The variation of color, tone, and texture between each individual ceramic or porcelain tiles is known as color shade variation. Color variation is an inherent characteristic of any fired ceramic / clay based product and in many cases, variation in the individual tile’s color and shade can enhance the character and overall visual beauty of the finished project.

The amount of variation in each tile is measured with a rating system the ranges from V1 which is the least amount of variation to V4 which is the highest amount of variance in the visual look and color of the tile. Within each style and within each production run, color shade can vary to differing degrees between each tile even if they come from the same box. While many products have little to no variation, there are options that display a moderate to dramatic range of color variation – ad each is a stylistic choice. When installing tiles with a high color variance rating, it is important to layout the tile before installing them to ensure that you are satisfied with the way the final look will appear. if you are using an installer, be sure to communicate with them regarding the color variance of the product you are using.

Here’s a breakdown of how ceramic and porcelain tiles are graded for color shade variation:

V1-Uniform Appearance: Minimal to no difference among pieces from the same production run because each ceramic tile is manufactured using the same glaze applications and body texture.

V2-Slight Variation: Distinguishable differences in texture and/or pattern within similar colors.

V3-Moderate Variation: Though the colors present in a single piece of ceramic tile may indicate the color patterns to be expected on other tiles, the amount of colors on each piece might vary significantly.

V4-Random or Dramatic Variation: Random color variation from tile to tile, so that one ceramic tile may have a totally different color from that on other tiles. Thus, the final installation will be unique.

To make sure that you get the look you’re after, find out how much color shade variation the tiles have before you make a purchase. Reviewing several pieces from the same production run is recommended to help you decide on the acceptable color shade variations. Most often you can look at your tile choice’s technical specifications to find out the grade of color shade variation assigned that product.

Do you want all your tiles to look the same or would you like some variation?