Your First Home

15th May 2017

Meet the Maker: Patterns from our Past

Building restorer and Malta Tiles Director Robert Lia shares what goes into making the traditional Maltese tiles reminiscent of homes from our childhood.

For most of us, the distinct colours and patterns of traditional Maltese tiles are associated with memories of homes from our childhood. As building restorer and Director at Malta Tiles Robert Lia confirms, colourful Maltese tiles have been used in traditional Maltese houses for generations, and, as these traditional homes regain popularity among local buyers keen on restoring and converting them, so too have these tiles from the past been once again thrust into the spotlight.

Malta Tiles, which produces traditional Maltese tiles, has been under his management for the last five years. The micro-enterprise uses traditional methods of producing traditional hand-made tiles passed over from one generation to another. “All the cement tiles produced by Malta Tiles are hand-made, one by one, using only traditional methods,” Mr Lia says.

The workshop boasts an original press and a large selection of over 180 pattern moulds to make uniquely designed tiles, giving home-owners a vast repertoire to choose from. “Each member of our staff has undergone intensive training in the unique skill of producing Maltese tiles,” Mr Lia explains, adding that “each hand-made tile is individually checked to make sure it meets the high-quality standards Malta Tiles is renowned for.”

Speaking of the services the company offers, Mr Lia affirms that at Malta Tiles, customers will find a great selection of traditional hand-made cement and terrazzo tiles in various colours, shapes and sizes, which are specifically made for use on floors, feature walls, spiral staircases and thresholds.

“We are also able to match the colour of your existing patterned tiles and plain tiles to replace damaged ones,” he continues – a useful tool for those who are renovating their home and are looking to keep their original tiles while replacing any broken or damaged ones. In these cases, Mr Lia offers one word of warning. “The colour of the replaced tiles will be very similar to the existing tiles, however, a 100 per cent match is almost impossible due to various factors.” After all, this is what makes each and every tile special!

He offers a few words of advice on caring for your traditional patterned tiles, before and after they’ve been laid. “Tiles can be left in their original state and gradually build a lustre from repeated cleaning – which is more subtle. However, initially, brand-new Maltese tiles are porous and are at risk of stains. We recommend that Maltese tiles that are to be laid on the ground are underlain with a damp proofing layer to stop rising damp from staining the tiles.”

And that’s not all – if you’re looking for a design that is totally unique to you and your space rather than choosing one from their selection, Malta Tiles offers this service too. “For those opting for a personal touch, we can create a new mould for patterned tiles styled based on your unique design.”


Malta Tiles, GGEA, Kalkara tal-Ġir Alley, Triq il-Karmnu, Fgura. Open Mon-Fri 7am-5:30pm; Sat 7am-12pm. T: 7989 6534; E:;

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