese tiles are mostly adorned amongst older buildings, they are sure to brighten up any home. If your property is more modern, fret not! Maltese tiles are still being created today to add to your home. 




The earliest evidence of decorative tiles dates back to the 13th Century, in the Middle East. Islamic art, in particular, is famous for its decorative tiles. Mosques all around the world are bestowed with beautiful colourful tiles. Malta has long had a history of Arabic influence, and you can definitely see this influence in Maltese traditional tiles. It is believed that the Maltese tile can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire. However, the practise of making these tiles originates from Spain. Surprisingly, they have only been around in Malta for the past 300 years, becoming popular during the British Era. 


The Making of Traditional Maltese Tiles


There are very few tile makers left in Malta but fortunately, there are still some people devoted to the art of making these magnificent tiles. You will find a few factories dotted around the island. The people that continue this craft are truly dedicated to their work. Each tile is handmade and making these tiles requires lots of patience, manual labour, and delicacy


The tiles are made of three ingredients which are cement, powdered marble and colour pigments. Originally, beach sand was used but it has now been replaced with powdered marble. There are also three main tools which are required to make the tiles. ‘Il-Plakka’ is a mould which exhibits the design of the tile. Paint is added to the various segments to create the colourful pattern. ‘Il-Kwadru’ is a tool that keeps the mixtures of the colour together to set. ‘It-Tampun’ is a black plate used to apply pressure to the mixture. 


‘Putraxx’ is a type of cement that helps prevent the colours from running. This is achieved by soaking up any excess water. ‘Milanc’ is another type of cement, helping the tiles to set. The temperature and humidity must be controlled throughout the entire process, as any slight change can hinder the results. Once you understand the process of how these tiles are made, they become more impressive. 


Interior Design Ideas


If you’re lucky enough, you may already have traditional Maltese tiles in your home. Be sure to preserve them as they can add value to your property. A lot of buyers are looking for homes that showcase their charm. However, don’t worry if your property doesn’t have any because there are still a few businesses in Malta, offering a bespoke service on these tiles. You can even add your own touch to your home and design the tiles yourself, choosing what patterns and colours you want! It’ll be such a fun experience and you’ll be so proud of the finished result, your home will truly be yours!


Traditional Maltese tiles aren't just limited to the floors. There are other areas you can decorate them with. Windowsills, for example are perfect to decorate with Maltese tiles. And how about a decorative tile here and there as part of the splashback in your kitchen? They are small enough to only provide a bit of colour if you’re more into minimalism. It’ll be a great way to add a touch of uniqueness in your home. If you have one, you can decorate the ridges of your fireplace as well. This will add so much splendour to your lounge, all your guests will be in awe! You could also lay some tiles down at the entrance of your home. If you have a small entrance, this would be another way to utilise the tiles within a compact space. It’ll be a lovely way to welcome your guests. This is especially true if you have visitors from abroad. There’s no better way to welcome them to Malta than by embracing Maltese traditions from the very beginning! 


You may be lucky to encounter these tiles whilst property hunting. But don’t be disheartened if don’t manage to find anything because you can still add them to your new home yourself. If anything, this may be a better option as it’ll be completely personalised. If you’re looking to sell your property, consider adding traditional Maltese tiles to your home. It will enhance your viewings. A lot of people nowadays are looking to step back in time and traditional Maltese tiles will add to the character of your property. 


Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, we at Zanzi Homes are more than happy to help. With a range of different properties across the island, there is sure to be something that will match your needs! Get in touch with one of our Sales Specialists today!

Yana Walker
Written By

Yana Walker